What do you do? Take 1

Nancy Ann Mathys Thurston

Nancy Ann Mathys Thurston

I used to hate that question. I’ve rarely had a simple answer. Physical Therapist worked for a decade. Mother. Retreat Leader. Board Member. None of those sounded normal and solid enough to be a “real” answer.

I could have said I was a novice spiritual revolutionary, but that never occurred to me in my younger years. Or activist-from-the-heart in training. Or spiritual seeker. Or visionary.

But I was milder then, trying hard to navigate being a nice, normal girl when I was so much more. Trying to understand the connections I saw all around me while navigating the explosive steam of compassion and justice that hissed around inside of me.

Since I turned 50, I’ve been trying to walk right into the middle of Marianne Williamson’s challenge,

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”*

Courage is not conquering fear. I am still afraid. But I walk forward anyway. Boldness today is needed to serve our world for today and tomorrow.

“What do I do?” you might ask.

I am a stretcher of the boundaries. A catalyst. An awakener. A fire starter. A revolutionary. Warrior from the heart. Pioneer. Leader. Minister. Priestess. A root healer. A social activist seeking to change consciousness. A connector.

And I am only one of many.

What do you do?

Remember, playing it small doesn’t serve any of us. Be bold, even when your knees shake or part of you cowers at your audacity.

Future generations are waiting to see how bold we are willing to be.

*Marianne Williamson, A Return To Love: Reflections on the Principles of A Course in Miracles, pages 190-191.

4 thoughts on “What do you do? Take 1

  1. This is wonderful, Nancy.What do you do is just a way to ask about roles you’ve had, not who you are. But I heard an enlightening comment from former Brit Andrew Sullivan who feels that “What do you do?” is much preferable to the English, “Where are you from.”

  2. So many angles to all of the questions. Where are you from? can be asked form the Southern (or I assume English) perspective of seeing where you fit in the social order–ie are you one of us or are you from somewhere else? Or it can be a way to know where on this earth you came from,a fascinating way to remind us of our connection to the planet and to place. Then the other question, What do you do?, could be and inquiry into some of the fascinating roles we’ve played and things we’ve done or a litmus test to see if you are doing anything productive (the latter, of course, was my fear of that question).

  3. ACK! Love this post! It has been on my mind to write a similar post titled “I am awesome.” We do fear our own success. Thanks for posting!

  4. I used to believe (and, if I’m honest, the belief still lurks in my brain) that speaking of our awesomeness or success is synonymous with arrogance. But there is a third option of holding it all lightly and yet stepping forward with confidence and clarity.

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