I’ve been thinking a lot about courage lately. That word seems to pop up randomly in blog posts, quotes, Facebook posts and articles I’m reading. But I’m not a believer in “random” events. I know it’s showing up for a reason. Perhaps to remind me of what I need most in my life right now. But what is courage, really? Where does it come from? What is it made of?
For me, courage is coming home to who I truly am and what I stand for. It’s a remembering. Of what we are when fear is not wrapping her tentacles around our throats. Courage is a quality you inhabit, a window from which you face out into the world and engage with it. Living a life of courage, I think, means never breaking your integrity, staying close to your essence, and fighting for your truths.
I’m starting to learn that it’s not so much about getting rid of my anxiety, but about adding courage into my life. I don’t need to change the broken parts, I simply need to find the fearlessness that has always been inside of me and invite it to the table, for every meal. After all, what is a life without daring to face the reflection in the mirror, boldly? And then, owning it all. The parts we like, the ones we despise. The ones we want to erase. There is tender beauty in saying “I’m scared,” but there is grace in transforming what frightens us into stories of healing.
Courage is made up of every decision we make in service of our highest Self. Every time we say yes to that which makes us better and kinder human beings, our courage grows. Every time we say no to the destructive habits and beliefs that bring us down and break our spirit, our courage is lifted up. We become heroes of our own journey when we choose love over fear, what feels right over what feels good. Courage is not an endpoint we arrive at after years of striving; it is a momentary declaration, a silent prayer, a stubborn refusal to stay imprisoned in our diminishment. It happens always in the present moment of our lives… in an almost imperceptible instant that comes and then vanishes. There isn’t much room to hesitate, we either risk stepping forward into the full expression of our authentic selves, or remain frozen, stuck playing the same old tape over and over.
I have been in that frozen place. Choosing to give in to my anxieties, letting them lead my life. But now, I hear courage calling my name and I want to show up. Say yes to the scary, the intimidating, the unknown. What else am I here for? Comfort and ease have taught me nothing valuable in my life. They have not connected me to my essential nature… to others… or to the magnificent good I’m capable of. They have simply kept me from experiencing life to its fullest – pain, joy and everything in-between.
My friends, Socrates said it best: “The unexamined life is not worth living.”
Indeed. Now, more than ever, I am ready to examine my own. And for that, I will need truckloads of courage. I will paint courage’s colors on my body and wrap myself in its hues. I will sew courage’s wings onto my shoulders that I may soar above the chains that bind me. If it takes me a hundred lifetimes to learn the sweet language of the unabashed warrior, I will come back to earth in one reincarnation after another until I have learned it.
Maybe courage was waiting all along for me to ascend to its call. Show me a soul with courage, and I will emulate it. I will be scared to death and yet, unafraid. For I am here. I am courage. I am finally, home.
What does courage mean to you?
Where in your life can you be more courageous?