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Love is the Source of Fearlessness

--by Margaret Wheatley (Jun 01, 2015)


Some of the prison bars that we have constructed for ourselves are our fear of losing our jobs. Our fear of not being liked. Our need for approval. Our desire to make important changes but not have to risk anything at all. So, we still want the comfort of this life and it feels like a bigger risk to step out and say, “No,” or to say, “You can’t do that to me.” It feels like a larger risk, because I think the real prison we’re in is our affluence, and our focus on our affluence or our hypnosis around material goods. I offer you this to think about: what is it that keeps you from acting fearlessly? [...]

Bernice Johnson Reagon, who was very active in the civil rights movements and also a wonderful singer, co-founder of Sweet Honey in the Rock, tells the story of looking back at those days of the civil rights movement, now from the safety and comfort of a successful life and career. She said, “In those days, we used to go out onto the streets, we used to protest. They would shoot at us, and someone would get killed. And then we’d go to their funeral and then we’d mourn and we’d grieve. And then the next day, we’d go back on the streets and protest some more.” And she said, “When I look back, now, I think we were crazy to do that.” But, then she said this. “But, when you’re doing what you’re supposed to do be doing, it’s somebody else’s job to kill you.” [...]

Can we work beyond hope and fear? Can we find a way to be motivated, to be energetic, to be happy; to take delight in the work that we’re doing that isn’t based on outcomes, that isn’t based on needing to see a particular result? Is that even available?

What if we could offer our work as a gift so lightly, and with so much love, that that’s really the source of fearlessness? We don’t need it to be accepted in any one way. We don’t need it to create any certain outcome. We don’t need it to be any one thing. It is in the way we offer it, that the work transforms us. It is in the way we offer our work as a gift to those we love, to those we care about, to the issues we care about. It is in the way we offer the work that we find fearlessness. Beyond hope and fear, I think, is the possibility of love.

Margaret Wheatley is an author of six books and a management consultant who studies organizational behavior. Her approach includes systems thinking, theories of change, chaos theory, leadership and the learning organization: particularly its capacity to self-organize. Excerpt above is from "8 Fearless Questions" on DailyGood.org.

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On Jun 4, 2017 Jo T N Murphy wrote:

I live in a retirement village where the advertised standards (and food) are unrealistic. I have challenged management to arrive unannounced (as a guest, or a 'mystery shopper' ) to see the disparity between the media-advertisements of how wonderful it all is - and the reality on the plate. I risk alienating friends and staff, but the freedom of stating the truth - which will benefit everyone - outweighs my fear of ostrascisation or expulsion!! Much of this environment I love - but much needs improvement when weighed against what we all pay. Room 326.



On Aug 17, 2015 Manish wrote:

 absolutely right!!!!



On Jul 11, 2015 jerard lizares wrote:

 It is said that love conquers all. Love is going beyond the limits, no boundaries. People who found love is going to the heights and peek of the light before the darkness of fear swallow them.



On Jun 3, 2015 Kunta wrote:

 Each person is unique.  Even if you love that person, it is impossible to please him/her all the time.  From fear of losing the closeness with that person, most of us shut our mouth, eyes and ears.  We lie to ourselves and to others.  Eventually, no matter what, one loses dignity in eyes of all.  Whereas, uneducated fearlessness can only bring disaster. 

political resistance is all too different than the home or workplace situations.  Our heritage teaches us to take care of self, family, town we live in, country we live in and the world -- in that order.  Only the one who is capable of leaving all attachments can be fearless.



On Jun 3, 2015 Jagdish P Dave wrote:

 This writing evoked memories of many experiences and things I have done in the past and what I have been doing in my long life span. years. There is a continuous and consistent theme running through my life. As a teenager I wanted to relate to girls of my age passionately. A part of myself wanted  to do it and a part of myself restrained me from acting on it. The restraint came from my fear of being rejected or ridiculed or criticized for doing the wrong thing or not doing the right thing.It was not a devastating deal for me as I had strong interest in studying and I had many close boy friends. I learned not to do what I would love to do out of fear. And that continued until I reached 20. And when I took the risk of expressing my true feelings of love for a lovely girl, I was thrown out of that girl's family circle. Love should bring happiness and joy which I deserved. In stead I got a big setback, a deep hurt and deep feelings of depression. The ray of hope was my sen  See full.

 This writing evoked memories of many experiences and things I have done in the past and what I have been doing in my long life span. years. There is a continuous and consistent theme running through my life.

As a teenager I wanted to relate to girls of my age passionately. A part of myself wanted  to do it and a part of myself restrained me from acting on it. The restraint came from my fear of being rejected or ridiculed or criticized for doing the wrong thing or not doing the right thing.It was not a devastating deal for me as I had strong interest in studying and I had many close boy friends. I learned not to do what I would love to do out of fear. And that continued until I reached 20. And when I took the risk of expressing my true feelings of love for a lovely girl, I was thrown out of that girl's family circle. Love should bring happiness and joy which I deserved. In stead I got a big setback, a deep hurt and deep feelings of depression. The ray of hope was my sense of self. I  never felt unworthy. I love myself and there is no fear in having a positive sense of my self. And that trait in me led me to a very loving and a beautiful soul mate whom I happily married. Both of us could do it  because both of us loved deeply and were ready to face difficulties arising from her parents not wanting me to marry her because of class differences- me an ordinary low income earning teacher and she having all the comforts and luxuries one would like to have.Love triumphed as we embraced life fearlessly.

