Journey to Courage

Courage is a state of consciousness.  We cultivate courage when we step forward to protect others.  We do not cower in the shadows and hide from danger to save ourselves, but we lead the charge and meet any threat to our safety or freedom head on.  Parents protect their children, first responders put themselves in harm’s way to save the lives of others.  We spontaneously step forward when others need our help, even if we put our own lives at risk.  When we consistently exhibit courage, others look to us for direction and leadership.  

Opposite States of Consciousness:
  Cowardice, Weakness, Timidity, Avoidance of responsibility, Making excuses or running away when our help is needed, Betraying or abandoning others. 

The Teaching

Few of us are born with courage.  It is something we cultivate as we develop self- confidence and learn to meet the challenges of our lives.  Even a small person can be brave.  David was just a child when he stepped forward and slew Goliath.   Of course, it is easier to be courageous if you are strong and confident.   But even a strong person like Goliath can be defeated if he is over-confident and underestimates the strength or skill of his adversary.
     Courage is born in the face of danger or adversity.  We might be afraid; indeed we might be trembling in our boots, but we take a deep breath and move though our fear.  We show up even when it is scary.
     If courage required lack of fear, no one would be courageous.   We can be afraid and still be willing to show up.  We can answer the call even if we don’t know how we will succeed.   The person who runs into a burning building to save a child does not know how he will do it or whether he will be successful   He does not deliberate.  He just acts spontaneously.  He answers the call and hopes for the best.
     Some of the most courageous people are unlikely heroes. They aren’t people who have great powers or proven track records. They are people who were in the right place at the right time and they were willing to say and do what they could.
They were instruments of divine grace.  When push came to shove, they refused to bow down or go to the back of the bus.
     Don’t think you are too small, too weak, too awkward or too insignificant to be brave.   More than anything else courage takes willingness.  If you are willing, God can use you.
     If you are not willing, no amount of strength will serve you or anyone else.  You can go to the gym and work out 5 hours a day and still run away when you see three guys assaulting a jogger in the park.
     Courageous people do not live just to serve their egos or save their own skins. They care about people. They protect their families, but also serve their communities.  They reach out to protect those who cannot protect themselves. They help to lift people up who have fallen.  They rescue others from danger.
     In a topsy-turvy world, the weak serve the strong.  The poor get poorer and the rich get richer.   But in a world where hope is kept alive and justice is served, it is the strong who serve the weak and the rich who serve the poor.
     Fortunately, a few outstanding corporate billionaires like Warren Buffett and Bill Gates had epiphanies and rearranged their priorities. They were also unlikely heroes.  Now they lead in a different way than they did before. 
     Men and women of courage provide moral leadership.  They are role models and show us the way we should be. 

The Practice

Today, be aware when you are asked to stand up for yourself or for others.  Even if you find it scary, step into the opportunity.  Hold your fear gently and walk through it.  In order to develop courage, you must be willing to be seen and heard.   You can’t hug the wall or disappear into the corner.  You have to get out on the dancefloor.  
     You don’t have to know how to dance.  You know how to walk.  That is enough.  Walk to the center of the room, bend your knees and wiggle your butt.   Be willing to make a fool out of yourself and you won’t fail.  The worse thing that will happen is that people will laugh.  If so, laugh with them.  
     After you have been out on that floor once, it will be easier to do it next time. Only you will know all the walls you had to break through to let yourself be seen and heard.  Only you will know what a “fraidy cat” you were.
     Anyone who walks through her fear develops courage and self-confidence.  When you learn to speak up for yourself, it becomes easier for you to stand up for others. Gradually, you begin to trust that your job is to walk through the door when it opens to you.   As a result, you will learn to take risks and open yourself to new experiences.  You will leave behind your self-protective shell – the prison of your own making – and jump into the river of life.  And in time you will be seen and heard in ways you never thought possible before.
     All this because you stopped hugging the walls and walked through your fear. Be grateful to the universe for giving you a kick in the derriere.   The first step is always the most difficult.
     Today have the courage to take the first step and the next one will follow.  You don’t have to rush.  Take your time, but don’t stop.  Keep moving, one step at a time. 
     Today, be courageous.  Walk through your fear.  And then give yourself credit. You deserve it!

Journaling Question

When have you walked through your fear and stood up spontaneously to protect others?

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