There have been times that I have had an impulse to give and have hesitated too long, or tried to ignore the impulse altogether. I have always regretted it. Usually, fear was at the root of my decision.
When I felt I should give a compliment, I may have feared being overshadowed. Will they think they are better than me?
When I felt I should give encouragement, it might have been the fear of rejection. Will they question my motive?
When I felt compelled to offer support, it was probably a fear of failure. Who do I think I am? What do I have to offer?
When I felt an impulse to forgive, it was a fear of someone getting off the hook too easily. If I forgive them, they won’t get what they deserve.
When I felt I should give money, it was the fear of scarcity. Can I afford it? What if I need this in the future?
None of my fears were grounded. I could not out give the Universe.
Today, I will give without fear.
When confronted with injustice and tragedy, (which is a frequent event if we keep up with the news)
Do not merely ask, “Who could do such a thing?”
Also ask, “Help me recognize the depth of pain, loneliness, and anger in humans who think of doing such things.”
Do not merely ask, “How could something so terrible have happened?”
Also ask, “How can I be more in touch with the painful, tragic things that are happening in people’s lives all over the world, right now.”
Do not merely ask, “How can I physically protect myself and my family from this evil?”
Also ask, “How can I psychologically shield myself and others from despair and live a courageous life in spite of tragedy?”
Psychiatrist George Richie, author of one of the first books about the NDEs (near-death experiences), shared these three insights in a television interview with Joan Rivers many years ago:
1) Immense and unfathomable love (vs. immense and unfathomable judgement) is in the afterlife.
2) Death is a mere continuation of life. There is no cessation of existence.
3) Our thoughts direct and determine what our afterlife is like. We go where our thoughts take us. George used the analogy of school to explain this; “just as if you are in first grade you wouldn’t try to get into a graduate program, so we admit ourselves to the ‘program’ for which we are the most suited.”
Three more good reasons to choose positive, beautiful, marvelous, healing, hopeful, and kind thoughts…right now.
(original post 2011)
“We are all meant to shine, as children do. It is not just in some of us; it is in everyone, and as we let our light shine, we unconsciously give others permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” – Marianne Williamson
When I reached No. 3: Give up Playing Small, in Zdravko Cvijetic’s “13 Things You Should Give Up If You Want To Be Successful,” it reminded me of two things:
- The fears (that kept me small) I have already challenged and banished
- The fears I am still hanging on to
Conclusion: My progress may not be impressive, but at least I am very slowly…letting go.
As I review two thousand and sixteen
I celebrate the fears I no longer claim
And, trembling, plan an attack
On the terrifying ones that remain
Here’s to hoping (for everyone’s sake)
That you will resolutely do the same
What if I would have never worried about money, things, being important, or people who were not cooperating with me?
A life like that may seem laughable, yet in retrospect, the time I spent worrying about those things was one frickin, colossal waste…because…
- money and things came and went
- what people thought of me turned out to be inconsequential
- and I never could control anyone anyway
So why didn’t I just give it my best shot, do my best work, give it all my love, forgive, and stay detached from outcomes? Why didn’t I?
That erroneous theory (that began driving so many of our weird behaviors as early as elementary school)?
The theory that we are more screwed up than everyone else.
By the time I finished kindergarten, I had an elaborate web of lies to hide behind. Fear of being found out to be not as smart, good, strong, worthy, loved, rich, talented, endowed, worldly-wise, attractive, or normal as everyone else appeared to be.
I didn’t start the process of letting myself out of this dungeon until I completely owned my humanity and became vulnerable enough about it that others started letting me see the reflection of it in them.
That’s freedom. No apologies. No pretention. Just being who I am, on the road to improvement.
I just noticed how terribly weighty a task is that makes me feel incompetent or below average; how I will avoid this task and let it cloud up my day and darken my future, and how, the only way I can escape the storm (that comes when I don’t do this task) is to meet it head-on.
From painful personal experiences, I am learning that these tests of my character are intentional, that they will keep coming back until I learn to be more courageous, honest, strong, persistent, patient, loving or whatever it is that I am deficient in.
Like, recently, when I had to go talk to someone who wasn’t happy with me…
It felt like going to execution (because my personality type hates disapproval and rejection so much).
But, after looking at it as a practicum in self-development and remembering that if I didn’t pass the test, I’d have to retake it, I…to my great relief…just got ‘er done.
Abject terror! My heart is racing. I am in a terrifying maze, several stories high, open and dangerous, running and hiding to escape malevolent, ghostly creatures who are descending upon me to destroy. When I successfully dodge them, they regroup and drop down upon me with doubled fury. Waking suddenly, I cry out loud, “Phantoms of rejection!”
I sit up in bed and think about the implications; how fear of failure had stifled me, how “rejection scars” are still holding me back from taking new risks, and, how I have been unwilling to admit my fear of being under-valued by other humans. Wow.
While millions are dealing with the real demons of war, poverty, disease, and brutality, I am incapacitated by phantoms of rejection.
It’s about time I grew up and faced down my demons.
Or I can continue to live small and infect others with my pettiness.
And they wouldn’t go away
just by turning on the light
And sometimes they came out of our mouths
and ruined relationships
Or bred other monsters
until there was no room for anything else
But fear and anger in our head
the monster food that kept them fed
Until, finally, we had had enough one day
and promptly kicked them out on their arses
Preferring to spend our lives for better things
than ghostly fantasies and zombie farces
Clinging to something that destroys us…
- Fear that paralyses
- Anger that poisons
- Beliefs that shrink our souls
- Resentment that rots
- Arrogance that steals our ability to grow and change
So very sad. Yet the saddest part of watching ourselves or someone else whither away, clutching the thing that kills, is the realization that redemption was as easy as letting go: relaxing our hold on an illusion.
Warning: This is an everyday discipline.
When I do not take time everyday to clear out my demons, they multiply quietly and convince me to:
- rationalize my own clinging
- focus on the clinging problems that others have