The one thing I appreciate about children above all, beyond their innocence and their ability to brush off hurts and get right back on the horse, is that they are not paralyzed by fear. Their lack of fear is so uncommon that we, the adults, end up having anxiety as we see them live life without a care in the world. In time, with enough lectures and sanctions through consequences, we end up inculcating in children the same fears we hold in our hearts. This is the first graduation that children attend as innocence and carefree spirits are replaced by contemplative angst.
My father once told me that the greatest treasure trove in the world is found at cemeteries for there is buried billions of gems that were entombed before they were actualized. People take to their graves unfulfilled potential and latent gifts; too many lead lives of dreams while residing in present despondency. Wealth, you see, is never about accumulation of money and storing up cash in bank accounts. Some of the most miserable people I’ve ever met are people who had more money than they could ever spend. If money was the key to happiness, rich people would actually give to the world instead of taking more and more from the least of us in order to fill their emptiness.
What good is a billion dollars if our fate is to live life in perpetual anxiety and fear? The richest people in the world are the ones who have little to their names who have nonetheless realized that life should be lived to the fullest without being kneecapped by apprehension. The world is full of abundance, we can find fulfillment without spending money to find it or we can be undone by interminable melancholy no matter how much currency we consume. The ways of this world and a broken system of materialism has taught us that possession is akin to happiness, but possessions in the end become nothing more than prisons that possess our souls in distress.
There is a poem written by Marianne Williamson that perfectly encapsulates the meaning of fear and what it does to our spirits. In the movie Coach Carter, one of the students rose up and recited the following words:
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, and fabulous? 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 will not 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 is not just in some of us; it is in everyone and as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give others permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.
The mortal enemy of love and hope is fear; where fear resides, only desolation is to be found. What makes fear so pernicious is that it comes in many forms and is harder to detect than the planet Mercury during the mid-afternoon skies. Paralysis through analysis keeps us stuck in place as we keep thinking about what we should do next and letting rumination replace actions. Did you know that more than 90% of our life is spent within a 20 mile radius? Think about this for a second; a planet that is as wide open and contains innumerable miles of open space is reduced to a 20 mile circumference for the mass majority of our lives.
Outside of a few trips overseas and the occasional road trip, most of us stay moored in place as we keep saying “one day I will see the world”. One day never comes–old age and infirmity in time lessens that 20 miles to a few yards in a room. It is fear of the unknown that makes us commit to the very miseries that bedevil us. We stay in jobs we hate even if we keep coming up with endless ideas to start our own business because we fear failure and the risk that comes with striking out on our own. We stay in loveless marriages or dead relationships not because love makes us stick it through thick and thin but because we would rather reside in enduring emaciation than have the audacity to venture out and find a season of abundance.
The fears within eventually become fear that is extrapolated without. When we feel unfulfilled and our dreams go unquenched, in time we start looking at the world through jaundice eyes. The loathing and antipathy that seems to be pervasive in our time can be traced directly to fear for it is the feeling of uncertainty and anxiety in the hearts of people that is being projected on society at large. One thing I realize about people who are broken–which 100% of humanity belongs in this category for all of us have been kissed by hurt in our lives–is that people have a tendency to either lash in or lash out when it comes to the pains that we feel. A hurt a long time ago makes us either injure ourselves or harm others; this is what fear does to us.
If we paused though and realized that the struggle is within, humanity would make one giant leap towards peace on earth. But then again, maybe it is the desire for perfection that keeps us wrapped in fear. The beauty of life is found when we gain the wisdom to accept the good with the bad. I’ve endured bouts of depression in the past and each time I dipped my toe in ennui, it was the fear of sadness that turned a momentary sorrow into a long term woe. I’ve finally learned to accept the dips and the zeniths of life–when I accepted the duality of life that I found peace. The world becomes our oyster when we stop trying to be perfect and live life perfectly in spite of our imperfection. When we stop letting past pains paralyze us and understand that the meaning of life is to live it, finally fear will no longer keep us. #FearThatKeepsUS
“Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” ~ Matthew 6:34
If you appreciate the message behind this write up and want to share the gem of knowledge found herein, share this article on social media using #FearThatKeepsUS
Check out the two Ghion Casts below where I discuss the two aspects of fear that keeps us. The first one is about accepting the duality of life.
The second Ghion Cast I discuss love and how the fear of loving leaving us kneecaps us–the key to love is to love ourselves first.
Originally from Ethiopia with roots to Atse Tewodros II, Lij Teodrose is a former community organizer whose writing was incorporated into Barack Obama's South Carolina primary victory speech in 2008. He pivoted away from politics and decided to stand for collective justice after experiencing the reality of the forgotten masses. His writing defies conventional wisdom and challenges readers to look outside the constraints of labels and ideologies that serve to splinter the people. Lij Teodrose uses his pen to give a voice to the voiceless and to speak truth to power.