Our Greatest Fear
It is our light not our darkness that most frightens us
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’s nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you.
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 are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.
~ Marianne Williamson
Archive for October, 2012
Our Greatest Fear
I dislike Thomas the Tank Engine. There I’ve said it. No, dislike isn’t strong enough, I despise Thomas the Tank Engine. I find the writing to be clumsy, the moral underpinnings to be rigid, and the images to be downright creepy. I share this with other parents and yet Thomas continues to dominate a child’s life at a certain point and thereby, a parent’s life.
I threw away a Thomas book the other day because it was downright puritanical in its vision of a Useful Train Engine. I have cringed when a train has refused to go up a mountain because they are scared and it scares everyone else. I have suffered from foolish and silly freight cars one too many times.
So when Tin said he wanted to be Thomas the Tank Engine for Halloween I almost passed out. Little by little, this mom was able to weave her subversive hand into the mix by telling him I would make his costume instead of buying the standardized Thomas one.
And so Thomas morphed into Don Cornelius and Tin’s Soul Train was born and for one more day, I have been the victor over the Reverend Wilbert Awdry’s awkward and heavy-handed
moral train tale.
Goodbye Thomas – hello Don.
So I’m working with my life coach, trading services, and I was looking up some other websites as I’m helping her with her content and I came across this on some one else’s site:
REALITY CHECK – Anxiety is usually only present if you’re not. If you’re feeling anxious it means your mind is stuck in the past or future where it’s building big scary scenarios (that presentation you’re going to blow, the inadequacies you must have that drove your ex away, etc.) So, today whenever you find yourself feeling stress or anxiety, I want you to stop for a moment and ask yourself: “Am I in grave danger right NOW?”
Let’s just hope the answer is NO.
We are in our whirlwind again, Halloween tomorrow, here a meeting there a meeting, and I feel caught up and not caught up, if you get the difference.
“SLOW DOWN AND EVERYTHING YOU ARE CHASING WILL COME AROUND AND CATCH YOU.” – John De Paola
Tin had his first sleep over on Saturday – Jared spent the night and they slept – it was a miracle. Then Tin wanted to be Thomas the Train for Halloween but I creatively changed that strategy and instead of creepy ass Thomas, he is now Soul Train with Don Cornelius’ face instead.
I ran to the Farmer’s Market this morning to pick up the Halloween suckers – orange pumpkins and purple bats for the grade’s kids to hand out to the nursery kids. I ran into my friend and we grabbed a coffee and went up on the levee and sat out in the sunshine – it got cold here this weekend, suddenly very cold for us, and we were in coats and hats etc, but thankfully it is warming up a little and we sat on the grass and soaked in the rays and caught up.
Early this morning on my walk, I ran into my friend who told me the catch phrase of the day is, “we got that covered” and so today, sitting there with my friend catching up on work, kids, and life we got it all covered.
Tomorrow begins a long rest of the week that includes trick or treating, two days off of school and a grand playdate here, and then a train trip to Picayune to visit the street fair. Lots on the bucket list and yet, we are only just getting started.
So as I listed the “probably boring to anyone who doesn’t have an auto-immune disease or thyroid deficiency” diet it dawned on me that perhaps you wouldn’t know just how difficult it is when this is my typical meal:
Breakfast – oatmeal, flaxseed oil, maple syrup, banana.
New breakfast – maple syrup and banana – say what?
Lunch – lentils, tofu, edamame, soy sauce, sweet potato, cabbage – any combination
New Lunch – nada
Dinner – who cares?
So I think that I keep doing the wrong thing because every time I turn around I’m doing the wrong thing – sigh – this all has to do with eating a diet that does not counter act the Synthroid I’m taking.
I just read this on a Hashimoto’s Disease board:
The message for patients: We definitely need more research that looks at the connection between hypothyroidism, metabolism and body weight, because the conventional wisdom that hypothyroidism only causes a few pounds of weight gain is seemingly contradicted by this and many other studies that show even slight changes in TSH having a fairly dramatic impact on weight.
