Things I would like to hear from you when you are afraid.

Via Waylon Lewis
on Sep 10, 2013
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“Any confusion you experience has within it the essence of wisdom automatically. So as soon as you detect confusion, it is the beginning of some kind of message. At least you are able to see your confusion, which is very hard. Ordinarily people do not see their confusion at all, so by recognizing your confusion, you are already at quite an advanced level. So you shouldn’t feel bad about that; you should feel good about it.”

~ Chögyam Trungpa

I would like to hear from you when you are confused.

Love can survive fear if acknowledged.

Love can survive fear only if acknowledged.

Things are not easy, always. A love affair is not imagination. It is the vicissitudes of daily life. It is two lifestreams intermingling.

I would like to hear you give voice in the hard times—then I can know this is a river of true love, and not merely a shallow standing pool, a game.

Relationships—love—is not fantasy, it is bricks and mortar. It is earth. But it is fantasy, too. It is heaven: dreams and hormones and the pleasure in biology and sudden laughter.

It is the rub between the two that creates sparks: earth, heaven.

It is communication that is water that cools those sparks, and gets us through the fear of loss, the difficult times, the simple arguments over dishes or the serious arguments over ethics.

“I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.” ~ Nelson Mandela


Read the first, Things I would like to do with you in the Woods, first.

Read the second, Things I would like to do with you this Evening, second.

Read the third, Things I would like to Remember about our day in Vermont, third.

Read the fourth, Things I would like to do with you in Time, fourth.

Read the fifth, Things I Would Like to do with You Before I Lose You, fifth.

This is the sixth. Read the seventh, Things I would like to say to you without you Knowing.



I would like to communicate with you about Difficult Things.

We have connected.

I would like to love you if that is how it is. I would like to honor this connection with mutual openness.

Or, I would like to lose you if that is how it is. I would not like to dishonor our connection with a lack of communication about the confusing things.

Connection is a rare spark, a cause for joy. I would not like to lose said spark because of your inability to communicate about your fear.

I learned when young that if confused I should be open about it, and it will get better.

And yet sometimes I forget this lesson: I collapse into insecurity, and if unopened it can become depression. When I can not be charming, when I can not be who you or others think I am, I am embarrassed.

It is our task to talk when we would hide. We can talk confusion, we do not have to wait for clarity.

I would like to honor our fear by tending to it. When gripped by confusion do not shut down: rather, talk it out.

It is a clumsy, simple tactic that works every time: by giving voice to that which I do not understand, my confusion gains sanity instead of calcifying into fear—fear, of fear.

If you are afraid, come here and I will hold you. Or go away, go for a walk and hold yourself sweetly.

I would like to never resent your fear—if communicated. Rather: I would like to admire you for acknowledging your hesitation. There are reasons for it that I can not yet know. And I would like to care if you will let me see.

I would like to care more about you than about my feelings for you.


Whatever occurs in the confused mind
is regarded as workable.
It is a fearless proclamation;
the Lion’s Roar.
~ Chögyam Trungpa


Oh, I would not like this to be wonderful only to see it collapse only because of broken communication. If we are not right for one another or the timing is not right and we can not make it right, that is that. Love is the hardest sport. Love is only available to those willing to be continually brave in weakness.

Can you be brave?

Say we have one wonderful night: say we bicycle far off together, to a wedding dinner with many ladies and gentlemen outside on a green farm. And say we laugh and dine at a white table amongst many white tables set beneath the gathering stars of a night that fast turns the green farm dark blue. And say you are elegant, and I will undress your elegance. But first in candlelight we talk with mentors and parents of friends and and then dance, dance, silly, enthusiastic, confident. The mosquitoes come out, hungry, we kiss and hold and talk and laugh, lying in the grass beneath the cool bushes lining the dark periphery of the bright tent.

It is an honor to know you.

