What is it exactly that we’re so afraid of?
We’re so afraid all of the time. Of terrorists and bombs. Economic instability or environmental meltdowns. Disease. Tipping into mental illness or addiction. Failure. Death. Grief. Desolation.
Despite our fear, these things happen in our neighborhoods and families all the time. Life is not without pain.
There is no such thing as getting through this life without scars and heartbreak. For most of us, there is not a way through life without experiencing deep hunger or not knowing where welcome shelter is. We get sick. We age painfully. We will be mocked or ignored. We will fail. So will our children. It all happens. It’s all happening.
And so all the work we do to fortify ourselves against pain, to plan and protect against the wild forces of nature and the terrifying cruelties of humans, will not be enough. We will suffer. We do suffer. Ultimately, there is no protection.
So, why all the fear?
Being afraid would suggest that we don’t know if all of this is coming, and that we might have a chance to win out against it. Work to defend, and then be watchful against the night. Tension, vigilance, as if these things can keep the tide from flowing into low land. It can’t. The tide is coming, if it’s not already here for you.
And it’s OK.
Dismantle your protections for just a moment to feel your heart. This is the seat of your strength. This is where your power lies and it needs no defense. It is fierce enough to face the ravages of this world and yet still love, and love, and love again.
Let this be your work; to tend to the needs and the depths of the heart so that it may sustain you, inform you, connect you, and embolden you. The heart is the ground of your courage and the source of your power. It is big enough to hold the world in compassion, and tender enough to ache for the beauty of a infant’s eyelash.
You have what you need to live well in this world. Lay down the armor and let your fear come to rest. Your brave heart is enough for us all.
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Sarah Toney is a writer, fundraiser, coach, and builder of community in Reno, NV.