Fear — Khalil Gibran

Khalil Gibran was a Lebanese poet, writer, and visual artist of the late 1800s and early 1900s. He’s quite well known for his book, The Prophet.

Recently a friend shared this poem by Gibran, FEAR. I suppose one of the things about learning about fear, is that there is always more. I’ve known some of this in my life. The kind of fear that tenses my body. The kind of fear that locks in lizard brain of rather mass contraction.

Gibran’s imagery of the irreversibility of water from stream to ocean, and of becoming ocean — these both inspire me deeply. I would suggest we are all on quite a journey of becoming. Some of that journey is becoming aware of our fears, and if we are lucky, becoming that which we seek. Some of that becoming is individual (I think…, I’m starting to wonder if there is such a thing as “individual”). Some of that becoming is communal — irrepressibly communal, even in the smallest levels of being witnessed by one good friend and listener.

I don’t feel that life is meant to be lived without fear. The appearance of fear isn’t a failure. But like it is for so many complex emotions, our job as humans is often about coming into more awareness and conscious relationship with ourselves, each other, and what we stir in each other.

Enjoy the poem. And the journey, whatever version of it you find yourself on, on a day like today.


Khalil Gibran

It is said that before entering the sea
a river trembles with fear.

She looks back at the path she has traveled,
from the peaks of the mountains,
the long winding road crossing forests and villages.

And in front of her,
she sees an ocean so vast,
that to enter
there seems nothing more than to disappear forever.

But there is no other way.
The river can not go back.

Nobody can go back.
To go back is impossible in existence.

The river needs to take the risk
of entering the ocean
because only then will fear disappear,
because that’s where the river will know
it’s not about disappearing into the ocean,
but of becoming the ocean.

Freed From the Need to Chase


This red rose above is blooming from the bush I planted to honor my Grandmother, Granny Gould, when she died three years ago. Each year since, as early as mid May, red roses like this greet me as I walk up the sidewalk from my carpark to my front door. Their greeting continues through to late September or October where I live. Granny was 95 when she died. She loved roses. Granny was firm, loving, kind, and beautiful. Like this rose. She stood where she was. She did what she could from where she stood. Like this rose.

This morning, I’m thinking about where I stand. I notice in me the way that I often have the feeling of chasing or of needing to chase. Perhaps chasing something outside of myself. Perhaps not trusting that what is within myself is ample and enough. I’m grateful for the conversation I had yesterday with friend, Chris Smyth, in which we wondered together about how this chasing, this do more / be more, has particular intensity in the psychology of men. Both for good and for not so good.

From all of that comes these words this morning.

Freed From The Need To Chase

What if
we were to free ourselves
from the need to chase?

Chasing success.
Chasing protection from failure.
Chasing some other person’s dreams.
Chasing some other version of our selves.
Chasing an unreachable comfort.
Chasing an illusionary security.

What if
this very moment
were completely full
and enough
just as it is?

What if
we were to just settle
into this moment,
this now,
this place that drops
the incessant need for more.

What if
we were completely enough,
just as we are,
in this ever dynamic
of life?


Dare to Be Powerful

One of the things I appreciated from the weekend’s QT gathering was a quote that my friend Karla Reading broad with her. It is from Audre Lorde, the Caribbean-American writer, feminist, and civil rights activist.

“When I dare to be powerful,
to use my strength in the service of my vision,
then it becomes less and less important
whether I am afraid.”

It was a weekend in which one of the important focus areas was coming in to relationship with fear. I continue to learn that there is a time when fear serves me. It builds an important resolve. And then, there is a time, if lucky, when I just forget the fear, and go for it! It’s good to do this with friends.