GNL number 89

a report of doings at meeting #89, Sunday, November 16, 2014

including liturgical items, major themes, and other odds and ends


The only thing we have to fear is fear itself. ~~~Franklin Delano Roosevelt

We gain strength, and courage, and confidence by each experience in which we really stop to look fear in the face….we must do that which we think we cannot. ~~~Eleanor Roosevelt

Love is what we were born with. Fear is what we learned here.~~~Marianne Williamson


Sue, our secretary of word origins and definitions, again researched and reported on the roots of our topic word FEAR. (Check AFTERWORDS for these.) She described herself as always known in her family as one who worries, admitting she tends to get low-grade fears, which she’s learned from teachers like Thich Nhat Hanh to notice as they start to arise, so she can act with that knowledge in a healthy way. She also shared several quotes, including from TNH, and others ranging from Plato to Jim Morrison. (See AW for these too.)

Louise thought of worrying as not necessarily fear so much as being concerned, possibly in a useful way. She spoke of not having much personal fear, having learned to live with potential danger in her years teaching in NYC. She described her major worry about the prevailing toxic food situation. She noted relative to that worry, that several young people who’d worked with her had serious, often chronic ailments, and wondered if this was a trend in this generation.

Rob, here for the first time, also spoke of his fear for the country/world/species as our sick economic and socio-political system fails to face climate crisis, and of our need to evolve. And he too had noticed among his generation many who had these kinds of health issues (causing us to wonder if this is the food, other toxins, climate change, high-speed, overloading culture, all of the above). And he spoke of his personal brief work with a therapist as helpful in handling ego fears.

Ann picked up on the ego point, believing we need healthy development of the ego/self rather than trying to banish ego as some eastern religions seem to preach. And she spoke of how working together in community can provide answers to individual fears and needs as well as accomplish things. She also brought us several good quotes, from several sources, especially Mark Twain. (See AW for all.)

When asked her thoughts on Fear, Anna wisecracked, “Wait, I’m unprepared: Don’t scare me!” She said she still marveled remembering herself as a very insecure young adult who somehow did those several months of cross-country traveling by herself. And we again noted how apparently her spirit loved adventure enough to find the courage needed. As for personal fears now — not. Still enjoying her critters.

Nancy said low-grade fear had long been a factor in her life, that comes up almost daily in subtle ways, like putting off things an old part of her fears she can’t do, and mindless moving through multiple tasks, probably more than ever since the move to a new home. She read some quotes that reflect her belief that facing fears as they arise can free us. She added how much more aware she’s been recently that fear is behind almost all the world’s woes. For more on this and her quotes, see AW.

We decided to send today’s offering to the annual Empty Bowls event held this day in Cobleskill to support local food banks.


Nothing in life is to be feared. It is only to be understood. ~~~Marie Curie

Ultimately we know deeply that the other side of every fear is freedom. ~~~Marilyn Ferguson


Sunday, December 14, 2014 (1030), at Nancy’s house, 110 Parkway Drive, Cobleskill. The topic is SIGNS (obviously this one could go a lot of places).


from Sue

Here’s a summary of the definitions/word origin I read out, and the quotations.
fear (v.) “to terrify, frighten,” from a Proto-Germanic verbal form of the root of fear (n.). Old Saxon faron “to lie in wait,” Middle Dutch vaeren “to fear,” Old High German faren “to plot against,” Old Norse færa “to taunt.” “causing fear,” from fear (n.) + -ful. Meaning “full of fear, timid” (now less common) also from mid-14c Old English fær “calamity, sudden danger, peril, sudden attack,” from Proto-Germanic *feraz “danger” (cognates: Old Saxon far “ambush,” Old Norse far “harm, distress, deception,” Dutch gevaar, German Gefahr “danger”), from PIE *per- “to try, risk,” a form of verbal root *per- (3) “to lead, pass over” (cognates: Latin periculum “trial, risk, danger;” Greek peria “trial, attempt, experience,” Old Irish aire “vigilance,” Gothic ferja “watcher”); (PIE = Proto Indo-European)

“The common radical of all these terms is the Indo-European root Per, “to pass through, to travel, to fare. ~~~Alex F. Chamberlain, “In the words for “Fear” in Certain Languages, A study in Linguistic Psychology

Fear on the Health Journey by Danny VanLleeuwen. “Fear – an unwelcome, yet familiar, occasional companion on the health journey. A sinking feeling in the pit of your stomach. Your mind racing, reliving dreaded possibilities. Anxious panting with dreams of careening out of control. What helps? A certain companion, prayer, a drug, meditation, comedy, music, time. ….The human condition contains fear – it’s inevitable. Knowing what works and what doesn’t when scared is more likely needed than your blood type or diagnoses. Why doesn’t the health team routinely keep track of this? It should be on a card in your wallet.”

