It’s been a while since I’ve posted anything. In the summer, I was too relaxed to feel like blogging, and once the fall hit, work was too busy. I am finding inspiration now, though, in one of the most unlikely of places – politics. What has become clear as I talk to people, at work and in life, is that many are feeling afraid. In fact, a uniting quality in America right now, is fear. National Public Radio has a whole series called “The United States of Anxiety” where they interview people from across the country. What they report is that those on the right and left are equally anxious, though sometimes about different things. The fears range from job loss, to not having enough money to feed their kids, to fear of assault, fear of deportation, fear of “the other” (whoever that might be).
When we are afraid it can feel like there are no choices. We may feel trapped, helpless, backed into a corner and ready to lash out or hide. Fear, however, can also present an opportunity. It gives us the chance to be brave. Do you retreat, or do you stand tall? While there are stories of swastikas and hate speech, there are also stories of strangers volunteering to commute with a person of color or woman in a hijab to help them feel safer on their way to work. There are people reaching out to others, with money, food, or just a smile, to help someone else feel better.
While it may not be quite true that “we have nothing to fear but fear itself,” fear can be debilitating and overwhelming. The answer is to use fear to drive you toward your values. Use your fear as an opportunity to be brave. Reach out toward the other, with grace and kindness, even if that other is just as scared as you are. The more you connect, the more empowered you will feel.
Wishing you a Happy Thanksgiving filled with opportunities to feel joy and love, rather than fear.