“Beyond the pairs of opposites of which the world consists, other, new insights begin.”
“Do your work, then step back. The only path to serenity.”
–Tao Te Ching (Stephen Mitchell translation).
When we think of courage, we may envision legendary, heroic leaders such as Nelson Mandela or Mahatma Gandhi. We don’t usually recognize that our own daily choices often require tremendous courage and inner strength.
If you lose your job, it takes courage to get up each morning, search the job boards, put together resumes, and go to interviews (if you are fortunate enough to get an interview). It takes courage to venture out on a new career path when the old one disappears or no longer fits the person you have become.
It takes courage to speak honestly when your opinion may not be welcomed. It takes courage to keep going after a loss or disappointment. It takes courage to leave a bad relationship and move forward into the unknown. And it takes courage to love deeply, again, if your heart has been hurt in the past.
It takes courage to face our fears, acknowledge our shortcomings, and embrace our true inner callings. It takes courage to risk possible rejection, failure, or ridicule when we create our art, music, families of choice, and personal spiritual beliefs—especially in a world that previously preferred conformity and productivity . . . over creativity, love, and ingenuity.
I believe our unique gifts, contributions, and visions (for our lives and for our planet) are what move us forward. As we affirm our own value, we learn to value others who differ from us. In that space–of acceptance and openness–we find common ground. We begin to seek creative problem-solving skills, spiritual solutions, and win-win situations, because we understand that the happiness and wellbeing of others is directly linked to our own happiness and wellbeing.
Ironically, it is our ability to welcome diversity that allows us to embrace the larger whole. We become less fragmented in our individual “camps” and “positions” when we view the bigger picture. Working for the greater good always requires enormous courage.
Do not underestimate the courage you have shown during prior life changes—those experiences point the way toward what is possible in the future. And remember, as noted by Christopher Robin to Pooh, “You’re braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.” A.A. Milne.
In joy and gratitude,