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afearfacedJanuary 6 is the traditional feast of the Epiphany but the liturgical calendar – like the “secular” one – is now fond of moving feasts to a more convenient time, in this case a Sunday. So more about that tomorrow. For now I want to borrow a message from Alan Cohen’s book, A Deep Breath of Life, that seems to me a good reflection on how to proceed in this new year.

Fear tells us that we are small, powerless and separate. Love affirms that we are great, creative, and connected. Which voice do you choose to be your guide?

The way to dissolve a limit is to step right up to it and look it in the eye. When we shine the light on the darkness, we see that the thing we ran from had power over us only as long as we kept it at a distance. When we face what frightens us, we discover that we are bigger than it is. We can do anything we choose; we were not born to live in fear, but in love.

Sometimes all it takes is a step toward a trusted friend who will listen to us. If that seems too difficult, I suggest starting with food – no kidding. Eat a vegetable that you’ve never tried that you can’t imagine liking. Even if you find it distasteful, you probably won’t die from it! (If you already love every vegetable available, try some tofu or guacamole: something foreign to your taste buds). Then stand up and walk a short distance, imagining that you are on the edge of a precipice. Don’t look at your feet; just feel each step and know that you will be able to keep walking without falling over the edge. When you’ve concluded those two exercises, find your friend and give her/him the privilege of listening to you!

Coincidentally, you will probably come to understand the meaning of the word epiphany!