Another site says this:
List of foods to avoid while taking Synthroid:
1. Avoid goitrogenic foods: Foods that contain goitrogens may suppress thyroid function by inhibiting iodine uptake which is a important nutrient for hormone production. Iodine is a trace mineral and is found in dairy, meats and small amounts in fruits and vegetables. Goitrogens also called as thyroid inhibiting foods. It depresses thyroid function and stimulates the growth of thyroid.
Avoid eating raw cruciferous vegetables if you have hypothyoidism. Instead you can cook these vegetables before consuming. Some of them include cabbage, brussel sprouts, cauliflower, broccoli, mustard greens, kale, turnips, rape seed (canola oil) and collard. Other goitrogenic compounds present in small quantities include pine nuts, millet, peanuts, peaches, sweet potatoes, radishes, cassava root and strawberries. These are mildly goitrogenic and you can take in small amounts. You can start eating these healthy vegetables once your thyroid problems gets better.
2. Soy products: Soy is another food to avoid while taking Synthroid. It is better to eliminate unfermented soy products when you take synthroid. Some of the unfermented soy products include soy nuts, soy bean oil, soy cheese, soy protein, edamame, soy infant formula, soy milk, soy icecream, soy sprouts, tofu and soy beans. You can take fermented soy products in small amounts when you take synthroid. Fermented soy products include tempeh, miso and soy sauce. Soy products are also goitrogenic and suppress thyroid function. Soy is found in many packaged food products. Read the labels carefully when you buy any foods from the grocery store.
3. Avoid chlorine and fluoride when you take synthroid. Chlorine and fluoride block iodine receptors in the thyroid gland. Chlorine is found in tape water. Fluoride is found in toothpaste and tape water. You can use spring water and steam distilled water. Read the label when you buy toothpaste. You can buy natural toothpaste, because it is fluoride free.
4. Eating high amounts of fiber can interfere with the absorption of thyroid hormone. Some of the high fiber foods include cooked black beans and lentils.
Foods that interact with Thyroid medications are:
High fiber foods
Cheese of all kinds
Yogurt (both dairy and soy)
Herbs that you need to limit are:
Bugleweed-don’t use at all
Lemon Balm – don’t use at all
Well Voodoo Fest sounds like it is in my backyard and a neighbor said he was rousted from his bed this morning as Metallica warmed up. All I can say is I tried, in the same vein that I tried Jazz Fest, but what I crave and want is Museum Fest, Book Fest, or Theater Fest because I’m not finding my groove with all these music fests.
I feel like Goldie Locks at the Fest – Jazz Fest is too big, Voodoo Fest is too young, and I can’t find the fest that feels just right.
How can you wake up and feel so different as if none of what happened before happened? I don’t know where that person is who could do fest after fest, but whoever she was, she ain’t der no more.
After watching Cloud Atlas yesterday, I ran into a new friend who is doing some work with me at Waldorf and we got into a very inspiring conversation. I’m trying to connect the dots in my life to walk the line that draws itself from inside me then out.
My dots start with Tin, and move through education (not a cookie-cutter, test inspired, grade driven education, but to really develop as a human being and thinker), and then to broadcast the seeds of that effort out towards the community at large where I see other children like Tin in need of opportunity, a new way, a new path – here I am connecting the dots.
Thinking about our conversation, smile on my face, and before heading back to my truck, I walked into Anthropologie in search of a night light for Tin’s bedroom since he’s had some issues with the darkness of his room that Twlight Turtle hasn’t helped resolve and a woman walked down the stairs with me, and then turned to me and said, “I’m sorry for staring, but you are so beautiful, I just had to tell you.”
Now you know – being bald has had its moments – and these moments where I am stopped and told I’m beautiful have come from women – and I have them a helluva lot more now than I ever did with hair – so I think these women see something else – I think this woman saw what was emanating from inside of me – this feeling of living a worthy life, of finding my path, of feeling joy bubbling to the surface — that gratitude was what touched her and connected her to me.
