As I sat by the beach in Morro Bay, California last week, I met an old friend. The friend is a quote by Marianne Williamson included in a new book by U.S. Representative John Lewis, Across That Bridge: Life Lessons and a Vision for Change:
“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 doesn’t serve the world. There is 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 is not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And when 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.”*
I used to keep this quote on the front page of my calendar, like a string tied around my finger to remind me of something important: “Barbara, you are not small and inadequate, no matter how you feel, or what other people say or do. You have power that is immeasurable and light within to shine. Claim it. Use it. Stand up. Move forward. Speak. You’re capable of more than you realize.”
We only learn to fly when we dare to step off the nest–or out of the bird-cage. Then we discover we already have what we need: power beyond measure, light in the darkness, and wings to soar.