As I began to write this blog on courage, I paused and curiously wondered – what is courage to our community?
I did not know, so I asked. And boy-oh-boy did ya’ll answer.
I am awed by your responses which are full of beauty and honesty, but mostly by your strength when you are at your weakest. That is courage. You are courage. Thank you for allowing me to see the world through your eyes. <<i bow to each of you>>
Following are your voices of courage, from around the globe.
My moment of courage came when I faced the barrel of a gun, as a young man. ~utah
I was going away to law school with no friends, no family, no real plan and no idea what I was getting myself into. I just knew I wanted out of Utah, wanted experiences, exposure to others cultures, races and religions, I wanted more for my future. A devils advocate might say I was running from myself and the crazy messed up shit that was my upbringing. It was still there and surfaced later when I learned my little sister had been molested also. But for awhile, I was normal and new, and free to choose to be whomever I wanted. ~japan
When the plane door opened and it was time to skydive, courage was simply moving with my fear. ~virginia
The root of the word courage is cor, the Latin word for heart. One of the ways I practice courage is being heart centered and applying the principles I learn from my yoga practice in all areas of my life. It’s fairly easy for me to be loving and non-violent when I am on my mat or meditation cushion, however, it is truly a courageous act for me to be rooted in my heart through life’s challenges. For example: when my kids are screaming, or when I am not getting what I want. To me courage isn’t a one time act, it is showing up to life each moment and practice being heart centered through it all. ~utah
Courage, in this very moment, for me: embodied, palpable faith that greater forces of wisdom, grace, kindness, and love are at work in those who surrender to these higher sources, and during the most arduous, uncertain, and fearful of times. ~california
I get up in the morning and decide to try again, for another day. ~utah
For me, courage, is in that moment when someone is yelling at me, projecting onto me untrue things, trying to dump their negativity onto me; I feel a warmth, a center-ness, come over me, and I say: That is not mine and I will not own it. In that second, I know, that is the truth. It is not mine, and I do not have to carry it. ~texas
When I was in the hospital and did not know my fate… ~utah
I feel like I am courageous everyday because life has always been scary for me. I grew up in a small town that was abusive and eager to bring me down by finding any fault they could. That experience still affects my decisions today, and I realize I felt ashamed about things that I didn’t need to. And I’m naturally timid, so I have had to learn to do things that scare me so I can learn how to handle fear: riding a four wheeler with my husband driving, cliff jumping, rock climbing. ~utah
I show courage when I do not bow down to people‘s political pressure to lie on their behalf. ~utah
I felt really brave when I went and got my tattoo. It might sound silly but it’s something that I really wanted to do but my anxiety made me second guess myself and I was so afraid. I was really proud of myself for standing up to that fear and going through with it! ~utah
I grew up with an intense fear of any medical procedure that involved needles. Beginning with my kindergarten immunizations, I developed a pattern of fainting in response to any time a needle was used on me. When my mother was suddenly scheduled for surgery to remove a tumor discovered on her uterus, I knew she might need to be given blood and my blood type was compatible so I wrangled up all the courage I could access and voluntarily offered to give blood for her benefit. Given my phobia, that was an act of tremendous courage and love. ~virginia
Courage for me is often simply doing the daily rituals in my life like exercise, study of scripture, prayer, and meditation when I don’t feel like it.Courage has also been confronting criticisms either by me or given me by others and then making the fearsome and sometimes public recompenses required to truly change.It has taken some courage, but not as much as the prior two examples, to run 100-mile races in the mountains. ~utah
I was in 6-7th grade. During science class, a voice came over the PA system announcing that as a school we would stand and recite the Pledge of Allegiance. I don’t remember what grade I was in when a daily recitation of the Pledge stopped being part of the routine but I don’t think we had recited it at all in this grade. Anyway, I remember going over the Pledge in my head as the voice continued from the speaker. I became nervous. I didn’t think I could say those words. Not because I was anti-American or rebellious or anything. I was one of the kids who obeyed the rules, participated in class, did the homework and got good grades. But, as I mentally reviewed the Pledge with a somewhat more mature mind than I had had in grade school, I realized that there was a lot contained in those words. And I didn’t know if I believed them or could commit to them.
My science teacher, Mr. Barlow, looked surprised when I didn’t rise. He questioned me, I answered. I don’t remember the exchange but remember it ending with me nervously saying, “Because I haven’t thought about it.” Meaning the Pledge, and the statements contained therein.
I was relieved when Mr. Barlow appeared puzzled but not upset and allowed me to sit out the recitation. As I sat there listening to my classmates, I felt surrounded. And I worried about what might be said to me after class. But, as far as I can remember, no one said anything about it. So, maybe not so courageous after all.
And as for me…what is courage to me? Well, I am so touched by the stories shared here that I want to let them settle into my/our bones – and begin to understand the many facets of courage.
Thoughtful ~ Facets of Courage
Following are a few thoughtful questions concerning courage:
- What does courage look like to me: in myself? in others?
- What does courage feel like within myself?
- Does my current belief of courage limit what is courageous?
- Are there facets of courage others show, which I have not considered?
- Are there times when I have acted/felt courageous and been seen as weak/foolish? Did this affect my behavior the next time a similar situation arose?
- Are there times when others acted/felt courageous and I viewed them as weak/foolish? Why did I view them in this manner? Would I do so today?
Thoughtfulness within Community
August 3rd is the first Thursday of the month so we will be fasting as individuals, within community – and we will be thoughtful about ways in which we/others are courageous that we have not previously seen/accepted as courageous.
There are a few members of our community who are in very difficult spaces, if you feel inclined, please send loving kindness to those who are hurting, during your 24 hour fast.
There are a growing number of us participating in the monthly fasting so if you are new to fasting, know that there are others alongside you that you just haven’t met, yet! There may be a potluck to the end of our fasting next month, if interested, please email your interest using the contact form. For more on the how/why of Fasting, please read here.