Last month I reached for flow, and at times I felt like a beautiful stream moving with slow easiness and gentle grace. Just as often, though, I found myself like water raging against boulders fallen into the center of a powerful river. I churned within myself and crashed against what felt like rocks jagged and rough. As a white splash thrown high in the air, I could see the turmoil below – and I glimpsed my fear.
I’m not sure why I am surprised when my growth expands from a place of tension, anxiety, and conflict, or why I don’t fully embrace feelings of discouragement or discontent. My mind knows that both gentle and hard, light and dark are essential to the rich tapestry of life, although my heart leans toward the gentle and light. That said, I notice that more often now, when I feel confused and vulnerable, I reach for courage to step into the hard and dark. I stretch my arms wide, open my heart to the unknown, and ask the universe for help. The reward for acting from this raw, naked and exposed place? I gain clarity about life’s deeper meaning and understanding of what’s possible when I’m strong.
When I feel the quiet stream transforming to a raging river, I’ve decided to consider these questions to release my inner victim, let go of blame, and consciously take brave steps in a forward direction:
- What is the source of my fear?
- How am I protecting myself?
- What is the deeper meaning of this experience?
- What other perspectives could I gain to see what’s real?
- What door might this experience be opening?
- How might these feelings reveal new dimensions of myself?
- What do I usually avoid that I might willingness invite in?
Here’s a wordle I created to connect me with the invitation of courage. Maybe you want to create your own little cloud? You can at http://www.wordle.net/ .
Quotes to Contemplate
- Courage comes from a reserve of mind more powerful than outside circumstances. ~Jessica Max Stein
- All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them. ~Walt Disney
- Who bravely dares must sometimes risk a fall. ~Tobias Smollett
- Courage is not simply one of the virtues but the form of every virtue at the testing point. ~C. S. Lewis
- Courage does not always roar. Sometimes it is the quiet voice at the end of the day that says ‘I will try again tomorrow’. ~Mary Ann Radmacher
- Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen. ~Winston Churchhill
- Any fool can run towards the light. It takes a master with courage to turn and face the darkness and shine his own light there. ~Leslie Fieger
- Any intelligent fool can make things bigger and more complex. It takes a touch of genius and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction. ~Albert Einstein
- Man cannot discover new oceans unless he has the courage to lose sight of the shore. ~Andre Gide
- Most of us have far more courage than we ever dreamed we possessed. ~Dale Carnegie
- The world lies in the hands of those who have the courage to dream and who take the risk of living out their dreams – each according to his or her own talent. ~Paulo Coelho
Click on the link below to access the June calendar featuring highlights from this post.
© copyright Vicki L. Flaherty, Leading With Intention, 2013
Photo by Vicki Flaherty, taken at the Kaunos ruins in Dalyan, Turkey, Summer 2011