In another moment of synchronicity, after an email conversation with my sister about being aware of and facing the fear that holds us back from living the life we want, I got the new Oprah magazine in the mail and read the first feature, entitled "Power Surge."
Disclaimer: I have to admit a little bit of embarrassment that I receive the subscription, there's something about Oprah endorsements that suggest mob mentality, and the independent inside me wants to run. It was a gift from a friend, who also felt this, but explained that there are often really great articles.
And there are, especially this piece by Martha Beck. As a life coach, she describes three women and the powerlessness they feel in their lives. Beck writes, "The most common reason we stumble into the delusion of powerlessness is that we're afraid of what other people would do or say or feel if we were to act as we wanted. ... The way we can allow ourselves to do what we need to do, no matter what others may say or do, is to choose love and defy fear."
She goes on to give a quick guide to recognizing the difference between acts of fear and acts of love: "Fear: motivates grasping. Love: motivates liberation. Fear: insists on certainty. Love: Accepts uncertainty." She gives examples of a young college student who stood her ground after being detained by police for anti-apartheid activities and how her clients chose love and power over fear and immobility. "The process of spotting fear and refusing to obey it is the source of all true empowerment."
Her story continues, describing dealing with her beloved dog's cancer and baking for her son's 21st birthday, a child born with serious birth defects. "Real power is usually unspectacular, a simple setting aside of fear that allows the free flow of love. But it changes everything."
"Power comes from actions like these, and the infinite small choices between love and fear," Beck writes. "Today, pay close attention: Are you following the gripping energy of fear or the liberating energy of love?"
Reading that led me back to my computer, to share this with you, and then to get back to my own writing, something that often strikes fear in my perfectionist monkey-mind, that it won't be enough, won't be right. I have to remember, acts of love are liberating.
(Photo: A girl I met in the Mercato in Ethiopia; somehow she speaks of possibilities, life without fear.)