courage is not only for the brave (audio inspiration)

Last year, I developed a book proposal entitled “Courage Is Not Only For The Brave.” The project has not (yet?) found a collaborative partner, so I am happy to share these seeds of creation with you. Individual audio segments are posted prior to the Intro as well as the three briefer sections.

Lag-BaOmer-bonfire

Bravery is a quality associated with armored knights and superheroes and heroines. They never wince as they head into epic battles and return triumphant to cheering crowds who raise them aloft and cry out their names in honor. If they are frightened, it never shows.

You and I are perhaps not quite so brave. Rarely do we run into flaming buildings or rescue the injured or risk life and limb in daring escapes. Yet every day, in small and ordinary ways, each one of us has the opportunity to dig deep and muster up the courage to live the lives we are here to live.

This courage rises from your heart and your belly, not from complicated strategies or defensive maneuvers. It’s the courage to chart your own life, to make choices based in love and not fear. This courage propels you to peer into the core of who you are, to probe your inner gardens be they abloom or withering, and to hold your head as high as you possibly can even as circumstances seem determined to drag you down.

Courage wears a thousand faces. For some, courage is walking away; for others, it strengthens the commitment to stay. Courage stands and courage sits. Courage asks questions and gives answers, offers gentle assistance or receives it. Courage need not be loud: silent witness bespeaks courage as powerfully as words.

You possess far greater courage than you can imagine. Not because you are fearless and harbor no misgivings, but because you are willing to invite courage to lead you into a life of greater authenticity and contentment.

It takes a quiet strength to untangle the truth, to examine your weaknesses with compassion, and to navigate the byways of love offered and received. Trembling legs, a shaky voice, and butterflies in your stomach do not always mean that you are afraid. More likely, you are releasing feelings of inner courage that have been locked up far too long. It takes a special kind of courage to hold the key in your quivering hand and put it to its intended use.

Our world needs an extra helping of courage these days. Not just from leaders and others in positions of power, but from you and from me. We may not wield swords or ride white steeds into battle or make historic speeches, but we can choose to make courage an essential ingredient of every day. If you are thinking “But I’m just not that brave!” think again. Courage is not only for the brave: it’s for everyone who is willing, and it’s for you.


Courage Is Your Birthright

You were not born to cower in fear or to be ridiculed for expressing the truth of who you are – though you may have come to believe otherwise as you made your way through life.

You were not created to remain paralyzed and burdened by doubt – though perhaps no one was able to provide you with that vital truth. Your very essence reflects an open heart and a generous spirit. You were given a basket of gifts tuned to harmonize with a just and loving world and those gifts are with you still.

It is never too late for you to claim your personal badge of courage, to dig it out from within or peel away the layers that have kept it hidden from view. There is no need for remorse or regret. Courage is your birthright: it has been with you since you took your very first breath of life and it remains yours to access when you feel it impossible not to.

Perhaps that time is now.


Your Courage Is Large Beyond Measure

 You need not waste your time wondering about how much courage you carry within: whatever you bring forth is sufficient for the task at hand.

Once you begin striving for courage and measuring it, comparing your courage to that of anyone else, your mental calculations will lead you down a dead-end alley and your courage will retreat into the shadows.

Do not be led astray by detours such as these. You contain every bit of courage that you could possibly need to face whatever or whoever is trying to stare you down. It may be obscured beneath bushels of doubt and indecision, temporarily clouded by inner or outer storms stretched beyond the horizon, or sitting on a high shelf just outside your reach. Yet it is there all the same and it is immeasurable.

And yes, it is enough to make the difference. Just like you.


Courage Is Sincere

One thing about courage is this: you can’t fake it. You can’t huff and puff and bluff your way through unless a true kernel of courage lies beneath your words and actions.

Courage never pretends or manipulates. It does not announce its arrival with flaming language and outsized promises – though it might feel that way. A single drop from the cup of courage can move mountains and bring about shifts that will ripple out in ways too profound to predict.

One golden spark cannot help but illuminate a glimmer of courage that is ready to shine. The tear wept in courage is an oasis in the desert of a counterfeit world. If someone tries to tell you that your authentic courage is not sincere, they do not know much about courage.

And they certainly know even less about you.

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