Staying Small To Stay Safe

Peggy Dulany

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Awakin FeatureSomewhere along the line of human evolution, fears caused many of us (especially those who lost their link to the natural environment and came to live in crowded, stressful living conditions) to shrink into a smaller way of understanding -- and living -- our existence. We needed to feel safe. And the unknown made us fearful. So we shrank the unknown into manageable bits that took much of the meaning -- and the magic -- out of it.

It’s very understandable when you think of it from the survival point of view: we are mortal, our lives are so relatively short, and, just when we are beginning to be able to understand something larger than our small, limited lives, we die. We manufacture all kinds of beliefs (religions, ideologies, myths) to rationalize our life and our death, to reassure ourselves that something (heaven, hell, reincarnation), some meaning, will continue after our bodies disintegrate and the light in our eyes is extinguished.

We come to live smaller lives out of fear of the wars that might kill us; of possible violence against ourselves that, in turn, cause us to manifest that against others; of the possibility that the emotional, physical, spiritual violence that we may have encountered in our childhoods and our short lives will be repeated on ourselves or our children.

So we do whatever we have to do to keep ourselves safe: a solution has been to ‘hide’ from the daring, bold, adventurous child of our self who wanted to go out and explore the world – and make our self very small and even invisible so that no one will perceive us as a threat and no one will hurt us. We hide as a way of protecting our self and, in doing so, we hide our magnificence, our wholeness, our full creativity, as well as those aspects we were taught were bad. We use a great deal of energy trying to keep these parts of ourselves invisible, sometimes to the extent that even we forget their very existence.

But magnificence and other, less appealing qualities don’t like to be shrunk or compartmentalized. They suffer, fester, seek weaknesses in the walls of their containment and escape (to the horror of our safely small selves) in little – or sometimes larger – eruptions that startle or lead to disapproval or amazement by others and set our alarm bells to clanging loudly.

Peggy Dulany is a philanthropist and founder of Synergos. Excerpted from this article.

Seed questions for reflection: How do you relate to the notion that magnificence doesn't like to be shrunk or compartmentalized? Can you share an experience of a time your magnificence erupted beyond its walls of containment? What helps you transcend your fears and let your magnificence shine?

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10 Previous Reflections:

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    On Nov 19, 2019 Celeste McCoy wrote:
    In many cases the affair partner know about the wife, but not in my case. She knew about me, but my husband told her we were in the process of getting divorced. It’s been two years and I still feel that my husband felt so much more happy with his mistress. He meet her family and friends and even vacationed with her multiple times. He had those opportunities since he claimed to me, he was so busy with work. I was with my husband cell phone when she texted him saying beautiful things to my husband such as I miss u and I never felt like this before. We already had our kids and it completely broke my heart. He was with her for two years and in those two years he not only put me in a corner but also our kids. My Aunt introduced Doctor Muna spell to me and i admitted to work with Doctor Muna from Marvelspelltemple@gmail. com 24 hours with Doctor Muna our marriage vows was renewed, my husband been a real man who take responsibilities of myself and our kids. I was just so overwhelmed. Tr... [View Full Comment] In many cases the affair partner know about the wife, but not in my case. She knew about me, but my husband told her we were in the process of getting divorced. It’s been two years and I still feel that my husband felt so much more happy with his mistress. He meet her family and friends and even vacationed with her multiple times. He had those opportunities since he claimed to me, he was so busy with work. I was with my husband cell phone when she texted him saying beautiful things to my husband such as I miss u and I never felt like this before. We already had our kids and it completely broke my heart. He was with her for two years and in those two years he not only put me in a corner but also our kids. My Aunt introduced Doctor Muna spell to me and i admitted to work with Doctor Muna from Marvelspelltemple@gmail. com 24 hours with Doctor Muna our marriage vows was renewed, my husband been a real man who take responsibilities of myself and our kids. I was just so overwhelmed. Truth is, marvelspelltemple@gmail. com brought the best blessings, I could have ever wished for into our home. I just didn't know what to do, what to expect at the initial time but all i got to say is Doctor Muna is to be another God that every women with broken homes can relate with and I bet you, Doctor Muna will bring in the best blessings into your home[Hide Full Comment]

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    On Nov 14, 2019 RAJESH C OZA wrote:
    While I certainly appreciate Peggy Dulany'ssentiment to not be small, to lead large lives, I must say that the "Hero's Journey" (as conveyed by Joseph Campbell) is not mine. I prefer smallness and do not experience my life as shrunk or compartmentalized. My journey is with close members of my family and friend circle. I enjoy a consulting practice with a few dozen clients over two decades rather than thousands of clients. I take delight in the title of E. F. Schumacher'sSmall is Beautiful. Smiling on the cover is a photograph of Gandhiji surrounded by a bicycle, a butterfly, and a bulb. All small things that have their own magnificence.

