…or, Of whom are you afraid? to be more correct.
Am I afraid of myself? Of life? Of possibilities? Of potential? Of opening up a future rather than staying in this stagnation that has been the last few years of my life? Of choosing a new hobby, interests, and friends to lead me into this non-drinking life that I desire? Of growing up a bit?
So many people (people being the bloggers and book authors currently in my life), well everyone actually, share how much their life improved once they quit drinking. They say that they love who they are now and can’t believe they were ever that other person before. I have not come across one person who shares that their life was better as a drinker and they went back to it to live that life again and forever. Am I seriously afraid of living an improved life?
I have this poem on a cabinet door in my kitchen. I came across it a couple of years ago and it spoke to the doubts and fears I had about several things in my life, a big one being drinking. Nelson Mandela quoted this in a speech of his, so it is often misquoted as being his original writing, but it is from Marianne Williamson. I’m not really sure who she is, but I think she’s been on Oprah a lot. (and yes, I love Oprah in that very bizarre way that most of the USA does, I can’t help it!) I typed it up in my own version and substituted a few words to better match my spiritual beliefs, but here is the original:
Our Deepest Fear
By Marianne Williamson
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?
Actually, who are you not to be?
You are a child of God.
Your playing small
Does not serve the world.
There’s 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’re liberated from our own fear,
Our presence automatically liberates others.
I know that everyone will have their own personal experience with this poem and the ideas that it presents. For me, I believe these ideas with all my heart, about myself and others. But, sometimes, it is much easier for me to project this light-filled, powerful image of myself than it is for me to accept it. When I’m alone, when I’m struggling and reflecting on myself, I don’t always feel that my own light shines. It turns on and off, but I think it has to potential to always be on. There are people, even in a serious or sad moment, who still project their light. They don’t play small but they are also not full of themselves or falsely humble. This idea that our greatness scares us more than our mediocrity…that we would choose ‘less than’ because we don’t know what ‘more than’ will bring us…I have to think some more on this.
When I first read this poem, I cried. I put it up so that I would read it every day and begin to believe it every day. There have been days that I start to read it and I can’t finish it, I have to turn away from it and avoid it. It can be painful to read it because I want to believe it but on some days, many days, I don’t. The last few days have been grey for me, which was hard because some the days before that had a girlie giddiness to them, but today I had several moments of light and happiness. I knew I wouldn’t’ drink today and I feel like I’m ready for some upcoming good days.