Our Deepest Fear
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, 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 enlightening about shrinking
so that other people won’t feel unsure around you.
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.
As we let our own Light shine,
we consciously give other people permission to do the same.
As we are liberated from our own fear,
our presence automatically liberates others.
Return to Love
quoted in Nelson Mandela’s Inaugural Speech, 1994
Nelson Mandela has always been my biggest inspiration. It was a man with a vision, and there was nothing they could do to him to make him lose that vision. That was what made him such an inspiration for me and the world.
He chose this poem written by Marianne Williamson for that reason. To make the people of South Africa aware of their fear of their light and inspire them to shine, thrive, and take responsibility for their qualities. Nelson Mandela knew how to make people stand in their light, connect them to their vision and make them learn from an ugly past to work together on the country's bright future.
South Africa 1995
I lived in South Africa for eight months, not long after Nelson Mandela was elected president, and I was amazed by the fullness of the people in that country. It was a difficult time; Apartheid had only just been banned. I came from the Netherlands, where I did not know racism firsthand. Back home, I had friends and roommates of all colors and cultures, and I loved them all equally.
With that perspective, I went down south, and especially in the first two months, I could see the beauty in all. I talked to everybody that crossed my path and found it so interesting to hear everyone's story.
Working in a furniture factory, it was so beautiful to see the smiles when I spoke to the people on the work floor, not realizing that it was extraordinary that a white person socialized with a Xhosa. I took an interest in what they were doing and could see how proud they were of their work. I loved being among them.
White people were dominant in George, where I resided. It still had a strong flavor of the Apartheid. On the surface, there seemed to be a lot of tension and fear from the people of color toward the white Afrikaners. But under the surface, I noticed how much fear existed in the Afrikaners and how much judgment they carried toward people of color.
Looking back with shame, it is here where I started to understand the infectiousness of deep-rooted cultural fear. During my stay, I slowly became afraid because of the stories and the allegations made continuously. My lenses started to fog up, and after a few months, I couldn't see clearly anymore. My innocent curiosity started to fade, and slowly I began to follow the white crowd in their opinions. I didn't realize this until months later...
The final match
That year the rugby world championships were held in South Africa. For the first time, the Springboks, the national team, had a colored player named Chester Williams, and for the first time, the whole country stood behind the Bokke.
They worked themselves through the tournament and played in the finals against their rivals, the All Blacks from New Zealand. The whole country was under the spell of the final match, and right before the game, all 60.000 supporters in the stadium started to sing Shosolosa, a song of the black mineworkers working in Kimberley mines.
Suddenly all fear in the country was gone, and for one night in the history of South Africa, everyone was equal and had an identical goal, a vision. South Africa to be world champions!
It happened, the Bokke won the game, and the country applauded. I went into the streets, and people were hugging, singing, and drinking together. Everybody celebrated, skin colors seemed to have faded, and people met each other, really met each other. It was so beautiful. I remember crying while looking at the scenery of joy in the streets.
It was years later that I understood what had happened that night.
Coming to South Africa, I had a certain attitude. I wanted to unite people; I wanted to be friends with everybody, and I wanted to show them how we are united in the Netherlands. They could follow me and do the same.
Though I missed vision, I missed the connection to myself and especially to others. I couldn't see the people with all their history, fears, and cultural differences. My cultural conditioning biased my view.
A joined vision united the people in that country in one night. A joined vision that was further than any man's or woman's life. Having a joined vision makes people drop their fear and connects them to their light. It makes them look at each other from a place of love instead of hate.
In the longer term, the vision of Nelson Mandela united the (old) white and (new) black government. It made them connect and corporate instead of avenging each other for their doings in the past.
A clear vision gives direction, clarity, and purpose to everything one does, every choice one makes, and every step one takes. Vision makes one connect to one's purpose, gives fulfillment of one's achievements, and is the ultimate drive in life!
Pass the old, create the new
People get inspired by others when they have a clear vision and purpose. They are like buses with a clear sign which reads exactly where they are going, and for me, it always makes it easy to hop on and take the ride.
The work I do is a lot around vision. I work with people to create their vision in life and work. It is all about understanding and embracing the old ways of doing things, letting them go, and creating the willingness to transform them into new ways of thinking and acting. It is such an excellent process and brings an incredible amount of energy and drive. If you are interested, ask, and I am happy to chat with you about it.
How is your vision of life, and how does it help you to make your daily choices?