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Musings: to meditate, think, contemplate, deliberate, ponder, reflect, ruminate, reverie, daydream, introspection, dream, preoccupation, brood, cogitate.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Roles We Play

Today's post is by, Paul Niebanch, 1981, from Daily Readings from Quaker Writings Ancient and Modern:

All of us have occasion to fear the unknown.  The thought of departing from known habits and rewards is so threatening that we cling to them, even when they cause pain.  At least they are familiar....The unknown contains risk, possible loss, maybe even death. 

But somewhere in us a voice whispers, "Go."  It says that there is a fuller calling for us, that there is much to be gained by venturing forth.  It says that there are resources within ourselves that we have ignored.  It says that external validations are empty unless they are responses to what we actually are, rather than to the roles we carefully play.

Playing these roles is hard work.  We become known for the traits that we have cultivated thus far in our lives:  our punctuality, perhaps or our productivity, or our generosity, or even our spirituality.  But what might have started out as genuine impulses now feel like burdens, mere reputations to maintain...We have sacrificed our inner urges in order to make ourselves acceptable to others.  Like a child, we feel that if we do not do certain things, "They won't like us anymore...."

The underlying fear is the fear of the unknown within ourselves.  What if there is no reservoir of strength to call upon?  What if there is nothing there?  Or what if we have to confront those things that we have successfully suppressed from our consciousness for so long?......

As we put aside the encumbrances and see them for what they are, we will see what was there, unnoticed and untapped, all along....Our commitment is to notice the stirrings within ourselves and to let them carry us to new levels of expression and service.

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