Whole Hearted Courage

Courage is the power to let go of the familiar…

~~Raymond Lundquist

Hello all ūüôā¬† Blogger Slacker returns…

I took this pic a few weeks ago in¬† a remote place called Cathedral Canyon, in The Middle Of Nowhere, Missouri.¬† To reach this place, you have to leave all that is familiar, drive 2 hours from a major city, then hike¬† even further¬† into the more-middle-of-nowhere.¬† I must say~~ it was totally worth it.¬† The pic doesn’t do it justice.¬† I spent a few days in that part of the world, totally off the grid and reconnecting with myself.¬† It was lovely in a million different ways.¬† During that time, I pondered why it is that I often have to leave all that is familiar on the outside to reconnect to what I love that is familiar on the inside.¬† But that is another blog post for another day.

I was thinking today about all of the horror in Japan, reflecting on the impermanence of everything we think is familiar, all we hold dear.¬† The funny thing is that as things change or become unfamiliar, the human tendency is to engage in our familiar patterns that often don’t serve us….old patterns of shutting up or down, lashing out or in, running away instead of running toward the change.¬† Yet there¬† is so much change happening all the time and that’s what we call life.¬† When we like the changes we say things are going well, when we don’t like the changes we say they aren’t.¬† But that’s familiar too.¬† I think it takes real courage to go with all the flows of life, to swim through what might feel like a tsunami with an open heart.¬† I’m amazed by how many people are able to do just that and I’m grateful when I can do it myself.

This is a time of Lent for some…fasting, prayer and reflection.¬† This is a time of loss and horror for others…unprecedented, horrible loss on a scale I can’t even begin to comprehend.¬† This is a time of joy for others…birth, new jobs, new homes, dreams coming true.¬† This is a time of death and illness for others¬† and on and on the list of changes goes.¬† No matter what the circumstance, it takes courage to face it and walk through it with an open mind and heart. And in the middle of it all, in the middle of all the magic and all the tragic, we all crave connection with others.¬† I have come to believe with my whole heart that the only way I can have a connection with you is if I have a connection with myself first.¬† And, at least for myself, I feel most connected in a helpful way to myself if I feel connected to the Divine and all of the ways in which God moves within.

All of this¬† made me think of Brene Brown and her work.¬† Brene has done some very interesting research in the fields of courage, compassion, shame and how to live with a whole heart.¬† She speaks of the original meaning of the word “courage,” meaning to tell the story of who you are with your whole heart.¬† Her research is very interesting and beautiful, I’ll post a clip at the end of one of her TED talks.¬†¬† It’s well worth the 20 minutes or so it takes to watch.

As you ponder courage and living life with a whole heart…If you are so inclined, please remember those for whom this is a hard or tragic time.¬† If you are further inclined, perhaps you could hold yourself and others in the gentle and loving space of a whole heart, or at least hold the aspiration that you can do so, for yourself and others.¬† We are all we’ve got, sweet friends.¬† And I think it’s important to remember we are all enough.¬† YOU are enough.¬†¬† Yes, you. May you go forth with that knowing and the courage of a whole heart of peace and kindness toward yourself and others.

With that, I leave you with Dr. Brene Brown, her bio and video.

Brené Brown, Ph.D., LMSW is a research professor at the University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work. She has spent the past ten years studying vulnerability, courage, authenticity, and shame. Brené spent the first five years of her decade-long study focusing on shame and empathy, and is now using that work to explore a concept that she calls Wholeheartedness. She poses the questions:

How do we learn to embrace our vulnerabilities and imperfections so that we can engage in our lives from a place of authenticity and worthiness? How do we cultivate the courage, compassion, and connection that we need to recognize that we are enough ‚Äď that we are worthy of love, belonging, and joy?


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