Dec 18 2013

Paul Williams



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Fear, Gratitude, Hanging In There


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One of my favorite movies is “Shaun of the Dead”.  It’s a very funny film written by Edgar Wright & Simon Pegg, also director and star, in that order.

There’s a running gag in the film where the lead actors are surrounded by zombies but never see them.  It’s an industrial strength take on the old Abbott and Costello bit where Lou Costello would try to get Bud Abbott to turn around to see the monster. By the time Abbott would look he’d be gone.

Maybe it’s funny because it’s the opposite of what’s going on in most of our minds. It happened to me again today. Hmmm. Maybe I should start at the beginning.

Imagine the letters you’re now reading beginning to blur, ripple and slowly dissolve like in the movies. The scene shifts and it’s early morning.

I’m running in the park.  It’s brisk and beautiful.  It’s my meditation.  It’s just me and my Emerson or Ghandi-esque appreciation of this tranquil scene when suddenly (Cue the terror music) the space between my ears where imagination displays its latest works is filled with creepy, dusty worries. Zombies of distress, risen from the past.  Those nasty little living nightmares I have handily destroyed time and time again are back wandering the halls, taking center stage, and filling up what was perfectly good serenity space with their nasty messages. My Zen homestead now a zombie zoo.

But, I’m a worry warrior.  I’m married to a worry warrior.  We battle the unwelcome concerns and dispose of them quickly. Mariana has a wonderful little childlike song she’s created that she sings to make fun of herself or anyone around who succumbs to the worry temptation.


“I will not worry about what will not happen

I will not worry about what will not happen

I will not worry about what will not happen

I’m free

I reject the worry habit

It’s not me .

It works.  It makes the whole worry scenario silly.  And silly evaporates much easier than terrified does.  We put those painful little pageants out of their misery before the misery becomes ours. We kill them.  Bang.  Goodbye lies. You’re dead.

My little mantra is to “Dissolve with Resolve. I resolve to maintain a positive and REALISTIC mindset.  Almost all of those wretched imaginings are things that will probably never happen to me.  If they do I will deal with them.  When the time comes, if it comes, I will know what to do in the moment.

In the meantime I balance my mind-work with foot-work. I watch what I eat. I exercise.  I get regular checkups. I never cancel more than two dental appointments in a row.  Okay, I’m a little dental-phobic but, I’ve got a great painless doctor and I’m working on it so leave me alone.

I’m not sure why the worries are reborn again and again.  Not sure why the zombies reappear.  Why we all have black belts in self-torture.  But, I’m convinced the road to relief is in a simple discipline.   Victory through vigilance.  I will spot those worry zombies the moment they step out of the shadows into the light of consciousness and zap them immediately.

We all worry.  It’s human nature I suppose.  But, if you become a worry warrior you’ll have so much more time for sweeter imaginings and a chance to co-create the life you deserve, not just surviving but thriving in the land of gratitude and trust.







Paul Williams

Paul Williams is a singer, songwriter, actor, recovery advocate and has been a fixture on the American cultural scene since the seventies. His book Gratitude and Trust; Recovery is Not Just For Addicts will be released in 2014.

  • Chad Peterson

    Time well spent: you’re on my gratitude list, Paul. Thank you.

    • Paul Williams

      Blessings and thanks .. Very much appreciated. Merry Christmas.

  • Michael Gullickson

    We call it borrowing trouble. It’s the what ifs that slow us down or defeat
    us even before the battle starts. My mother always had the most upbeat attitude. It’s probably why I’m optimistic, why I believe the best possible outcome will occur. Sometimes I’m even surprised the outcome is even better than I imagined…like meeting you, like communicating with you, Like opening my mind to the possibilities the future will bring. In gratitude, in advance, for the remarkable future to come.

    • Paul Williams

      In Gratitude in advance .. lovely. Thanks Michael. Have a great holiday.

  • Steppie Royes

    Paul Williams worries? Nah! Can’t be! WTF! I don’t want to believe
    that! One of the reasons why I like you as a celebrity is the fact that you take
    on projects, like G&T, that remind everyday people like me that you’re only
    human. It’s also great to know that no matter how much success one can have,
    there always seems to be room to worry. It’s a lot like Jell-o…there’s always
    room for it, even after being stuffed with good things like gratitude and trust. Your wife has a great point! Singing is a wonderful tool to use in such cases. There’s a song that was cut out of a movie soundtrack that said “When I sing I
    have no worries.When I sing I have no fear and I always feel like singing when
    the ones I love are near”. Know that your friends and family are always there
    to help figure out what needs to be done and are always willing to sing along!
    As for the dentist-phobia, there’s two words that may solve that problem:
    laughing gas! =-)

    • Paul Williams

      There’s always room for Jello .. and optimism. Happy Christmas Steppie. And there’s no need for laughing gas with my wonderful doc. Also, I’d probably end up wanting it just to make the appointment.

  • Sharon Markwell

    I truly believe that worry can be God’s way of talking to us, preparing us for any worst-case scenario. Of course we are all human and worry is just a part of every day life. What parent doesn’t worry about their child going off on their own on the first day of school? Worry about taking an exam? Or worry that your new boss is going to like you? Anything and everything I tend to worry about.
    A year-and-a-half ago when I lost my job, my #1 terror was losing my apartment and being homeless, as my apartment at the time was going condo and the rent was upped to waaay more than I could afford. And the job loss just pushed the very real potential of me losing my home into high gear. And I knew if I lost it, I would have to give up my dog… I was so terrified, I just wanted to lay down and die. Then when the apartment loss actually did happen and I was homeless for a few months, I think the worry helped me to prepare a bit for it. The impromptu preparedness for it allowed me to find a foster family for my dog until I got on my feet.
    Thank God it all has seemed to have a happy ending now. And the fact that I have some wonderful, loving, supportive family and friends helped a lot too. (that goes for you too, Paulie!). The reason I lived to tell about it is because worry is something that is instilled in us, by nature almost, as to how we have evolved as a species to deal with dangers from the very dawn of mankind. After all, the first men on earth probably did not have brick houses did they? Maybe I should get regular checkups too..but then I worry that it will hurt!

    • Paul Williams

      Caution and concern are healthy. I don’t think worry is .. Expect the best! Happy Holidays Sharon. Make a new years resolution to get that check up. K?

  • Larry

    I have a question. If we lived every moment of everyday in gratitude and trust, how would we know that we are living in gratitude and trust? Seems we need the zombies and ghosts every so often for nothing more then the jolt?

    • Paul Williams

      Ah the Jolt … Some people become addicted to it. I’d say all moveable parts in the human body & psyche were created as an asset. A survival tool. Fight or flight … It’s that unnecessary turning to negative thought that I find puzzling. Not sure why we do it again and again but, I’m quick to dismiss as I know thoughts are major building blocks of my future.