I realised/remembered today –
Courage is not about getting rid of our fears and doubts, but acknowledging their existance before doing it anyway.
I think about Kiroo’s experience of doing a bungee jump. I think about every decision I’ve made that has involved following my own life and direction; each one involved varying levels of fears and doubts, which have dogged me right up until I take the jump; and even then can find me again at the bottom.
If we don’t have fears with us then we are not being brave, we are being foolish. Foolishness is not a bad thing, indeed it may well be the start of any journey, and yet it is not enough to sustain us all the way. When the fears and doubts start mounting what do you do? What then of foolish joy and invincibility?
Lately I’ve noticed fears and doubts in myself, but seen them as something to battle and destroy, I get caught in a type of ‘enlightenment trap’ where I am worth nothing till I am rid of my shadow. That until my fears are gone, I am weak and I am immobilised; that until I can convince my doubts they are flawed, the only outcome is failure. I HAVE to get rid of them or I can’t do it.
And thus, I judge myself, feeding the same demon I want to be rid of, that of creeping self-loathing and cowardice.
But! I met with a lady on saturday, and spoke and listened to her for an hour or two. And she gently reminded me what I already know but had forgotten. That those doubts and fears are a valid part of me, they are in some sense how I feel, even if I also feel conviction and courage. They are likely to always be there, in some form.
The path I am taking now has taken and will take courage, in small and big ways. I don’t want to feel too weakened by doubts to cope with the changes. But in seeing what courage is really all about, I realise that I can be as strong as I need to be. That it is part of life to have the doubts, and if I can acknowledge them and see the forms they take I can learn not to be discouraged by their fears – and also to listen to them if I see wisdom in it.
Where does courage come from? My immediate response is the heart. (is this also where fear comes from??)
What gives you courage?
I’m not sure but courage is what gives me the ability to say “yes” to life, no matter what. This includes saying yes to myself
“Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear – not absence of fear. Except a creature be part coward it is not a compliment to say it is brave. ~Mark Twain, Pudd’nhead Wilson’s Calendar, 1894” (I put “courage is” into google and find a whole pile of quotes echoing my thoughts 🙂 )
“Have the courage to live. Anyone can die. ~Robert Cody “