Dec 18 2013

Paul Williams



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Fear, Gratitude, Hanging In There




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 is now available.