In Winnie the Pooh, A.A. Milne writes: "You are braver than ou believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think."
Well, that's a good thing 'cuz I don't always feel all that brave, strong or smart in this life. Then, on the other side of the coin, there are times when I can get downright cocky and arrogant --when I feel like I can conquer the world, slay a dragon or two, and outwit the smartest person on the planet...all in the course of a single afternoon.
But that's on a particularly optimistic day...all too often, I feel as fearful, as weak and as stupid as the next guy. But I have to confess, I honestly believe that --when all is said and done -- I do have oodles of courage, strength and brains to see me through just about anything...and you do too!
How do I know this? Because I have seen the resiliency of the human spirit time and time again (both in myself and in others.) In fact, our courage, strength and intelligence in the face of adversity, or even the every day challenges of life, never ceases to amaze me.
Joseph Campbell said: "The cave you fear to enter holds the treasure you seek."
Why is it that the very things we fear are the very same things that make us feel empowered when we conquer them? I guess because on Planet Earth - this spiritual school we call home - part of the "gig" is to face our fears with courage, strength and all the intelligence we can muster.
I don't want to sound like a proselytizer or a "God Freak" but I do believe that we often get through these fearful and difficult moments only through the Grace of God.
Each of us has a reservoir of strength in what I like to call our souls and I'd go so far as to say that when we survive and thrive after our biggest challenges, God's fingerprints are all over the results.
Underneath all of our fears and challenges is a spiritual being, intact and unscathed by anything we go through on this earthly plane. As Father Pierre Teilhard de Chardin once noted: "We are not human beings having occasional spiritual moments; we are spirits having a temporary human experience."
One of my closest and most spiritual friends just expressed to me today the fear she was having over the state of the world. I have to admit that with all the brutality, warlike actions, and frightening plagues besieging us, it's sometimes hard not to fall into the trap of negative thinking and feeling overwhelmed. What's the remedy?
Reverend Jane Beach says to affirm: "I wipe the slate clean of negativity today. I focus on what's right in the world. I look for acts of kindness and read "good news" stories. My conversations are upbeat and I smile!"
On top of that, I'm going to try to remember the words of Rumi: "The flute of the Infinite is played without ceasing, and its sound is love."
Small wonder that he's the most popular and well-read poet in the world!