When I (Sergio) was at Wits in the 70s I remember being amazed at what one lecturer told us one rainy day. He explained that raindrops falling on the North side of our roof flowed down into the Braamfontein spruit, on into the Jukskei River, then into the Limpopo River, around the (then) Transvaal, through Mozambique, and ended up in the Indian Ocean. But the rain that fell on the South side of the roof flowed down into the Vaal River, on into the Orange River and ended up in the Atlantic Ocean. Two very different destinations! I hadn’t remembered it since then and the Holy Spirit just brought it to mind again in our choices around fear.
Like the raindrops that fall on the watershed on which Wits University is built will end up eventually either in the Atlantic or Indian Oceans, so too, the relatively small shifts we choose to make around our fear will take us to very different places.
We’re all too familiar with the negative oceans of fear we can land up in. None of us enjoys the fear that separates and alienates us, that causes us to withdraw and be suspicious of others, that makes us blame and doubt ourselves and others, and which hampers our creativity. The same fear that paralyses us, if managed and contained appropriately, can develop into intuition through which we can discern the way ahead, and brings us connection both with ourselves and others.
Fear itself isn’t the problem, but it’s how we’ve disempowered ourselves and developed habitual and set patterns around fear that is the issue. We can continue responding as we always have, just leaving our subconscious to make the decisions – but we’ve abandoned our choice. Also, it won’t work just to try to dismantle all our built up fear in one go. This is a sure way to make it increase. We need to start in small ways to change our way of doing things. As we begin gently to create a new habit around our fear, and begin with small steps to move out of our closed up spaces, we’ll be encouraged to risk more. For we’ll discover that in the very small differences in our choices we are shifting our behaviour into something that empowers us – and lands us eventually in very different places.