But then say the next day you cancel our plans for our first dinner date without telling me. This is a basic courtesy we extend to friends. And then say we gather that night with friends and you are with a gentleman and you sit over there and it is all an affront served cold. I do not revel in heated jealousy and I will soon be cooly fine with this loss of our warmth of the night before. Perhaps you slept badly and you are just out of a long uneven relationship and you are not ready to unfold your wings. I do not know and can not since you do not tell me.

“Don’t say one thing then do another. Make your words speak the truth of your heart, else be silent and let your acts reveal it. In all things be…. yourself and you will be good for me. For my perception goes beyond the hollow emptiness of words, and witnesses every act your conscience. Your unspoken thoughts ring loudly in my eyes like a bell clear when true, and dull when false. I cannot speak the word…for I am the word…and I will not wed my future to a child, or a fool. ” ~ Almoustine 

And so I would like to fold my wings closed against your heart. Such cowardliness is for children, though children have an excuse.

I would like to breathe out into the rain and lightning night as I bicycle away from you. I have made friends with myself, so I do not often fear loneliness. I am fine with disrespect, for my capacity to cease to care is contextualized by my good friend’s repeated advice over the years

“If she does not communicate, forget her, you deserve better.”

Say, I would like to forget you.


“Happiness is not a goal; it’s a byproduct.” ~ Eleanor Roosevelt


dinner call me winslow

I would like to love my life and help you to love yours. Love is not selfish love but rather caring for another, which means we help to nurture our fundamental kindness.

I would like to love fully.

That day may be far off but I do not think it is for I want to name twelve noble children foolish things like Margaret and Huckleberry and Winslow and Whitman and Washington and Kerouac (Cary, for short) and Roosevelt (Rose) and Thoreau and Sargent and…

And I would like to love someone who would like to communicate.

And I would like to love someone who would like to communicate.

I would not like to, say, call or text or email or message you and not hear back, or hear back a week later, or a day later. I would not like to play games. I would not like to ask you out, and never be asked out. I would not like to treat, and never be treated.

I would like us to not play games, but rather to be simply honest.

“To conceal anything from those to whom I am attached, is not in my nature. I can never close my lips where I have opened my heart.” 
~ Charles Dickens

Love is not one-way: that is for boyish Mad Men and bored Housewives, and I admire neither.

If you are busy, take your time: space is yours and I will not take it from you, and space is mine and I will not give it up for you. But: if you play games with communication, like old climbing rope my affection for you will fray.

Loneliness is the salve for love, lost, and this antidote comes conveniently after misuse. I would not like to date a girl.


“And the day came when the risk to remain tight in the bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.” ~ Anais Nin


I would like to love and be loved by a deeply sane human, brave enough to surf fear and voice it messily.

I am ready for love; I have seen many shadows of it, shadows so weak they can not block the sun of your hot, red heart.

And I would like you to know that (so far) I am so grateful, I am tired, wet from the salt spray, I have stood by the shore all day and all my adulthood, day after day and some nights. But now I am ready to kiss the heart of a woman brave enough to feel fear and give voice to it. For in voicing our fears we introduce oxygen and in so doing give our fires life.

And yet I shall fondly look back at those times of loneliness at the water, the rock of the deep ocean, the creak of the wood that buoys me, the feeling of my tired hands shaking against the oars as I pull again, again against strong waves.

I don’t want my idea of you. That’s too easy, and it isn’t real. I want you, faults and all. And I want you to want me, faults and all, not any ideas you have about love.


“Becoming “awake” involves seeing our confusion more clearly.” ~ Chögyam Trungpa

THINGS i would like rough coverGet your copy of Things I would like to do with You.

winslow fish loneliness lonely alone ocean water



About Waylon Lewis

Waylon Lewis, founder of elephant magazine, now & host of Walk the Talk Show with Waylon Lewis, is a 1st generation American Buddhist “Dharma Brat." Voted #1 in U.S. on twitter for #green two years running, Changemaker & Eco Ambassador by Treehugger, Green Hero by Discovery’s Planet Green, Best (!) Shameless Self-Promoter at Westword's Web Awards, Prominent Buddhist by Shambhala Sun, & 100 Most Influential People in Health & Fitness 2011 by "Greatist", Waylon is a mediocre climber, lazy yogi, 365-day bicycle commuter & best friend to Redford (his rescue hound). His aim: to bring the good news re: "the mindful life" beyond the choir & to all those who didn't know they gave a care. | His first book, Things I would like to do with You, is now available.