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    On Nov 13, 2019 Surya wrote:
    I could resonate with the point"(especially those who lost their link to the natural environment and came to live in crowded, stressful living conditions)" nature makes us feel confident and share with others making us feel one with whole, while crowded, stressfulliving conditions induce competition and shrinking from whole to self. Guess gaining knowledge of stressful conditions and handle situation in right way could lead to whole, unfortunatelywe find it difficult to handle condition with right approach because of the fear of being wrong or lack or knowledge, complications etc.

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    On Nov 13, 2019 Krishna Kadali wrote:
    Very good article to reflect on. I feel each of our inner self is unique and how each of us perceive things could be different and could be seeing a different angle to the reality that others might be missing. So rather than containing and hiding our magnificence with the fear of being wrong, it is good to express ourselves with an anticipation that we could be wrong and willing to correct ourselves. With this approach, we can see the reality better, accept the reality better and our collective goal should be how can we make the reality better for ourselves as well as for everyone around us.

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    On Nov 12, 2019 Mark David Vinzens wrote:
    “If you bring forth what is within you, what you bring forth will save you. If you do not bring forth what is within you, what you do not bring forth will destroy you.”
    ―Gospel of Thomas

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    On Nov 12, 2019 Ku Kahakalau wrote:
    Just had an intense conversation with my daughter who is 26 about thinking too large, and visioning too big - which has always been my way of living. She warned me of failing and I almost listened to her. So this article came at the perfect time. Thanks.

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    On Nov 9, 2019 Abhi wrote:
    Normal zones of life get punctured by outbursts of different emotions....unpredictable, intense and powerful....getting in touch with how, within me is literally an assembly line that sorts out emotions and puts away some of them in the warehouse, all the time.....

    And then, once in a while, they erupt (or might)....This happens for me with anger...with magnificence it is still a more complex web of humility, my own smallness et el

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    On Nov 9, 2019 David Doane wrote:
    I agree that magnificence (the real self of each of us) doesn't like to be shrunk or compartmentalized, which we do to a great extent in an effort to control, such as to try to control outcome or try to control how we and/or the other will feel. There have been many times I have allowed myself to express my magnificence and it or I has been well-received even when I expect disapproval. There have also been times that my magnificence has erupted beyond my walls of containment, such as when I erupted and rebelled against childhood beliefs, which resulted in some disapproval but overall the outcome has been positive, except on those occasions when my magnificence came out angrily, and then it was my anger rather than my magnificence that was the problem. What helps me transcend my fears is trusting me, trusting what I am seeing/perceiving/experiencing, and trusting that expressing me honestly and caringly is my responsibility and is good for me and others.

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    On Nov 8, 2019 Jagdish P Dave wrote:
    When we are not in the fight, flight or freeze survival zone, our mind and heart are open to see and experience amazing, vowing and magnificent presence of natural beauty and beauty of human mind and human heart. We are born with the sense of curiosity, wonderment, and magnificence. As we grow up, our natural tendency to relate and welcome the mysterious unknown gets shrunk and compartmentalized. Sadly our mind and heart shrink and become narrow by the fear of the unknown. The shine of magnificence gets obstructed by the clouds of fear. My true self is not bound by attachment or aversion. It is vast and open. My ego self lives in a closed, fragmented and narrow world. Whenever I am in the being zone free from fear of losing my self, in the zone of unconditioned love and unconditional acceptance my magnificence eruptsbeyond its walls of containment. I am grateful to my beloved lifepartner who provided an ambience of letting me to be me in my relationship with her. In this relationship... [View Full Comment] When we are not in the fight, flight or freeze survival zone, our mind and heart are open to see and experience amazing, vowing and magnificent presence of natural beauty and beauty of human mind and human heart. We are born with the sense of curiosity, wonderment, and magnificence. As we grow up, our natural tendency to relate and welcome the mysterious unknown gets shrunk and compartmentalized. Sadly our mind and heart shrink and become narrow by the fear of the unknown. The shine of magnificence gets obstructed by the clouds of fear.

    My true self is not bound by attachment or aversion. It is vast and open. My ego self lives in a closed, fragmented and narrow world. Whenever I am in the being zone free from fear of losing my self, in the zone of unconditioned love and unconditional acceptance my magnificence eruptsbeyond its walls of containment.

    I am grateful to my beloved lifepartner who provided an ambience of letting me to be me in my relationship with her. In this relationship we become one. In such relationships there are no walls of fear, worry and other obstructions.
    I become mindful of whatever arises in my mind that blocks the experience of wonderment. I accept it, investigate it and learn from it. Living in the world of fear, anger, hatred and cruelty gives me an opportunity to work on myself and help others to work on themselves.

    Namaste!
    JagdishP Dave











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