Colleen Hannegan

Finding the words....and the perfect pair of glasses.


Fun vs. Fear ~ How shall we live?

FearlessnessColleen Hannegan2 Comments

Summertime, and the livin's easy. It certainly is easy and beautiful living here in southern California with the cool morning  marine layer holding back sun's heat until later in the day. The sky's blue face peeks out from behind those ocean mists and the cool breezes spin through the leaves on the trees, through my hair, through  my open windows in my home. I feel safe here. Mostly.

I love summertime. Who doesn't? But this summer's beginning has been besieged and held hostage by so much fear in the world, so many terrorist attacks and bloodshed and a constant roar of doom for our country's position in world affairs, that I'm having to emotionally arm wrestle local summer FUN from the death grip of local and international FEAR. Both real and imagined.

Summer fun hike over O'Neill Regional park with views of Rancho Santa Margarita.

Summer fun hike over O'Neill Regional park with views of Rancho Santa Margarita.

I naturally thrill to welcoming each new morning into my life. Hooray, another day to play. As I've entered more mature years I suddenly want to explore more ways to have fun, even if it's usually called work. Travel adventures are calling. New creative ideas are popping up more frequently. My husband and I are enjoying the fruits of our hard labor redesigning our home even if it is back- breaking at times. The results have brought us great joy and comfort.

And at the same time, I feel gnawed at and uneasy about terror in the streets of our local neighborhoods and in the world; a world that is now so much nearer to us than it once was. What to do? WHAT TO DO?? 

Seeing Manchester, England rise up from their recent bloody and fearful night and come together again this past week-end to claim LOVE is stronger than HATE and that having FUN and FREEDOM shall reign over their FEAR, touched me very much.  As did the citizens of Portland, sharing stories of bravery of the two men who offered their life for a stranger and one gravely injured for standing up to hate towards two women.  I see and read stories of bravery as often as I do of warring bloodshed.

We humans struggle between the fear of hateful deeds and the fun of peaceful sun, every day in this crazy world. Why is there so much viscious hate and cruelty among us? How can we enjoy the beauty of a day, the pleasures and joys of all we love to do if we choose fear? Fear to go, or stay, and speak up or travel? 

We are the world, yes we are. And in my world, I'm choosing fun over fear of what might happen. There is a healthy fear that keeps us safe in our daily activities but it is the unhealthy, deep seated unconscious fear of death that will prevent us from being fully alive.

Our only control is in our thoughts for goodness and actions of tolerance and kindness in our immediate place in the world.  I have faith that my smallest act of kindness I put my hands to, has a larger, healing ripple affect that goes out to many others that I do not know. Because kindness follows kindness.  I try and stay conscious in what I can build, not tear apart.  Somedays I fail, more days I succeed. I find my own peace in this.

Love will always win. Death cannot destroy love. Fear destroys love. And when we rise up and choose love and courage, our hearts will be free to live every day as if it's a perfect summer day.

Wishing all a fun and fearless summer! XOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOOXOXOXOOXOXOXOXO




Imagine All Those People, Living for Today...

FeaturedColleen HanneganComment
photo by Al Patterson

photo by Al Patterson

When I got out of bed this Sunday morning, I never IMAGINED I would be building a little snowwoman at 3,200 ft at 2 p.m. this afternoon.  After brunch, I talked us into a walk in the wilderness park just outside my partner’s condo. The rain had cleared for a bit,  bright- blue sky was bursting through huge billowy cumulus and a bit of exercise seemed like such a good idea to combat that extra waffle I could not deny.

Freezing wind was no match to our relaxed Sunday attitude, or our clothes or my crazy laughter at Al’s face barely visible through his zipped up hoody. I cannot recall EVER feeling so cold, taking a walk in the park on a sunny Southern California day. We turned our backs to the wind after 50 paces and laughed our asses back toward warmth. As we faced the backdrop of the Saddleback mountains heading back to forced heat, we were looking at snow capped peaks for miles. “How would you like to take a drive up the Ortega (Hwy.) to Blue Jay campground and see if we find some snow ?” Both of us long for any free time in nature, by foot, by bike, by truck. There’s always this weird “what if” conversation that precedes the  going.

We went through the usual decision making….”Do we really want to leave the warm condo today?” “What if the roads are closed?” “What if there’s no snow?” “Are you tired?” “Are YOU tired?” “Are we TOO tired?” “What about this?” “Well, what about THAT?”  ”Do you want to go?” “Well, do YOU want to go?” “I just put new tires on the truck yesterday so let’s test them out!!” Goodyears made the decision for us. Adventure it would be.


photo by Al Patterson

Yesterday I finished reading Martha Beck’s brand new book, “Finding Your Way in a Wild New World.” She teaches all of us “wayfinders” that our “wayfinding Imagination runs on fun, not stress.” What I’ve been really good at these past 100 years is working really hard. Now I am learning the joy, the ease, the GIFT that is my Imagination and learning to have FUN, creates a life worth living, more than a life created through hard labor. “The wayfinder’s puzzle-cracking Imagination isn’t the conscious mind at work, but the subconscious mind at play.”

Today was a good day to play in the snow and even build a snowwoman. My Imagination took me there today and along with it, happiness, love and laughter came along for the ride.

I piled big heaps of snow on the truck windshield and smiled like an 8 year old all the way back through the Ortega, watching it melt and fly off piece by piece.

"Do you think we'll find any snow up there??

Note to Martha….”Thanks for writing the most inspired book I’ve ever read. It will require a second read from me to be sure I really absorbed it all. And yes, I have met my rhinoceros (a couple of times) and it absolutely is healing my life!”