37 Responses to “Things I would like to hear from you when you are afraid.”

  1. elephantjournal says:

    Nicole P One of the most beautiful things I've read in years and perfect timing. This speaks to my heart.

    Alix L oh elephant journal everytime.

    Laura Z Shocking good timing.

    Jes W
    yep, communicating can certainly be an act of vulnerability, which is an admirable trait. Have a read!

    Ryan M Very relevant, honest, and compassionate. Thanks.

    Na Y great read

    Laura Z So beautifully written. Poignant and true and somehow heartbreaking. Does anyone ever find that? I want to believe they do.

    Caroline D Thank you.

    Rudi B Wow. So beautiful.

    Chrissy P Touching. Thank you for such a beautiful read.

    Brenda B Bloody good

  2. Waylan, this is incredible. I shared this, I love it. I feel so much truth in this, not just now but in past few years. Brining fears to light to heal, instead of allowing them to calcify. It is serendipitous that this has happened to me today, only I am the one who was voicing my fear. Thank you for saying so beautifully what I am feeling.

  3. Lndsym says:

    You kill me with these…I adore all of them.

  4. Maryann says:

    Love all of your posts. So thought provoking and introspective. Yet, somehow expresses everything in my heart and head.

  5. emotionalviolence says:

    Beautiful… went right to my heart and filled me with joy. Thank you, I needed that today. Love and light to you.

  6. Kris Lord says:

    The quote from Anais Nin – one of my most favorites ever. At one point, no other statement was a truer reflection of where I was. Thankfully, the journey has continued in a most wonderful way.

  7. Valentina Kai says:

    One day I will be at your doorstep, my arms full of flowers laden with birds and honey

    One day I will be at your doorstep alone, hair grown dark and long, body sculpted and refined and clear, balanced and pure

    One day I will be at your doorstep and I will sing this song to you

    My love, in this world of ill repair, i have fallen so much lower than you could reach
    My love, my only desire on earth is to be what you know I am to be
    My love, I will not crawl or knash or howl anymore
    My love-you are it for me..don't you see

    I cannot keep you, i cannot bind you or hover hawklike over your bed-you will do what you will do

    I cannot expect this to be so simple or so hard, I cannot grovel at your feet when I am made of the stars

    I will prove my love to you, by letting you go free

    I will prove my love to myself, by becoming me

    One day my greatest love, I will appear on your doorstep, my arms filled with leaves and balms and tools to heal, my heart will be whole and my path will be set

    One day my greatest love, you will again see me and fall deeply in love with who I am. I was made to be your lover. There is none greater before and there will never be another for me. I was made to be your woman

    One day, my dearest sweet love, i will come to you at dawn when the grass is green and the sky is blue and we will dance in the garden and all of the sorrows of the past will ebb away

    One day I will come to you and I will shine brighter than any ever in your constellation and we will sing to the night sky and make love with pure loving open hearts-

    And then I will be gone forever and all that will be, memories of our true potential

    We are the garden of eden, let me be your lilith/eve

    Be my king

    One day I will be at your doorstep
    My love, please open the door for me

  8. fatatabata says:

    Not many men have the courage to speak their hearts the way you do, and did.
    Not many women have the courage to believe what they hear.
    We all (men and women) needed to hear and feel those words, your words.
    A tear is now rolling on my cheek, but a little smile is ready to shine.
    Thank you.

  9. Paul says:

    Fantastic- thank you!

  10. Sparkychick says:

    Just. Wow.

