Live Free: Smash your Fears

The wise Aristotle once said,

He who has overcome his fears will be truly free.

Today I want to share an amazing true story with you. It’s the story of a woman who was expected to die, but lived instead. Her name is Heather.


Her husband Cameron shared her story with me:

Eight years ago, my wife Heather was diagnosed with mesothelioma; a rare cancer that kills most people within 2 years of diagnosis. She had just given birth to our daughter Lily, and was only given 15 months to live. After a life saving surgery that included the removal of her left lung, LungLeavin’ Day was born. On February 2nd, we celebrated 8 years of Heather being cancer free.


The purpose of LungLeavin’ Day is to encourage others to face their fears! Each year, we gather around a fire in our backyard with our friends and family, write our biggest fears on a plate and smash them into the fire. We celebrate for those who are no longer with us, for those who continue to fight, for those who are currently going through a tough time in their life, and most importantly, we celebrate life!




Marcus Aurelius wrote long ago in his Meditations,

It is not death that man should fear, but he should fear never beginning to live.

Heather wants to encourage all of us to truly live. To see life as a great gift and a joyful adventure, rather than something to be feared.

So what is it that you fear most? Rejection? Loneliness? Failure? Weakness? Poverty? Suffering?

Or perhaps responsibility, commitment or even success? What fear is holding you back?

Can you imagine if an eagle chose to sit in a cage because it was afraid of heights? It would never experience that glorious feeling of flying!

We are made for greatness, made for happiness, made for love. Sometimes these things scare us so we hide behind bars of fear we mistake for control. We convince ourselves to be stoic, to remain steady and unattached, to not get sucked into life lest it involve suffering.

But this is not freedom. This is not truly living.

Life is so much more of a beautiful adventure when we let go. Our real stories are more amazing than the ones we would write for ourselves; it’s the struggle and the suffering that makes the other moments so precious.

So what fear would you like to smash? What small step can you take today to face your fear and win your freedom?

It’s said that sometimes we fear what we desire most…

Since I was a teenager, I’ve had great desire to write, but I used to be so afraid of people reading my work. It was too painful. One great step to overcoming my fear was starting this blog. It was really hard to press publish that very first post. I literally had to force myself.

But what I feared as a source of rejection and failure has turned out to be a source of joy, encouragement, and liberation. I am more inspired and write more easily than ever before, because I gave myself permission to smash my fear and live. I feel part of a community and can rejoice in the successes of my fellow writers, because I too am pursuing my dream.

Sometimes if we ask for miracles, they really do happen, many little ones all the time, and sometimes big ones too. Our job is to be grateful and enjoy them!


Please visit Heather’s page for more of her story and links to more info:

4 thoughts on “Live Free: Smash your Fears

  1. Janet

    Thanks Anna for sharing this touching story. It gives us a lot to think about. (what a beautiful family and so generous to share a little bit of their life experiences with the world. My prayers for continual success with their goals and with the families that they will touch, both today and well into the future.)


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