“Fearlessness is the first requisite of spirituality. Cowards can never be moral.”
― Mahatma Gandhi
To me, fearlessness means anything except a state of being without fear. It reminds me of the word “restive,” which also seems to contradict itself with its unrestful meaning. To be fearless surely means being full of fear, but finding ways to overcome and work with your fears, even when that means on some days simply putting one foot in front of another, or looking someone in the eyes and saying something true. It seems wise to me to be fearful, as long as you’re willing to do the work of being fearless.
I know the times I’ve been most afraid are often the times that I’ve felt most called to be fearless enough to take those leaps of faith that moved my life forward in hopeful and unexpected ways. I certainly have my cowardly moments, and surely fall short of Mahatma Gandhi’s words above, but I do know what it feels like to break free of fear’s bonds. And I know it’s something you choose to do, with your eyes wide open.
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I’ve lived with Bach’s “Goldberg Variations” for a long time now. More than half my lifetime. I would pull them out periodically, feeling that I was revisiting an old friend, but a friend who always has something new to share. I began thinking about Bach and mindfulness last year in a way that meant something to me. Each variation became linked in my mind with a word and that word became something like the “intention” that yoga students are sometimes asked to set for their practice. A word to mediate on and to help draw more from within. For the next 32 weeks I will post one of the variations and write about the word I associated with the music. Sometimes a connection will seem obvious, but more often it will be unexplainable. It became apparent as I worked on this project that I thought about things which I wanted to cultivate in myself, ways of being in the world that were positive. All of the recordings are to be made in my living room, playing the 9 foot Steinway that was gifted to me on January 5, 2016.