Being bald, what’s not to love?
We skipped work yesterday afternoon and went to see Cloud Atlas, which just opened at Canal Place. I read David Mitchell’s book three summers ago in Spain and was taken on a wild and delightful odyssey. The movie is worth a look, albeit I do agree with the NYT review that it too tightly controlled the message.
And what is the message – that we are all interconnected by truth. And I’d like to actually sit through that movie and count the times that truth and honesty came up in the dialogue. Even Tom Hanks’ use of “true true” would up the ante.
Not that truth is something that is not very present in my mind with my overarching desire to strip away from my own being any falsehoods that don’t represent me or my true self and to live my life in truth. However, I got the feeling during watching Cloud Atlas that truth was being hammered on top of my bald head over and over.
I still highly recommend the movie – I think it is an incredible feat that these directors and writers and especially the editor were able to tell this tale(s) made for a long novel into a cinematic tour de force.
1997 Convocation Speech at Dartmouth College: Louise Erdrich
(Class of 1976)
(Sept. 23, 1997)
Ahneen, apijigo megwitch. Niminwehndam ikidooyeg noongoom
I entered Dartmouth in 1972, a member of the first freshman
class of women and in the first class of Native Americans. I had
never been east of the Mississippi. I didn’t know what a bagel
was. I found Brooklynese both strange and moving. I’d never met
a Californian, never heard the term prep school. I was
frightened of my new surroundings and overpowered by the classes
I was sure I’d fail.
And I did fail.
I am standing before you, now, not as the invited alum, not
as the returning honoree, but as someone whose biggest
accomplishment has been to fail, and fail with all of her heart,
at many things. I am not here to tell you how to succeed. You
have plenty of people who can tell you how to do that. I’m here
to tell you how to fail, for there is an art to it that I have
I will tell you about it by telling you what has happened
since I first accepted the honor of speaking at this
At the time, my family life and that of our children was
intact. In the months after, my husband Michael Dorris, a
vibrant member of the Dartmouth community, took his own life. I
thought, of course, of cancelling this engagement and retreating
completely from public life. But I knew that if I did, I would
lose a very powerful chance to address those of you, and that
includes all of you, whose lives will include grave setbacks and
shocks, and yes, failures. I would lose the chance to address
you human to human, as though there were no age, no difference,
no podium between us. I would lose the chance to speak to you as
someone who entered Dartmouth more scared than you, more
confused, more filled with irrational self confidence, yet
without any self esteem whatsoever.
And yet, somehow, I am standing right here talking to you.
Had I succeeded in everything I tried at Dartmouth, I would
not be a writer. For instance, math. I entered before the
invention of the microchip, when the computer itself, at Kiewit,
was the size of a tennis court. My programs, based on dream
logic, threw the system into such a tizzy that I passed Math for
Poets only on the condition I did not approach the computer
again. I headed for Sanborn, made my home at the English
Department, and embarked on a life of failing passionately at
the thing I love to do most.
One thing I could do at Dartmouth, one thing that did keep
me going, was my work study job at Thayer Dining Hall. I rose
before dawn every morning, went in, and made breakfast. I am
proud to say that I believe, whether or not it is true, that I
was the first woman at Dartmouth to be trusted with the pancake
spatula. I had a terrific boss who’d once been a high ranking
army cook. He taught me to poach and scramble. He also taught me
organization, tenacity, and how to crack 30 or 40 dozen eggs
four at a time. I can still crack eggs one-handed, and I learned
that there are many people here, besides professors, who will
teach you what you need to know. So let the people who work all
around you to make this a good place, people in the accounts
office, library, dormitory, buildings and grounds, also be your
Challenge is an inevitable part of education. Despair and
exhaustion are part of challenge. You will hit some walls here –
– emotional, intellectual — part of growing is that sometimes
you clear them and sometimes you don’t. Whether you clear the
walls of not, the stress of trying can deplete you to the point
of depression. I have to say this in the light of our family
year. Treat any signs of depression as you would a dangerous
virus. See the excellent doctors here. Get help. See your dean.