“Fear keeps us focused on the past or worried about the future. If we can acknowledge our fear, we can realize that right now we are okay. Right now, today, we are still alive, and our bodies are working marvelously. Our eyes can still see the beautiful sky. Our ears can still hear the voices of our loved ones.” ~~~Thich Nhat Hanh

“We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark; the real tragedy of life is when men are afraid of the light.” ~~~Plato

“We fear violence less than our own feelings. Personal, private, solitary pain is more terrifying than what anyone else can inflict.” ~~~Jim Morrison

“I have learned over the years that when one’s mind is made up, this diminishes fear; knowing what must be done does away with fear.” ~~~Rosa Parks

“Hate is the consequence of fear; we fear something before we hate it; a child who fears noises becomes a man who hates noise. ~~~Cyril Connolly

“A life lived in fear is a life half-lived.” ~~~Baz Luhrman, Strictly Ballroom

I was talking to Rob after our very rich CofS discussion yesterday and said I’d look up a couple of quotations that occurred to me as we talked about how to face the formidable array of difficulties we all agreed that we see when we consider our global human condition with all its suffering and the many barriers we see to decreasing suffering and increasing planetary, species, and human well-being. It’s when I feel most fearful, discouraged and helpless in the face of difficulties that I call on these. The Lourde is on a index card yellowed with age that’s taped to the cupboard visible just behind my computer screen. I ought to add the Rabbi Tarfon statement to that one.

“I must be content to see how really little I can do, and still do it with an open heart.” ~~~Audre Lourde, The Cancer Journals, p.11

“It is not incumbent upon you to complete the work, but neither are you at liberty to desist from it” (Avot 2:21) attributed to Rabbi Tarfon. from the Pirke Avot, Ethics of the Fathers (scroll down to Well-Known Sayings)

from Ann

The fear of death follows from the fear of life. A man who lives fully is prepared to die at any time. ~~~Mark Twain

Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear, not absence of fear. ~~~Mark Twain

It is curious that physical courage should be so common in the world and moral courage so rare. ~~~Mark Twain

God made the Idiot for practice, and then He made the School Board. ~~~Mark Twain

Never be afraid to sit a while and think. ~~~Lorraine Hansberry

Perhaps we don’t need these religious concoctions to pillow the fear of death. Just the fact that there is an unknown, and something greater, can bring a feeling of peace. That’s enough for me. ~~~Brad Pitt

from Nancy

First, a thought-note: At this urgent point in history, we can’t afford all the unfaced fears, and must learn to stay open enough to see where those also scared Others—brothers—are coming from. Just as violence can’t be overcome with violence, fears at the base of it will not be disarmed by more fear. As Rob said, We have to evolve.

And quotes:

Perhaps it’s the belief that we shouldn’t have any problems, any discomfort, any pain, that makes modern life so distressing. Life doesn’t match our image of how it should be, and we conclude life itself is wrong. We relate to everything from the narrow, fearful perspective of “I want” — and what we want is to feel good. When our emotional distress does not feel good, we recoil from it, and the resulting discomfort generates fear, then fear creates even more distress, and distress becomes our enemy, something to be rid of. Let us instead examine our basic requirement that life should be comfortable. This one assumption causes all of us endless difficulties. ~~~Buddhist teacher Ezra Bayda

Becoming aware of how often we relate from self-protection is a step out of the prison of fear. ~~~E.B.

Liberation from fear is not about becoming fearless; it’s about seeing that fear is not the deepest truth about who we are. ~~~E.B.

When we can willingly stay with the experience of fear, without suppressing it, wallowing in it, or judging it, our awareness becomes a wider container, the stillness within which the energy of fear — its thoughts and sensations — can move through us and transform. ~~~E.B.

Everyone feels fear. But giving in to fear is what makes our lives narrow and dark. Fear-based action is the source of all conflict; fearful response, the root of all sorrow. Fear is what prevents intimacy and undermines love. But we’re often not aware of how fear drives so much of what we do. There is often fear behind what we call kindness, fear in ambition, in depression, and always, fear in anger. Every time we give in to fear we lose our life. In fear we imagine a terrible future and in this imagining we create a terrible present. We bring upon ourselves the very misery that we are desperately trying to push away. The secret of living with fearful feelings is saying Yes to the objects of fear, not being swallowed by them, but welcoming them as invitations to move toward freedom. ~~~E.B.

What is needed, rather than running away or controlling or suppressing or any other resistance, is understanding fear; that means, watch it, learn about it, come directly into contact with it. We are to learn about fear, not how to escape from it. ~~~Jiddu Krishnamurti

He who fears he will suffer, already suffers because of his fear. ~~~Montaigne


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