A very dear friend of mine and I talked recently about the fears that haunt us, especially when we are trying to get to sleep. Isn’t it just the worst; you are tired and really want to to sleep—and then comes the mental parade of worries, fears, doubts and the “shoulds;” shoulda, woulda, coulda. This all conspires to keep us up instead of getting a good sleep.

My friend and I talked about this phenomenon that we both share. We decided to call it “Fearzola.” We even talked about what old Fearzola would look like: picture an M&M-like creature (yes, like the commercials) with a frown on its face and big white gloves and shoes. He walks right through your front door as if he owns the place, and plants his grumpy butt down in the private space of your mind.

Now, no one invited him in, which may be why he is so grumpy. So my friend decided to not only invite him into her mind, but to sit down and have a nice cup of tea with her and listen to what he has to say. We don’t like fear and try not to think about it—but why not just confront it, and see what it wants from us?

What if our fears are trying to tell us something we need to learn? Perhaps this is why we don’t like old Fearzola to visit; he never brings anything good to the party. If we should see him coming, we tend to lock all the windows and doors. We will do most anything to keep him from getting into our heads.

What if looking Fearzola straight in the eye is the start of banishing our fears? Perhaps his mission is to teach us, not scare us. I am grateful to my friend for bringing good old Fearzola to mind. Once I can get by the automatic fears I have, maybe I can listen to what he’s trying to tell me.

So if you too are battling those nighttime-can’t-get-to-sleep fears, just remember that Fearzola is not a bad being, just a weird-looking teacher. Oh, and remember that he likes a LOT of sugar in his tea.