Several years ago, I walked on 1200 degree hot coals. I was participating in a Fire Walk in Vermont with 20 other people. When I shared my experience with people, many of them said, “You are so brave, what courage that must have taken.” Yet, to me, it was not about being
courageous, rather it was about being so connected to Spirit that I could go beyond my old limiting concepts and move into an expanded state of being.
That started me thinking about courage. The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language says that courage is “The state or quality of mind or spirit that enables one to face danger, fear, or vicissitudes with self-possession, confidence,
and resolution; bravery.” It also comes from the word couer which means heart.
How do we move into the state or quality of mind and spirit that allows us to face our fears? What allows someone to fight a wild bear? Jump off a cliff? Speak in front of 100 people, go back to work after 25 years of being a stay-at-home parent?
What gives us the courage to stand up for ourselves and speak our truth to the world?
There is a line in the song “the rose” that speaks to this, "The soul afraid of dying that never learns to live.”
When the desire to move forward and change is more powerful than our desire for “safety” than we miraculously gain the resources we need to courageously take a leap. It is like spirit has reached down and given us a hand to hold on to.
The key to courage is having a clear vision of where you are going. The details matter less than the essence. When I can feel the new unfolding, I have more momentum and use the excitement to propel me forward.
The second part is acknowledging your inner and outer resources. What have you done more than once that worked? What did it take to accomplish that goal? For me, it always comes down to my connection with spirit. When I take the time to be still and
really listen, I am always given what I need. Then, miraculously, the perfect people come in to give me support, the perfect opportunities arise, and I can feel the excitement and challenges of the new being birthed. Sometimes it scares me, but I have learned that an old
young part of me always gets terrified when I am about to make a leap.
As we move forward, we need to respect the scared “inner child” and know that it is the capable adult that is going to move into the new and unknown. My inner child does not teach classes or lecture to hundreds or thousands of people. I have learned
to take care of her and leave her home when I venture into uncharted territory.
The last ingredient for gaining courage is compassion. Patricia Sun once said, “You have to have compassion for your own resistance.” It is hard not to have courage when you are beating yourself up for being afraid. As we learn to be gentle with
ourselves, we gain true strength and have the resources we need to be spiritual warriors.
For inspiration, I recommend a great little book called “The Little Book of Courage” by Barbara Lewis Marco.
Courage has nothing to do with being afraid. It is the ability we all have to move forward into the unknown uncharted territory of our lives. It is the heart willing to love and dance.
Copyright © 2006 Barbara Biziou. All Rights
Barbara Biziou, author
of The Joys of Everyday Ritual and The
Joy of Family Rituals, is an interfaith
minister, a life coach, and a leading expert on ritual
and meditation. She teaches us how to restore ritual to its
rightful place as food for the soul through practical,
easy to use ritual recipes that are inspiring and fun.
Barbara shows people how to incorporate spirituality
into their existing lifestyles and hectic schedules –
without creating extra work or stress! For private
sessions, weddings and ceremonies contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org
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