Another significant arena of my life is characterized by the theme of follow your bliss.  I was eager to go to school as a child  because I love to learn. That passion has enriched my life to make me a life-long learner. Nothing has  deterred  me from following my bliss. The other side of the equation of learning is teaching. I love to learn and to teach. I became a teacher in Ahmedabad, my home town in India. The teacher's salary at that time was very low. But that did not stop me from following my bliss. And it did not stop Vanleela from being my life partner. I love to to teach and I teach with love. It is very fulfilling.At the age of 90 plus my journey still continues with the same passion and vigor bringing gifts of happiness to me and to others connected wit me. The more we give, the more we receive.

May the spirit of fearlessness enkindle love in all of us.

Namaste. Love.

Jagdish P Dave


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On Jun 3, 2015 Sanjeev wrote:

 "Love" is an abstract concept. "Love" can be for a cause--for instance Love for country or Love for an idea--that is very common in silicon valley--people take risk and start a new venture or enterprise because they are in "Love" with an idea. It comes in different flavors. Every being has four layer of existence--physical, subtle than physical is mind, subtle than mind is intellect and subtle than intellect is the soul. The love for a cause can exist in any one of the four layers--however the power of "Love" and fearlessness goes up with higher intensity as you move up in the ladder from Physical self to Spiritual Self.



On Jun 2, 2015 Mish wrote:

 Love enables what fear disables



On Jun 2, 2015 david doane wrote:

The author says the reason Bernice Reagon went back into the street and risked her life was because she was crazy and doing what she believed she was supposed to be doing.  That could be love.  Love does cause a person to go beyond his or her fear, forget about self, forget about one's own safety and appearance, and do crazy, unselfconscious, risky things.  I don't recall a time I've turned my work into a gift with fearlessness.  I don't think I've ever been fearless.  I've had times of being courageous which to me is to take action even though fearful.  I've had times of taking a risk regarding something or someone I believed in when I didn't know what would happen to me and mostly didn't care, which for me were times of being crazy courageous but not fearless.  I've been close to fearless in my personal life, when my heart got hooked on this girl who said 'No' to my first 4 or 5 requests to go out with her over the course of a number of days, and I  See full.

The author says the reason Bernice Reagon went back into the street and risked her life was because she was crazy and doing what she believed she was supposed to be doing.  That could be love.  Love does cause a person to go beyond his or her fear, forget about self, forget about one's own safety and appearance, and do crazy, unselfconscious, risky things.  I don't recall a time I've turned my work into a gift with fearlessness.  I don't think I've ever been fearless.  I've had times of being courageous which to me is to take action even though fearful.  I've had times of taking a risk regarding something or someone I believed in when I didn't know what would happen to me and mostly didn't care, which for me were times of being crazy courageous but not fearless.  I've been close to fearless in my personal life, when my heart got hooked on this girl who said 'No' to my first 4 or 5 requests to go out with her over the course of a number of days, and I kept going back and approaching her, and then she said 'Yes' and now she is my wife of 37 years.  Times of being in a prison of fear are when I stop myself because I'm afraid.  Becoming aware that I stop me, fear doesn't stop me, helps me take responsibility and be free. 

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On Jun 2, 2015 Kristin Pedemonti wrote:

 When we act out of love there is a purity and agendas drop away, whatever those agenda might be. I've been doing my best to work out of love for at least a decade and it's made all the difference. When I made the choice to sell my modest home and sell or give away most of my possessions to focus on donating literacy programs first in Central America (Belize) and then in other places that needed my service, it opened a new pathway. Now I gift all sorts of skill sets: whether that is Storytelling services or listening or sharing hot soup and clean socks with homeless through impromptu street outreach or sharing counseling or.... you name it. And when these services are gifted from the heart there's a feeling that washes over you, it is simply the right thing to do; not for any accolades or attention or return, but because it is love and it is heart and we are all human. I've had friends tell me I need to record what I am doing on video so it goes "viral" and more people see what i  See full.

 When we act out of love there is a purity and agendas drop away, whatever those agenda might be. I've been doing my best to work out of love for at least a decade and it's made all the difference. When I made the choice to sell my modest home and sell or give away most of my possessions to focus on donating literacy programs first in Central America (Belize) and then in other places that needed my service, it opened a new pathway. Now I gift all sorts of skill sets: whether that is Storytelling services or listening or sharing hot soup and clean socks with homeless through impromptu street outreach or sharing counseling or.... you name it. And when these services are gifted from the heart there's a feeling that washes over you, it is simply the right thing to do; not for any accolades or attention or return, but because it is love and it is heart and we are all human. I've had friends tell me I need to record what I am doing on video so it goes "viral" and more people see what i do, I have very much resisted that because to me it takes away the love and authenticity of the exchange. I would rather tell the Stories from my heart and if it inspires someone else to act, then my love work is done.
PS. Glad to be back, I've been Storytelling Consulting for a large world organization and it has taken some of my focus away, I am so grateful to be here with you today in Heart and what a perfect message to return to. HUG!

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On Jun 2, 2015 Sunil, Bangalore wrote:

Soul consciousness is fearlessness.Human soul is full of love,peace,strength & power which catalyzes fearlessness. Manifesting these latent qualities of soul thru meditation and practice in our daily lives is the key. Setting up schools for the children of migrant workers in the pathetic labour camps against all odds was my personal experience.This love for every child is empowering me to develop a digital gap minder platform for all the K-12 schools in the country. If we can really connect with our souls, we are out of the fear prison. Fear is lack of love and that is the awareness . 

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