On Finding Courage

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I came across this poem recently that really spoke to what is important to me at this time in my life. It became the inspiration of a recent meditation and I want to share that poem with you now.

An Invitation to Brave Space

By Micky ScottBey Jones

Together we will create brave space
Because there is no such thing as a “safe space”
We exist in the real world
We all carry scars and we have all caused wounds.
In this space
We seek to turn down the volume of the outside world,
We amplify voices that fight to be heard elsewhere,
We call each other to more truth and love
We have the right to start somewhere and continue to grow.
We have the responsibility to examine what we think we know.
We will not be perfect.
This space will not be perfect.
It will not always be what we wish it to be
It will be our brave space together,
We will work on it side by side.

In a world in need of justice and equality and fairness, the world needs you to be courageous. We are facing challenges that require us to walk through our fears and uncertainties, if we are to affect change. The courage is within us, sometimes quite deep, and we can summon that courage, call on it when you need it most.

These challenges and difficulties that arise, they help us to grow, to stretch to that point of discomfort, so that we can stretch ever further. In that we, we can embrace challenges and difficulties, as they help us to grow. We can call on our endless reserves of courage to help us through those times of challenge.

We have all experienced times in our lives where we have been afraid. Yet, we have summoned the courage to walk through those fears. Franklin D. Roosevelt said “Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the assessment that something else is more important than fear.”

For me, there are many events that come to mind. My fear of public speaking as a child, followed me well into adulthood. I became physically ill. As an adult, I sought opportunities for public speaking, and in the early days, it took all the courage I could muster. Not so much anymore, because the more you exercise those “courage muscles,” the stronger they become.

Courage has helped me to overcome my fear of heights, if only for a day, so I could be rewarded with the satisfaction and spectacular view that hiking Half Dome in Yosemite National Park affords.

I called upon my courage when I confronted white supremacists in North Idaho where I lived at the time, knowing they wanted me dead, only because I am Jewish.

And most recently, it took every ounce of courage I had to speak at the memorial service of my son who was taken from the world way too soon.

Each of these times, I can recall the emotional and physical response in me when facing that fear, and the pride I feel looking back.

We have also all experienced times in our lives where we let fear gain the upper hand. Every time someone said a racist or other hateful comment, and we didn’t respond. Every time we missed out on an experience because of fear.

And, more than likely, while it was more comfortable in the moment, we often look back with regret.

So, what is something that is happening right now that may bring fear to your heart? What are you afraid to face, allowing fear to stop you from taking action? What scares you about it and what do you think will happen if you take action?

Fear is a natural human reaction and has served us well in many situations. Next time fear grabs hold, can you pause and be with the fear for a few moment, gently observing it, and not getting caught up in the drama it creates? It’s really okay to be afraid, and just remember that courage resides in you as well. So, go ahead, listen to that courage. What does it have to say to you? What advice does it give you?

There are times in your life, where you will be called on to stand in your truth. Oftentimes that means standing out in a crowd, or taking action when others don’t and that takes knowing, strength, courage and trust. You have immeasurable reserves of courage to help you through these times, and each time you call on these reserves, each time you face your fears and don’t let them control you, it get’s easier to summon courage the next time it’s needed.

A final thought: As you exercise your courage muscle, continue to practice it in a mindful way as you remember to embody compassion and lovingkindness. Choosing the way you respond with courage, continuing to be mindful in your response and not reacting with emotions like anger and outrage, will help you be heard. And always, always choose safety.

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