  11. sara says:

    Thank you. So much…

  12. Sandy says:

    You are given what you need … You gave me the words to express what has been swirling through my head. Thank you

  13. Cherie says:

    Lovely, intelligent, thought provoking piece. I discovered just recently that I’m afraid of being vulnerable & that I was hardening my heart for fear of being hurt. At the beginning of Seotember I celebrated a year alone after ending a 15 year relationship. Communication was a major sticking point. Realizing I was resisting being vulnerable shifted some old stories & paradoxically gave me space to be vulnerable. Thank you!

  14. Robo says:

    This writing is absolutely brilliant.

  15. HeartBete says:

    This was my absolute favorite outpouring among all Elephant offerings. mhm. Namaste, Laura

  16. @annviveros says:

    Yes. This speaks to what I have been learning. xxoo

  17. I agree with all that you wrote, but much as I adore Eleanor, not sure she's got it right about happiness. Do you really think it's a byproduct? I'd say it's neither goal nor byproduct, but rather a way, as some say "Peace is the way" or "Love is the way". But maybe it's different for different people, or I'm speaking of a different sort of happiness. One thing I do know: When you finally have those 12 (good gawd you are brave!), I really want to know what you name them! Thanks for sharing your heart.

  18. Freya Watson says:

    Deeply-felt, beautiful words, Waylon. There is still a current running through much of spirituality that we need to continually open our heart's wings to others that pull back – and, in some ways, it's not a question of closing to them so much as recognizing that we won't be met there and moving on, into loneliness if needs be. Much love, Freya. x

  19. yogaofbirth says:

    same here

  20. elephantjournal says:

    I like that notion, it's in line with my Buddhist training, because happiness just happens if we're on the right track, serving, doing what we love and are good at and that is most useful to others. But I love your point, too.

  21. @pentoZen says:

    Two in a day–this, and before this, I heard of someone who realized happiness was not being loved, as he always thought, because he was loved, but often unhappy. Instead, it was when he was lovING. So he spent a long time learning to let go of the feeling of wanting love, until he felt ONLY love. I presume that meant, until he felt only love as a verb.

    That's what I always come back to–I tire myself out in stages of "be nice to me!" "appreciate me" "I long for you to take care of me as I care for you…" and now I'm finally coming to a place (I hope I stay here) where I want to end how that hurts with the opposite. Literally, the exact opposite. Just giving it all, and I'm open to receiving it all. I've lived with a man for thirty years and I don't want to write a poem about it, I just want to BE the poem. Beautiful.

  22. suzie d says:

    many whispered wows…. love this piece 🙂 love the series. thank you for feeling, and for sharing. this is beautiful, soul wrenching writing that makes me so happy I have a heart that beats.

  23. Susan says:

    I love this so much. It spoke to my heart and my current heartache. I do not want to date an adult child either, no matter how deep the connection or how strong the heart. Thank you for reminding me to be patient for the man that can love fearlessly.

  24. @simonarich says:

    "…by giving voice to that which I do not understand or feel comfortable about, my confusion gains sanity instead of calcifying into fear of fear." – what a smart strategy, thank you for sharing!

  25. tanya says:

    Waylon;communicating to you I love your words,your brain,and the people who bring this experience to your life allowing us to commune with your story!

  26. Felicita says:

    I went through this kind situation today and it didn’t go well. Waylon did it again, he translated all my feelings and thoughts into beautiful words. Thanks for shedding some light onto my own confusion.

  27. Carla Colwell Cook says:

    Your words are what I feel but am so ineffective at communicating. Thank you for giving those of us that do not have the words, eloquence.

  28. julia says:

    just wondrous – I would love to meet a man who feels like this – and willing to be this honest and honourable. Feels like you have been on a long journey – thank you for sharing – I love your posts and you write with such poignancy, grace and truth.

  29. Rachel Sun says:

    This series is stunning. Thank you. As I sit in confusion and question my freedom inside of a relationship and read your words, clarity comes to knock on my heart’s door. To articulate with such clarity, is a gift. Clearly you have touched many of us and so your open sharing bears fruit. Thank you.

