A couple of years ago, I wrote the following for a group in which I was then participating. I wrote it as an answer to the question, “What is courage?” Last week, I was looking through my computer files, and found it. It seems appropriate to add it here.
Courage is a heart song. As such, it is quite recognizable, but difficult for the mind to grasp. Courage can be alogical; it does not fit well into boxes or definitions. Courage responds to the moment rather than to the plan.
Courage embraces what the mind fears. It ventures into the unknown in pursuit of discovery, or it simply acts on what it perceives needs doing in the moment.
Courage is compassionate. It does not seek harm to self, yet willingly endures discomfort or pain in order to help another or achieve an altruistic goal. Courage is not combative, yet can stand and oppose if needed.
Courage is persistent. Acknowledging difficulty, it continues its momentum until the difficulties are transformed or overcome. Courage also knows how to yield, and more importantly, when to yield. Courage is flexible.
Courage is eclectic. It inhabits hearts across clas, gender, age, size, health – even species. Courage is a soldier’s running under fire to save a buddy; it is also a child learning to walk. Courage is championing a novel theory which is as yet unacknowledged by science; it is also speaking one’s truth to friends or choosing to sit in the lunchroom beside the student who is different and rejected. Courage is daring to be quietly different oneself. Courage is standing with someone in danger of being mugged; it is also the refugee mother who endures and continues onward in hopes of her child’s future. Courage has many faces.
Courage is a heart song, sung in love. It embodies and expresses love. The forms of love are interactive. Patience is a form of love. Respect is a form of love. Compassion is a form of love. The forms of love are myriad. Courage is one of those forms.
To this I would now add hope; courage and hope are born of the same energy. It takes courage to hope; it takes hope to stimulate courage when the temptation is to sink into despair. Hope inspires us to continue living, even when the going is very rough indeed. Hope, too, is a form of love.
Most of us, especially now, can find that over which to despair, to sink into passivity and the pain of depression. It is not that hope is not there, it is that we are in those times disconnected from it. We can again rise in hope; united in the hopes for good that we all have, we can bring our hopes to manifestation, if only we continue to believe in the power of our courage and our hope.
As Spring returns and rituals of renewal are expressed worldwide, may we each have the courage to re-embrace our hope.