Courage on the road to authentic living

When we do things scared, with courage we build within us a foundation on which to stand that makes the next time we show up with courage and scared shitless a little more tolerable and so that embodied experience builds and grows us. Each experience that requires our courage requires the courage we used in the last experience to build on the new one. Bigger situations require greater courage.

If we are to wait till we are filled with courage and we are not scared shitless we will never do anything. It takes courage to be scared and still do something. It doesn’t have to be done perfectly we just have to show up and do it. If we show up and it gets done shaggy the first time around that’s great! We showed up. did it. Acted even though we were scared. That’s the true mark of courage!

In rising strong Brene Brown talks about the importance of being comfortable with uncertainty which gives rise to courage. Being in the present moment, the void, the discomfort, the unknowingness, breathing, breathing, breathing, at that moment we have clarity of who we are and what it takes to be courageous. In that whisper.

Courage means different things to different people. For some having children takes courage, for others starting a new company takes courage, for another staying in a marriage takes courage whilst for another leaving is the most courageous thing they can do. For me, courage has one constant aspect. We find ourselves in a position where to stay there would harm us greatly, we might not know what the result will be of following that next step but we know that staying just isn’t an option. So the courage it takes to take that next step is so powerful for me, a leap of faith. Stepping out into the void of not knowing and still doing it.

During 2020 we witnessed our daughter Emily show courage, grit, and determination. She was in Grade 2 and near the end of the year, each pupil in her class was expected to present a speech for 2 minutes about a country they found interesting. Now I am sure most of you are aware of the stats about public speaking.

According to most studies, people’s number one fear is public speaking. Number two is death. Death is number two. Does that seem right? That means to the average person, if you have to go to a funeral, you’re better off in the casket than doing the eulogy. – Jerry Seinfeld, 1993

When I create either a painting or a piece of writing or a cake or whatever. My breath is often held in anticipation of what is to follow. The blank page or canvas or mixing bowl often leaves me with a tight feeling in my tummy in anticipation of the result. Once I breathe and dare to let go of any expectations and lean into the void and create it is always so profound for me. To be the instrument through which Grace creates Her masterpiece. To be creative one does need to let go of the shore and move in a direction that is unknown and enjoy the process of creation and hope that in the end, the creation is meaningful for self and others.

I have come to see that whilst we are practicing courage we most certainly won’t feel brave. We will probably be shitting ourselves. I know I did and still do. However, I have come to embrace the gift of feeling courageous doing fearful things that are in alignment with me being authentic, real, and honest.

This journey has been a wobbly one. I haven’t always been sure-footed. There are times where I sit with deep-seated self-doubt about what, how, when, where is the way to show up authentically. Authenticity has become my core value because I can measure how I show up in life. For a long while now I thought I was being so authentic by saying what comes up first. Sometimes people are shocked by what I say and I always thought maybe because the truth hurts sometimes. Then I realized through one of the interviews Nick Smith and I did on our Podcast me 2.0 Being real & authentic that telling it like it is doesn’t mean I am authentic it can sometimes mean that I am being mean and unkind and that’s not authentic to my nature or any of ours for that matter.

I was reminded of a Buddhist saying that says something like “When speaking allow what we want to say to pass through three gates. Is what I want to say

1. True
2. Necessary
3. Kind

"There is always light if only we're brave enough to see it. If only we're brave enough to be it.

Amanda Gorman

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