In the past few weeks I’ve known a few people who’ve lost their dogs. My heart goes out to them. It’s like losing a member of the family as far as I’m concerned. One posted a status update about it to which one of their friends commented, “I have to put mine down too. But I just don’t have the courage to do it.”
I’ll excuse the status-jacking because it brought something to the front of my mind at the same time I had the power of the Internet at my fingertips. Y’see, the theme of courage has been running rampant through my head for months now.
It started with my reading of Suze Orman’s Women & Money. She writes that every wealthy woman has several qualities, one of which is courage. There were others that struck me first, like harmony and honesty, but lately courage has been the one on my mind. (By the way, I highly recommend that book to any woman. What an empowering, helpful set of instructions and encouragement!)
But another book brought forward this concept to me recently, and that’s The Artist’s Way. So I’ve been sort of inundated with this idea and it kinda made me uncomfortable.
When I think of courage, I can’t help but think of the cowardly lion in The Wizard of Oz. Poor thing was afraid of his shadow.
I’ve always associated courage with a lack of fear. And if you look it up in m-w.com, my favorite dictionary, you’ll find a similar definition that deals a lot with fear.
It’s not that I don’t think courage has anything to do with fear. It just seems like the definition is focusing on the wrong thing.
Anyone who tries new things and takes risks, who embodies courage, will tell you that you cannot escape fear. It’s part of the package. So why should courage really focus on your ability to do something despite that?
The beauty of the Internet is that there’s usually more than one source. I’m not the biggest fan of Dictionary.com, but it did offer me this tasty, albeit obsolete, definition of courage: the heart as the source of emotion.
OK, now this I get. I’ve been trying to approach courage from a logical perspective, but this isn’t a job for logic. Logic tells us to stay in our job when the economy is bad, even if it is draining our soul. Reasonable people don’t jump out of airplanes with parachutes strapped on their backs.
The desires of our hearts are what drive us forward, and pursuing those dreams feeds the soul. But to follow those dreams often runs counter to what’s logical. And that’s where courage comes in.
It takes courage to act from the heart and not the brain. It runs counter to what our culture and often times our families are telling us. But we know it to be the right thing to do, even if we can’t quite justify it or quantify it.
I’ve been focusing on listening to what my heart wants and then following through. I believe and trust that the Universe will support me if I have courage and follow my dreams. And I’m blessed to have a husband and friends who supports me in that as well.
I encourage you to listen to your heart and start exercising your courage, even in little ways. Dance to the elevator music. Sing while you’re walking the dog.
Listen to that little kid inside you that wants to skip down the sidewalk. The more often your courage is exercised, the stronger it will become. And suddenly that big leap you’ve secretly been wanting to take looks more like a puddle jump.