August 30 – Stepping Out of Fear – Mark Nepo, The Book of Awakening

“I will always have fears, but I need not be my fears, for I have other places within myself from which to speak and act.” Parker J. Palmer

No feeling takes over our lives more suddenly or more completely than fear. It seems to come  up from nowhere and, in a blink or swallow, can infect everything.

The blind Frenchman, Jacques Lusseyran, describes how fear was the only thing that truly  prevented him from seeing: “Still,there were times when the light faded, almost to the point of disappearing. It happened every time I was afraid. If, instead of letting myself be carried along by confidence and throwing myself into things, I hesitated, calculated, thought about the wall, the half- open door, the key in the lock; if I said to myself that all these things were hostile and about to strike or scratch, then without exception I hit or wounded myself. The only easy way to move around the house, the garden or the beach was by not thinking about it at all, or thinking as little as possible.  Then I moved between obstacles the way they say bats do. Otherwise what the loss of my eyes had not accomplished was brought about by fear. It made me blind.”

More than anything, fear blinds, and only by stepping without hesitation into the next inch of the unknown can we build confidence in the life we are about to live.

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