"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 is 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 light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from all our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others. (Marianne Williamson)
I know that we are all busy people with many things to achieve today but I want you to read those words again. And then I want you to breathe deeply and read them again. Slowly. If you are a person of faith, the references to God will no doubt assist you in your understanding. If, like me, you are not, I don't think those two sentences impede understanding or make the message less pertinent.
Now, those of you who have read any of my previous blogs are thinking, 'Right, where's the meat? Who is he attacking today? The press? The BBC? Labour?' The fact is, though, that the Marianne Williamson quote above is today's 'meat'. You might even want to read it again before we think about what it means for us all in our own lives; at this time; in Scotland.
We are all born without fear and without limit on our capabilities. Those two things (amongst others) are programmed into us. Knowingly, at one level. But unknowingly by many others - parents, family, friends, teachers. By 'society'.
This feeling of inadequacy though is amongst the most limiting and destructive emotions we can feel. And we all do to varying degrees. Who among us hasn't felt inadequacy at one time or another - as a parent or child; husband or wife; brother or sister; friend; student; employee or employer?
Who among us has never felt inadequate as a member of our wider society? When fear has stopped us intervening in a situation over concerns about our own safety? When we have kept silent about our true feelings to fit in or keep the peace? When we have gone with the crowd rather than shown the courage to stand out from it?
Let me be clear. I have felt and done all of those things, so I am not casting stones.
We are all on our own journeys and, I believe, one of our biggest challenges is to throw off these limitations that have been 'taught' to us. One of the major steps on that journey is to leave any feeling of inadequacy behind.
Some of us are doing just that. The battle raging in this country about independence is all about limitation and inadequacy.
Those who would counsel that we don't take that step are still controlled by the fear of their 'darkness'. They see limitations and they would impose those limitations on the rest of us. Those of us who are determined to end the limitation still have our own battle to fight however. We are still in fear of our 'light', still afraid of how powerful we can be although we are, perhaps, beginning to grasp the possibilities. We're not there yet because we haven't carried everyone with us. We haven't released the others from their fear, from their feelings of inadequacy. And we must. It is our duty.
We must help them see what we see. A nation where we can respect ourselves and others. A nation in which we can respect our institutions because we created them. How uplifting will it feel to know that something is uniquely ours, created by our collective wills? A society that is crafted in the way we desire - strong, cohesive, inclusive, supportive, constructive and dynamic? How different will that feel for all of us?
I know it is difficult to do but we must continue to be as positive as possible. Even as we counter the arguments of others, we must strive to express ourselves in positive ways. We are surrounded by a negativity borne of inadequacy and fear but as we start to conquer our own we will liberate others from theirs. Remember, our 'opponents' are meant to 'shine' too; they are also 'brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous'.
It is 'our' Scotland. It is our task to make it 'their' Scotland too.