"Higgins points us toward tenderness, empathy, and gentle encounter with each other and with our deepest and most relentless fears." --Englewood Review of Books, starred review
The world seems terrifying. Whether your fear is about violence, shame, illness, money, meaning, or the collapse of certainty, you are not alone. Yet the power of the fear we feel depends on the story we tell about fear. Fight, flee, or freeze: are these are only options?
Growing up near the troubled city of Belfast, Gareth Higgins was schooled in suspicion, mistrust, and paranoia. Would someone be lurking behind the door? Was there a bomb under that car? Yet fear feeds on the stories we tell ourselves, Higgins claims, and in the pages of How Not to Be Afraid, he delves into the mechanisms of fear, as well as the quiet, immense strength of individuals and communities that refuse to let it reign.
Grounded in personal experience and expert reflection on violence, conflict transformation, and trauma recovery, Higgins traces vulnerability as strength to address seven common fears that plague each of us at some point in our lives. By examining such topics as the fear of being alone, the fear of not having enough, and the fear of violence and death, he invites readers into habits of hope rooted in Celtic spirituality and the mysteries of love.
In the rich spiritual, activist, and literary tradition of Walter Wink and Kathleen Norris, Higgins points us toward tenderness, empathy, and gentle encounter with each other and with our deepest and most relentless fears. He shows us how we can replace our narratives of fear and cynicism with better stories. Peace is the way to itself, he reveals, and when we choose this path, our lives will never be the same.
About the Author
Gareth Higgins is an author, storyteller, and activist who was born in Belfast during the Troubles in Northern Ireland and now lives in Asheville, North Carolina. Higgins has a PhD in sociology and speaks widely about storytelling, violence reduction, the power of dreams, and connection with the earth. He led a peacebuilding community in Northern Ireland, and helped to found the Wild Goose Festival, the New Story Festival, and the Movies & Meaning festival.
Patricia Nelson Limerick is a professor of history and chair of the Center of the American West at the University of Colorado at Boulder.