Hallowed means holy, revered, sacred.
Halloween means candy, costumes, spooks and skeletons. The sweet and the scary.
In this post I am sharing four core fears that shape my soul like my skeleton shapes my body. They are scary, sweet and sacred to me. They are my hallowed fears.
- The fear of dying without knowing myself.
- The fear of dying without fulfilling my purpose.
- The fear of harming.
- The fear of not forgiving.
Hallowed fears inspire developmental movement, moral attention, and creative awareness. This is the scary part. Movement, attention and awareness take courage, lots of courage.
Hallowed fears illuminate what really matters to me. There is such sweetness to knowing what matters. These are the fears that motivate my goals and my ambitions.
Hallowed fears confront me with my Self. They are the looming presence of my angel questioning the truth of my thoughts, the beauty of my feelings, and the goodness of my behaviors. What could be more sacred?
Nothing can rescue me from my hallowed fears. Only I can live into them.
Hallowed fears often masquerade in the costumes of desires. Desires always have a selfishness to them. They crave satisfaction and often prefer fantasy to reality. Hallowed fears keep things real and keep me real. There is a gravity and grounding in hallowed fears. Desires are often about avoiding our shadows. Hallowed fears require us to face our shadows.
Let me share some of my unfolding understanding of my four hallowed fears:
Dying without knowing myself.
I will die without knowing all there is to know about my Self, without having solved all the variations, contradictions and complexities of being Lynn. I want to know as much as I can about being human and about being Lynn, my own crazy limited version of being human.
Last week the New York Times Magazine had an article on Terry Gross, the host of Fresh Air. Terry has done over 13000 interviews in her 40 year career on public radio. I realized that I am an interviewer of others in my work..I ask questions that elicit new revelations, free secrets of shame, confusion and doubt, encourage possibilities.
And I realized I interview myself. I ask questions of myself every day. On my deathbed, I will be interviewing myself. I am learning to be a confident interviewee not afraid of my truth, loving the question that makes me see myself in a new way.
My hallowed fear of not knowing myself and my Self keeps me asking questions, keeps me having one more interview with myself.
Dying without fulfilling my purpose.
What is my purpose? I feel I have a thousand purposes, maybe a million, for this lifetime. My purpose is a story that has no ending, so how is fulfillment to be understood? There is no single purpose that must be fulfilled! There are lots of little purposes filled with big karma and amazing destiny and the rolling of one into the next is the feeling of fulfillment. Imagine fulfillment as a process of becoming, not a concluding state of being.
One of my purposes is to write this post giving you the opportunity to contemplate your own hallowed fears. I will go to sleep tonight feeling fulfilled because I wrote this post, posted it and you and many others have read it.
I will spend time with my daughter and two of my grandchildren going trick or treating later today. I will be fulfilling my purpose as a mother and a grandmother.
I went to yoga yesterday and spent 90 minutes caring for my body and fulfilling my purpose to be embodied, healthy and flexible.
Is there a single grand purpose to my life that must be fulfilled. I don’t think so. But the hallowed fear of dying without fulfilling my purpose keeps me moving toward a life of many fulfillments, of a flow of a fulfilling life of many purposes.
If I were to die tonight, I would feel I was leaving my work with Imagine Self unfinished but would that mean my purpose was unfulfilled? This brings up the difference between purpose and legacy. We fulfill purposes and we leave behind legacies.
Harm is the consequence of the presence of egotism and the absence of compassion in one’s thoughts, words and deeds. It is the negating of the meaning, the denial of the significance and the thwarting of the purpose of another human being, of the natural world and of the future.
We all do harm. I do harm. The degree to which I fear doing harm, is the degree to which I fill my soul with conscious compassion and balance my selfish desires with unselfish devotion.
This is not about fear of being bad, being caught and being punished. It is not about the fear of not being good enough to be loved or saved or going to heaven.
I want to be accountable for the harm I do in this lifetime. I want to see my own shadow, see into it and see beyond it. I wouldn’t do this morally redemptive work if I didn’t hold the hallowed fear of doing harm.
Lately, I have been becoming intimate with virtue of forgiveness and the deed of forgiving. Who is the forgiver and who is the forgiven? Only I.
If harm is about being a perpetrator, forgiving is about being a victim. I do not want to die an unconscious perpetrator or an unconscious victim. I don’t want to bear the weight shame and guilt as I cross the threshold of death. I don’t want to be buried in a shroud of unhealed wounds. I must forgive myself and forgive others. I must forgive my life story so I can make sense of it.
I am working toward a daily practice of forgiveness. Not just the dream of forgiveness, but the real nitty-gritty moral task of naming what needs to be forgiven and forgiving it. Many of us keep gratitude journals which is a lovely, nurturing habit. What would a forgiveness journal bring to your soul…the wisdom of knowing what it was given for.
A lot of what I need to forgive was given so I could practice forgiveness. Consider this when you resent another’s slowness or disrespect or when you decide you are too fat or too impatient. The adverb “too” is always a sign that you have been give a gift for forgiving.
This hallowed fear of not forgiving leads me to my unbreakable and always open heart. Forgiveness is the sweetness of life.
I’ve written some thoughts on each of my four hallowed fears today, Halloween 2015. I could write much more. It was inspired by a video I saw last week on the four fears of the entrepreneur and how they can motivate success. I loved how the speaker linked fear to motivation…it inspired me to look at fear in a new way.
I hope this Halloween post inspires you to work with your hallowed fears and how they motivate the ways you imagine yourself.