“Our deepest fears are like dragons guarding our deepest treasure.” ~ Rainer Maria Rilke
Face it. The world is more than a little coo-coo for cocoa puffs these days. If you dare turn on the TV or open a newspaper, you are assaulted by images and information guaranteed to make you want to build a bunker and stock up on canned goods. And there are plenty of people doing just that. Stockpiling weapons. Filling their garages with freeze-dried meals and cases of water. These people buy the fear. They thrive on it. They take a bath in paranoia and wonder what’s up with the rest of us. They think they are the smart ones.
But here’s where they’re off.
Fear is no foundation for living. It doesn’t engender forward movement. It doesn’t cause growth or inspiration or innovation. Fear shuts the whole thing down. Fear is about retreating, about hiding, about giving up and giving in to our worst sensibilities.
And I, for one, am just not down with that.
So, what’s a girl to do when the whole world seems to have smoked something that makes it scary and paranoid?
Don’t buy the hype. Unplug. Meditate. Watch the sky. Write poems. Cook. Create something new. Pray. Go for a bike ride. Listen to the rain. Watch the wind dance in the trees.
“Perhaps everything that frightens us is, in its deepest essence, something helpless that wants our love.” – Rainer Maria Rilke
Love > Fear.
Focusing on how completely scared and small and clueless we feel, changes nothing. It feeds the fear dragon and makes it appear to be bigger, worse, and more caustic than it might otherwise be. Believe me, I am well aware of what’s wrong in the world right now. I am not whistling Dixie in the dark or ignoring the elephant in the room. Extreme fear is fine in the short term, in small doses, as a means of waking us up. But it cannot be our modus operandi in life. We can’t be constantly stewing in the noxious juices of our reptilian brain, tossed back and forth between fight and flight.
In a choice between love and fear, we should always choose love.
Why? Because love is a balm for what ails us. Because love opens us and brings us light. Because love pulls us out of ourselves and makes us better, more pliable, more resilient, more joyous.
Because this crazy world needs our love.
It needs our love to be poured over and into its many wounds. Because there is work to do and only love can show us how to change things for the better.
So, when I think about the gay couple in Ohio who are asking that their love be recognized and honored, as one of them is dying of Lou Gehrig’s Disease, I am sending love as an antidote to the hatred they are encountering at their most vulnerable and terrible moment. As elephants face annihilation in many parts of Africa, due to the ivory trade in China, I must focus on sending love to both the animals themselves and the human beings blinded by short-sighted monetary gains. I am sending love to Trayvon Martin’s parents. I am sending love to the whistle-blower, Bradley Manning. I am sending love to Pussy Riot and the protesters in Turkey, Egypt, and Japan. When I think about Fukushima, I am sending love to stop the spilling of thousands of gallons of nuclear waste water into the Pacific ocean. I am sending love and light to those planting food and blocking environmental destruction. I am sending love to those who feed the homeless and take care of feral cats. I am sending love to those picking up litter and to those who recycle and compost and garden. I am sending love to those learning to live with less, so others can simply live.
I cannot do everything, but I can do something.
Pouring our fear – our reactive fear – into a world that’s already burning out of control, is like trying to put out fire with gasoline. It stokes the flames and helps them spread.
Compassion — the greatest form of love — is often in short supply. We must have more empathy for our own short-comings, so that we don’t go out into the world and wreak havoc from our skewed perspective. We tend to be very judgmental and blaming toward people who may be struggling with addiction or joblessness or just general ennui and hopelessness. However, everyone who is battered or broken or lost, needs our love. We can show that love by donating to charity, or writing letters, or reading books and sharing our stories. If you know someone’s story, you know their heart.
We can be gentler with each other as we pass through the changes that are happening at lightning speed right now.
So, do not feed the fears.
Instead, cultivate the light and love that is your birthright.
© 2013 Shavawn M. Berry All rights reserved
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