For many years, I believed this quote was from Nelson Mandela. Just recently, I read that the original quote is from Marianne Williams and Mandela used it in his 1994 inauguration speech. No matter who said it, for me, the message is liberating.
“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.”
Before my first book was published, I wasn’t sure I would ever HAVE a book. I came to a real crisis of identity, a spiritual crisis. I had spent over a decade believing I was meant to be a writer–trusting that the Divine was guiding me.
Writing is where my passion lies. What small talent I may have is a gift from God. My job is to develop the gift as best I can. This is what I believed then and what I believe now. During that time of deep doubt, I came to the realization that publication did not matter. If I was to be a writer, then I would write and it would be for the audience of One. Like a singer who sings for the pleasure of the Great Creator, I would write for that same reason. Mandela’s quote gave me courage to persevere, regardless of the outcome.
Oddly, almost immediately after I let go of the notion that having a book was my ‘verification’ of being a ‘real’ writer, and made the commitment to continue for the audience of One, my first book was picked up by a press in London. A small miracle.
I am a believer in miracles great and small.