Deepest fear, deepest strength

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?’ ~ Marianne Williamson

(Note: The remainder of the quote is at the bottom of this post.)

I’ve been thinking a lot about fear recently. Pema Chodron has written a great book about fearlessness; we can’t get to fearlessness unless we face the fear. You can’t have one without the other. Now, I’m not going to say that I’m full of fearlessness and have it down pat. That’s not the point.

The point is that I recognize that fear permeates much of what I do.

I swing back on the pendulum of a decision I need to make – for months.
I wait until the last minute to ask important questions, because if they’re asked earlier, I have to take action.
I stare longingly at calls for submission, wondering “Can I do it?”
I write in circles, rather than buckle down.

Sunrise at North Point Park, Milwaukee, Wiscon...
Sunrise at North Point Park, Milwaukee, Wisconsin Français : Lever de soleil à North Point Park, Milwaukee. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Creation is challenging. Standing up for myself is challenging. I find it easier to shrink back into myself, to not claim what I believe in, or look at things through a different lens.

What happens we dare to dream big? When we do say that we are enough? What happens when we see our light for what it is, for what it shines, and what it can illuminate in a world that sometimes feels so dark? Getting to know our shadows is an important part, but when we see all there is through a shadow, nothing is clear. Nothing has the brilliance of seeing things as they truly are.

It doesn’t allow us to create, because creation is stepping out of the way for a moment long enough to be awake and write (paint, draw, sculpt, document) down that moment. (Paraphrased from Natalie Goldberg.)


It’s funny, because I’ve read the above Marianne Williamson quote so many times before, and I find it powerful and wonderful and empowering. But, given that I’ve not read the book it comes from, I was quite surprised when I found the entirety of the quote on Good Reads. It concludes with the following:

Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others. ~ Marianne Williamson

How have you “played small”? How can you begin to expand?


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