The winds of courage

I’m standing on the edge of a cliff; surrounded by dry, deserted, rocky mountains whose substance are boulders of ancient rocks clinging desperately to each other. 

Aside from the giant eagles hovering way above, there is no one here but me.
I take a deep breath.

The wind is swift and forceful on my face digging into me, compelling me. I hold my ground as it effortlessly unties my hair and in one sweep sends it flowing behind me. 

Finally, I look down…down into the gorge below. 
My heart begins to pound.

The wind is fierce now – fighting with me, cutting into my skin. Tears are running down my cheeks as I close my eyes.

I’m not here to jump.
I’m here to face my darkest fears.
I’m here to face myself.

I’ve been on this cliff for the last three weeks. And for the first time I have the courage to acknowledge the bruises the wind has etched onto my skin. 

We often think of courage as doing huge, visibly heroic acts, but that is not all courage is. It is also, and even more so, in the quiet, private battles we fight when attempting to conquer our inner fears.

I have been fighting an inner battle that led me to this cliff. Sometimes there are parts of ourselves that we cannot see fully until we are standing on the edge. I’ve been struggling with that part of myself for the last few weeks – the part of me that feels insecure, especially in friendships. I know I’m a good friend but at the same time I doubt myself. But maybe everybody feels like that sometimes. 

After some honest evaluation I was able to name what has gone un-named and has always evaded me. I have come to see that when it comes to friendships, one of my major weaknesses is trust – I find it difficult to trust that I mean as much to the other person as they do to me. This is why sometimes I find myself comparing how I love with how I’m Ioved in return and often they do not tally and rightly so…since as individuals we all speak different love languages. By not being actively conscious of this fact I end up hurting myself and others. 

So, my lack of trust of what I mean to the people and friends I know has been the source of my insecurities and doubts. This has not been easy for me to admit to myself. I have wrestled with it and wrestled some more, and in the end, I had to choose between running away from it or having the courage to face it and conquer it.

I choose courage.

The word courage comes from the root of the of French word “Coeur” meaning heart. According to poet David Whytes, courage is simply the measure of your heartfelt participation in the world.
I don’t know about you but my heart is at the forefront of how I live my life, and because of this, it is right in the firing line. Remember I made the decision to be honest and vulnerable with myself and my life journey. This is why I am so open about my personal challenges…even when it means admitting that I am not so perfect after all.

As human beings we are constantly trying to do courageous things and take courageous paths but even then, we hope there is a way to take that courageous step without having one’s heart broken. Unfortunately, it does not work like that. In all our relationships – friendships, marriage, families, we will at some point get hurt or do the hurting. This does not mean we cower away in fear. 

Again, like David Whytes, I believe that if we are sincere about examining our own integrity, we should, if we are really serious, at times be disappointed with ourselves – this is not cause to be ashamed but rather to improve. This sincerity is what my blog is about. It is what I am about.

Attempts to develop courage and self-confidence are daily journeys that everyone makes – a life process from which no one is exempt. It is how we handle the things that rattle our everyday tranquillity or our willingness to or not to step out of our comfort zone.

As I stand by the cliff and the wind continues to cut into me, it brings along with it a sense of hope…that even though the process is painful, it is worthwhile for my now and for my future. 

I set sail on the winds of courage and I’m reminded that courage is not the absence of fear but the awareness that something else is more important. And my being a better person and friend is definitely more important.

As you journey through life, may you have the courage to face everyday with honesty, openness and integrity.

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