—Yoko Ono 

Should you really open your eyes and see, you would behold your image in all images. And should you open your ears and listen, you would hear your own voice in all voices. -Khalil Gibran

Should you really open your eyes and see, you would behold your image in all images. And should you open your ears and listen, you would hear your own voice in all voices. -Khalil Gibran

Thank you for taking the time to write all of that. You don't know how much that means to me. I needed to hear all of that because I have been doubting the decisions that I want to make because I live with so much fear of what others think of me. It's so interesting bc I too tried to convert to Islam and I have The Secret. For the last year I have been interested in the cosmos, meditation, & the Moorish etc. I am so scared that as a Nigerian American I will disappoint my family by being me. —by Anonymous

I’ve been realizing something. I am not that old. I haven’t been on this earth for too long. In my time here, I haven’t found anything as poisonous and as dangerous as fear. At a point in my life, it crippled me. Even now, although I do many intentional things to push against that feeling, I find myself realizing how much bigger I could be if I retired it… did away with it completely. I spend a lot of time being afraid. I think fear is good. It does a lot for us. It keeps us humble and human. But if we let our fear be a measuring stick, or the parameter we set up for ourselves… a line we dare not let ourselves cross… what would we ever do? People are so afraid of everything. Keep your windows closed, don’t talk to anyone, don’t look at anyone, don’t deviate from the road the people before you have taken, don’t talk to strangers, don’t travel because it’s dangerous, don’t go anywhere alone… The list goes on. I mean, it makes sense sometimes. You probably should be afraid of jumping off of a plane… that seems a little risky to me. However, I don’t think most of the fear we have is rational.

Our brains are built to make associations, so for one I find myself being very careful about the kind of information I allow into my subconscious. I  make sure I watch/look at things that are uplifting and inspire me. I surround myself with people I want to be like. Folk that reflect the vision I have for myself. People who are as brave as I wish to be. If you spend time with people who are always anxious, you will be anxious too. If you are around people who never travel, even if you want to be a traveler and are curious about the world, it is likely that you won’t go too many places. If you absorb your news from a source which paints this vast, incredible world as a place filled with nothing but sickness and death and poverty…. it is likely that your life will be a reflection of that world you are shown you live in.

I am afraid of people sometimes. I still reach out to strangers. I am afraid of leaving my house at times and interacting with people I don’t know. I chose to work a job that is two hours away and which is based on interaction. I am afraid of being embarrassed/not being good at something. I can’t dance and that is one of those areas where I’m like although this is fun, I don’t want people to see me doing it. So at my job, which is a music school, when my kids have choreography to learn, I do it with them. And it is scary. And I judge myself. But most of the time when it is over I’m glad that I tried and I had fun. Sometimes I am afraid of my life choices too, because I was raised in a culture of fear. The reason I had to be Christian is that God is going to burn me in hell for the rest of forever if I was anything elsse. I realized it was my only reason. I decided that was not enough for me and went to look for something better. Sometimes I’m like what if I’m wrong? Then I will burn in hell. Which seems a little ridiculous to me, considering everything I have to offer this world and those in my life. But sometimes that wrath and the fear creeps back in and it’s scary. I was lying to myself for a long time. I am tired of lying. I am doing my best and I guess I will deal with that when I get there.

All of this to say. You are here to be the best you. Your family brought you into this world but you are not theirs to claim. When you are laid to rest, it won’t matter if you made them happy, although yes, we all wish we could do that. We all wish to be our unapologetic selves and be accepted without question. I think it will matter more whether or not you were true to the highest expression of yourself. If you did your best to create that person. If you are satisfied. If perhaps you find that you went down a path and no longer want to walk down it anymore, you can return. Every day you can start new. If you begin, and one day it don’t feel right, you can stop. You can start something else. Be something else. But don’t be afraid to choose. And don’t allow fear to inform your choices.

Instead, what makes you blissful. What makes you excited to wake up in the morning. What makes you feel like the life you’re living is purposeful? Do that. Make choices in that space. It’s hard. I am learning how, too. My room is a mess. I want to see the world and I don’t have a passport. I want to leave New York one day but I have never lived anywhere else. I don’t think I want to finish college right now and I am afraid of what that means for my future. But I don’t want to choose from a space of lack. I don’t want to live in comparison to anyone. I want to be what I am. What feels right in my skin. And I want to forgive myself for the decisions I made out of fear. Those were usually the worst ones. Fear teaches us, but it is not the only way to learn. Love teaches, too. Kindness teaches, too. So does curiosity… stepping into the unknown. There are so many ways to learn what you can learn here. You can choose.

You are truly beautiful. God bless you abundantly. Your blog humble me. I've written a weekly to do. Like the small things like helping someone. Smiling. Taking care of my hair etc.. all inspired by vishuddha :). —by Anonymous

I sincerely thank you. I am glad that my being visible in this space does something for people. I often question the point of participating in social media. I have decided that if I can be an example of what is possible for someone or if I can make a person do something they wouldn’t normally think to do.. and if any of those things help make their living a little easier, then I am happy to be here.

Lately;

Lately;

Hi Thanks for answering my question about spirituality. I don't follow a religion but I too have been collecting different holy books and I want to read and learn from all of them. I have always been interested in different cultures and religions. I am very inspired by creative, artistic, and open minded individuals such as yourself & I wish to be more creative too. I am just afraid that if I follow this path that my family & friends will view me differently or negatively. —by Anonymous

So I have a lot to say on this because you are speaking my life. I am an ex-catholic school attending black girl from the Bronx. Very narrow horizons. In order to respect other peoples views, I am going to put my response in the other half of this message. 

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What religion do you follow? or what does your spirituality consist of? —by Anonymous

I don’t follow any religion in particular, although who knows… that may change. This doesn’t mean that I am faithless… rather that I am bursting at the seams with faith. Overwhelmed with all the shapes it takes inside my being. I absorb what feels right and i integrate it all. Personally, I find reading to be an important part of my spiritual practice, so I read many of the acclaimed ‘holy’ books. The Tao Te Ching, the Bible, the Quran, The Bhagavad Gita. I read all of it. I take it all in. I am also an avid learner and do lots of historical research. Learn about what my lineage is. What my ancestors believed, as they are part of my being here and should be acknowledged. I keep the most honest parts. The things that ring true to me. I hold them sacred. I think it’s important to be informed. I believe in devouring it all, and then choosing from a more knowledgeable place. If you are a Christian, read the whole Bible. If you are a Muslim, read the whole Quran. If you’re like me, read all of it. Then choose. Or keep on with your choice. Feel free to message me if you want to talk more in depth. I am open. Also, sorry. I don’t know how long this has been in my inbox. I don’t check this space too often, although that may change.

—Khalil Gibran