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Our Deepest Fear &

The Invitation

"Our Deepest Fear" by Marianne Williamson (often mistakenly cited as a Nelson Mandela quote) and a poem titled "The Invitation" by Oriah Mountain Dreamer are two of the most inspiring poems available. Even if you've read them before, read them slowly now and breath this inspiring wisdom into the depths of your soul. Consider also sharing this highly inspirational quote and poem with your friends and colleagues. And explore a treasure trove of other highly inspiring resources.

Our Deepest Fear, The Invitation

Our Deepest Fear
By Marianne Williamson

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's 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're liberated from our own fear,
Our presence automatically liberates others.

This inspiring quote is taken from Marianne Williamson's book A Return to Love. Though often quoted as part of Nelson Mandela's moving inaugural speech, "Our Deepest Fear" does not appear in the speech. Marianne Williamson herself has commented on this mistaken attribution. For Marianne's website, click here.

The Invitation
By Oriah Mountain Dreamer

It doesn't interest me what you do for a living.
I want to know what you ache for,
And if you dare to dream of meeting
Your heart's longing.

It doesn't interest me how old you are.
I want to know if you will risk looking like a fool
For love, for your dream,
For the adventure of being alive.

It doesn't interest me what planets are squaring your moon.
I want to know if you have touched the center of your own sorrow,
If you have been opened by life's betrayals,
Or have become shriveled and closed from fear of further pain.

I want to know if you can sit with pain,
Mine or your own,
Without moving
To hide it or fade it or fix it.

I want to know if you can be with joy,
Mine or your own,
If you can dance with wildness and let the ecstasy fill you to the tips of your fingers and toes
Without cautioning us to be careful, be realistic, to remember the limitations of being human.

It doesn't interest me if the story you are telling me is true.
I want to know if you can disappoint another to be true to yourself,
If you can bear the accusation of betrayal and not betray your own soul.
I want to know if you can be faithless and therefore be trustworthy.

I want to know if you can see beauty
Even when it is not pretty every day,
And if you can source your own life
From its presence.

I want to know if you can live with failure,
Yours and mine,
And still stand on the edge of a lake and shout to the silver of the full moon,

It doesn't interest me to know where you live or how much money you have.
I want to know if you can get up after the night of grief and despair,
Weary and bruised to the bone,
And do what needs to be done for the children.

It doesn't interest me who you are, how you came to be here.
I want to know if you will stand
In the center of the fire with me
And not shrink back.

It doesn't interest me where or what or with whom you have studied.
I want to know what sustains you
From the inside
When all else falls away.

I want to know if you can be alone
With yourself,
And if you truly like the company you keep
In the empty moments.

For more on the origin and writer of the inspiring poem, click here.

All the darkness of the world cannot put out the light of a single candle.

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