“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, and 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 will not 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 is not just in some of us; it is in everyone and as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give others permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” Marianne Williamson
Marianne Williamson made an impact upon the spiritual community when she wrote this quote in her book “A Return to Love”. It is frequently seen quoted among the self help and spiritual community as a means to help us find a path and give us permission to express our authentic self. While I understand the intention and theme of the quote, I have to argue that it is not the fear of being inadequate or the fear of being great that holds us back but the fear of being abandoned. Being abandoned emotionally or physically can mean “life or death” at the deepest levels.
Some people shrink and hide their unique talents and skills out of the fear of being seen. Perhaps somewhere in their history being seen and expressing their needs was not looked upon as acceptable and drew criticism or abuse. In more primitive times, being seen might have been an invitation to be a predator’s meal. Shrinking and hiding can be an adaptive survival behavior in terms of physical and/or emotional safety.
Some people use the spotlight in order to avoid being “invisible”. Perhaps being center stage was their only means of getting attention and having their needs met. Being highly visible can also be an adaptive survival strategy in terms of being emotionally affirmed and not being overlooked in terms of having physical needs met.
It is important to note that some people are innately shy and some are highly expressive, some are meant to be in the spotlight, some are not. Being authentic for one person might mean quietly going about the day while being authentic for another might mean taking center stage. These qualities are all natural and bring diversity to our world.
Today’s Full Moon Lunar Eclipse in Leo wields a massive energy to helps us examine our innate urge to express our authentic selves…to be seen. The full moon in general is an opportune time to examine what needs to be let go of. The eclipse of the moon amplifies the theme and the focus of the full moon cycle. The effects of an eclipse will last for months, so introspection during this time can be very enlightening and useful in terms of self awareness and personal growth.
This particular full moon theme is that of Leo. Leo in astrology represents how we express ourselves..how we choose to be seen. Leo in the light can be highly creative, expressive, playful, fun and expansive. Leo in the shadow can be needy, bossy and narcissistic. Leo is also ruled by the Sun. The Sun, in astrology, represents who we are to become through our life’s journey. So having a lunar eclipse (the earth coming between the sun and the moon) is also amplifying Leo’s need for finding nourishment through self expression…to be nourished as our authentic selves.
This particular full moon also happens to be conjunct the dwarf planet Ceres. Conjunct in astrology means that two or more planets are very close together in terms of degrees of the zodiac. This blends and amplifies the planets’ energies. Ceres, in Greek mythology, was the mother of Persephone and is considered the earth mother. In astrology, the energy of both the moon and Ceres represent what we need to feel loved and nurtured. So, themes around expression (Leo and the Sun), and feeling nourished and loved (Ceres and the Moon) are on the wind.
Being seen and seeing is a key element in how we relate to others and to our surrounding environment. Problems can occur when self expression or the lack thereof is used as a means to feel safe or get our needs met instead of being a way to bring our authentic talents and skills to the world in service. Symptoms of an imbalance here could include but are not limited to health problems, relationship issues, financial issues, depression or anxiety.
On a personal note, self expression for me has been difficult in the past. To be seen and to express a need or opinion feels threatening and I often succumb to an urge to shrink and shapeshift to adapt and management my environment. Today, I awoke to witness the partial eclipse of the moon before the clouds set in and managed to write a list of “let go’s” that filled almost 3 legal pages. My ability to write about these energies doesn’t mean I am not right there with you in the trenches!
So, how do we begin to reflect upon what healthy self expression of our authentic self means? How do we use this full moon to let go of behaviors patterns, fears and beliefs that might be causing difficulty in way we “shine”?
Take some time today to create a ritual of reflection and create a list of “let go’s”. Set intentions and ask your guides and ancestors to assist you with your process. Most importantly, be gentle with yourself. Feel any emotions that might arise and grieve the letting go of things that once might have served you and kept you safe but which are no longer useful.
Here are some questions for reflection to help get you started on your journey toward authentic self expression.
Are you afraid to be seen? Are you afraid not to be seen?
Do you need attention to feel validated and loved?
What archetypes aid you in avoiding or needing excessive attention? Ie…The Victim/Martyr, The Addict, The Servant/Slave, The People Pleaser, The Perfectionist, The Critic
Do you change your behavior to suit your “audience”?
Are you afraid to be alone?
Do you fear being abandoned? Have you been abandoned?
Are you afraid of being criticized or being seen as “wrong” or “bad”
Do you feel pressure to be seen as “special”
Do you think being seen as special is important? What does “special” mean to you?
Are you afraid of physical violence or criticism if you speak your mind or state your needs?
Do you see repeated patterns in relationships that might be cuing you into something you can’t see about yourself?
Are you competitive? Do you feel you need to “one up” someone?
Do you have a tendency to interrupt people?
When asked for an opinion do you try to “read” your audience and give an answer to suit them?
Do you deflect compliments?
Are you overly critical of yourself?
Do you need to perfect your process or image before putting yourself “out there”
Do you feel like you are “enough” just as you are?
Do you worry over imperfections or your appearance?
Are you afraid of being seen as “stupid”?
Do you feel the need to be “the expert”?
Do you follow the rules and work to obey authority?
Are you willing to “color outside the lines?”
Are you afraid to try new things?
Are you afraid to fail?
Do you “dim” in the name of safety and security (includes emotional, physical and financial security)
Remember, be gentle as you reflect upon these questions. There are no right or wrong answers.
Leo also represents courage. Being honest and sincere about our fears, our insecurities and even those things we wish not to admit, takes courage and vulnerability. And, it takes courage to reveal our true selves on our path toward authenticity. When we are authentic, we automatically express our unique talents and skills in service toward the greater whole while creating for ourselves a sense of well being and nourishment.