Talk to your friends. Depression is an illness that feeds on
I can tell you, no one who loves a suicide will ever be
intact again. We are left holding the curve of the question
mark, above the dark period of that decision.
And yet it is possible, I hope, to hold that question in
the open as an archway for others to safely pass beneath. True
knowledge, deep knowledge, includes the pain and mess of life,
but also, and most importantly, I think, it includes
extraordinary, everyday, joy. Knowledge doesn’t come in a tidy
package. In the years to come, reach out to others with trust.
Cultivate your inner resilience and strength, because to trust,
you must have the soul of a great athlete, one who can rebound
when trust is violated, and revive to throw yourself again and
again at the goal of understanding.
Fail with the same attitude that you succeed. For the two
are more alike if you regard them with an open mind. Failure is
a consequence of taking risks. So, if you have taken a risk that
leads to failure, you must see yourself as having suceeded in
taking a true, real, important risk. A chance. A challenge.
There is honor in that.
With this attitude, many of your risks and failures will
turn to opportunities. If I hadn’t taken risks beyond my
understanding, for instance, I wouldn’t have the opportunity to
speak to you now.
During this year of listening to loss, I was at times
advised to turn my problems over to a higher power. But higher
powers don’t have to pay taxes while in shock, make edible
meals, wake grieving children up on cold, gray mornings and at
the last minute find cleverly stashed school shoes. No higher
power wanted to take on those mundane jobs. There may be times
you, too, have to dig deep for strength, so I want to tell you
about the person I found to fill in for me when times got tough.
I turned my problems over to an earthen soul, a person I
call Nurse Louise. My Nurse Louise took care of the weaker,
frightened, uncertain, impulsive, sorrowing Louise who had, once
upon a time, immersed herself in her fictions. Nurse Louise, a
realist, came to my rescue. Told me to look inside. I did.
Instead of an inner child, I found her, an inner grandma, a
tough old lady with an attitude.
My inner grandma — and I’m sure you all have one, or a
similar person — told me not to give up reading to my children,
acquiring pets, running, planting flowers, enjoying parents and
family, playing piano, loving deeply, hurting, praying, growing
tomatoes and learning languages.
For several years, I have been studying my native language,
that is, Ojibwa. The final reason I wanted to be here was this –
– to speak to you here on this historic occasion in a language
that by all rights should have disappeared a century ago but,
like native people, is alive and enduring today.
I want to so to you things that only can be said in Ojibwa.
It is a language in which everyone is related, and,
significantly today, in Ojibwa there are no gender distinctions.
Everything is either animate or inanimate, alive or dead, and
that distinction is the result of a private understanding of the
world. There is no word for greed in Ojibwa. No way to convey
the concept of personal ownership of this immense and flowing
earth. It is a language entered in the Guinness book of records
for its endless number of verbs. Ojibwa words describe every
movement and temperature and visual sense of water. It is the
language that my grandfather Anishinabe Patrick Gourneau, his
father Keeshkimunishoo, the Kingfisher, and my great aunt
Shyoosh, a healer, spoke. It is a language that my late husband,
Michael Dorris, taught me to appreciate.
Ikwaywug, ininiwug, Dartmouth –-
Nibago sendam sana gigah nandagikendan, nibagosendam gigah
gikina waabaaman, meenawa giminobimaadisin omah. Chi gikino
maday wigamigoong a’aw mazhii gewag mekina. Gibimosaym a’aw
mikina giga nisidotamawaa.
Mino aya sana.
Women and men of Dartmouth, I dearly hope you learn here in
the fullest way and lead a good life, that is, a life of
kindness, challenge, vision and consideration. This college has
prepared a road for you. As you walk this road, you will
understand that the beauty of the road lies partly in its
difficulty, just as the most scenic road has traversed the roughest
terrain. Don’t forget, you walk in others’ tracks and leave
tracks as well. Make them straight, keep your path true, for
these tracks will forever show the character of your passage.
Live well, in blessings.