The opposite of fear is neither fear nor courage, it is abundance.
Fear is like a flower closing its petals. Courage is still trembling, still closed, still fearful.
But a fully open flower, blooming, fully knowing that a day later, a week later it will be dead, is throwing oneself into the whole big beautiful world, and living life with abandon. With wonder. With gusto. With dance.
When you look at your life, look at the people you know, you rarely, if ever, see anyone like that.
Yesterday’s article bore the title that was a saying of Meryl Streep. And actor whose whole visible life is an example of the dance of coloring outside of the lines.
In one interview she says: You have complete freedom while the cameras are rolling… you get to go where you want to take your character.
I am paraphrasing what she said… But that is an enchanting sentence. Hinting on the “this side” and on the infinite…
The “this side” is strict, formulaic, and you are the actress and the director is the director… you are locked in the script, and locked out of freedom. When you look, every actor is a puppet, they bring nothing to the role, they say the words on the script. That is nearly all you see, all I see, when I look around.
That is fear, that is scarcity.
What I like about Meryl Streep most, of course, is what we share. I once saw a movie, Keeping the Faith (2000) where he plays several roles, including a rabbi… And she plays. Not “acts”, plays.
She likes to play with her face, likes to play with her voice… and me too.
The opposite of the stinginess that rules the world nowadays is playfulness. If I could not be playful, I probably would hate my life…
When you look at your life, you color inside the lines, some way inside… and even if you consider yourself rebellious, your rebellious is a character inside the character: no abundance in it.
My observation of you: what are the things you do to bring abundance about?
There is abundance within, and abundance without.
If you put a ball into a pinball machine… do you think if there are more pins, the ball experiences more abundance?
Abundance without is irrelevant to the ball… the experience of abundance comes from abundance within.
Consumer society indoctrinated you that the more toys you get to play with the more abundant you are.
But when I look back at childhood, the toys were just tools to the imagination, the vigor, the experimentation.
My favorite activities were all dangerous. Climbing trees, stealing fruits, completing who can find the fastest routes to the grocery store through the backyards of angry home owners, sitting on the handlebar of a bicycle that didn’t belong to me, and I could not ride.
Jumping off the highest trampoline into the pool. Collecting shells by the lake. Swimming upstream in the river. Reading by flash light under the cover.
Always on the borderline of fear and exhilaration.
I was a Jewish girl from an intellectual household… I put an awful lot of stock into exploring the world through my body… Ballet, violin, the guitar… singing. I swam, I competed on the uneven bars, I competed in ping pong, tennis. Anything but running or throwing balls. Top heavy, with damaged hips.
This was, probably, why I loved physics… physics that is probably not taught in the United States, because none of my students understand how the world really works. Physics is the ultimate sensory science… Exhilarating.
Reading… a whole body immersion experience.
I watch you as you hope that tools from the outside can free you from the prison you are in.
If you live in a cave, and crave to live in the light… do you go out, or do you stay in. In the stiffness and the unfeeling hell. Life happens outside of the cave…
It’s a real question, and you’ll probably answer: I’d go out. But these are words that don’t describe what you do. I am watching you! You stay in and decorate your cave. And buy toys. And audios. And fancy food. Fancy cars… But none of those will ever give you living in the light.
YOU HAVE TO GO OUTSIDE, and risk skinning your knees, breaking some bones, falling flat on your face… the fear and the exhilaration.
As an adult, you probably won’t climb trees, and ride on the handlebar…
I don’t. And yet my life is almost as exciting as it was when I was a kid. Now.
It wasn’t for the 50-60 years in between now and childhood.
As the world without shrank in its “abundance”, my world within got richer.
Another line of demarcation was with the discovery that all food is toxic for most people… but you have a bunch of foods your ancestors learned to counter and thrive with.
I have stopped living under the tyranny of my taste buds, under the tyranny of having to have variety, and rich tastes, and such.
I enjoy the food I eat now fully, and my world is bigger and more abundant for it.