  30. mmaxwell says:

    This is beautiful…. Just beautiful.

  31. mommasutras says:

    Beautifully written, your love is palpable!

  32. andeejo says:

    i love these- more for the interesting things that happen to my heart when i read them, and when i read the comments 😉 thank you for sharing again 🙂

  33. Jenn says:

    this was so beautiful. I'm relating to the part about letting someone go if you love them and let them be and when they are ready to face their fears or their lovers fears they will maybe come back. I was in a relationship where I loved and lost and the person wasn't willing to fix things and now I am heart broken that all the trust and love I had put in someone is gone because there is no future for both of us. I would hope that one day my lover will be able to see me for who i am and accept all the pieces of me and if not, i hope that oneday i will find a love that will not give up on me or throw all our beautiful times together away
    Love and lost
    Love and Lost
    Loving yourself must come first and your heart must be open for you to accept another into your hurt

    Trust is a big thing and both people need to feel that trust.. i have no answers but i hoping my heart won't close because it ahs been its most open in this relationship and I have never loved and been so open with a person in my life.

    I am in love essence of hopeless romanticism in this blog.

  34. michaela says:

    This is one of the most beautiful pieces I’ve ever read! It captivated my attention and I felt every word as I read it!! It’s so beautiful and true!

  35. Jenna B. Wiser says:

    Are you the most amazing thing ever?? When did you write this? I’m getting caught up on these stories and will go back and comment on the previous ones too. I just want to say stop here and say I would NEVER do any of the things you fear in this writing. I do not flirt with anyone. Ever. Even when I’m single. (Unless I see my soulmate and then apparently I turn aggressive, wild, and crazy:). I have also never ended any relationship for anyone else for I believe it is far better to take time between relationships. That being said please reread above comment in parenthesis. I would treat my love with the utmost respect and care, far more than I would any of my friends and I love my friends dearly! There only one place in your life for the one you love and that is at the top. #1. Above everything else. As I have said before you will see in time. For in time all truth is revealed. And the truth shall set you free!! Which is why I’m about to be single. The irony. 😉

  36. Amy E says:

    This is a great piece of writing…near and dear to my heart. See above. I am confused when I receive mixed messages. (I am not always sure that I am communicating with just one person.) I am confused when my heart is sure of something and my mind is terrified of being hurt. I have been so open with my heart in the past and, in recent years, my heart has been brutalized by terrible people. So much so, that I barely survived. I learned to be numb and to not trust others…extremely contrary to my true nature. A self defense mechanism. Last fall, I came across the brightest star I had ever seen. I lost my head and my heart. I have never felt that way before. I opened my heart with love, and was astounded to discover that evil people contacted you. I wish you had come to me in that moment. I would have answered everything honestly. You could have been a hero by helping me stop their reign of terror. I was shattered. Not only did I lose you, but they "won" again. It killed me. Then the gossiping started. Add humiliation to hurt. I couldn't breathe. I shut down completely and swore I would not and could not open myself to anyone ever again. Then I went numb and distracted myself with work and movies. I spent time with my very supportive and loving friends. The pain started to subside. I was over the anger in May. My intention was to say how sorry I was that my life effed up your life. I sought forgiveness. I wanted to cleanse both our hearts. I decided to be open and see where you stood. I am frustrated because I wish you really knew me. I am a very loving person without a mean bone in my body. I fear the shadow of the haters will remain between us. They "win" again. This time, I will not allow them to best me. I paid dearly before. I'm asking you to take a leap of faith and trust me. I know that will be hard for you. You are wired for self-preservation. I am willing to step way outside my comfort zone to know you. I want to meet you in person and talk for hours. I want to laugh with you. It will be nearly impossible for me to file this away (if necessary), until after we meet. I will answer all questions honestly. I will bare my soul. That's being vulnerable. That's inviting intimacy. If you cannot do this, I will not press you. I respect you. I appreciate you. The last thing I want to do is hurt you again.

  37. darcit says:

    I love this and it speaks to my heart..thank you