“It is curious that physical courage should be so common in the world and moral courage so rare.”
― Mark Twain
Courage has often been understood as bravery and having the strength to do something extraordinary. We think of movie scenes when the hero or heroine is backed up against the wall but finds that last bit of gumption. Ironically, the original word comes from something we sometimes negate as being weaker when compared to the mind. Cor-age is Latin for of the heart or coming forth with your whole heart. There is nothing more brave or stronger than revealing your full heart, and the importance of carrying that message forth is why Courage is one of the Civil Graces.
Who are you? That is the most important question to answer. In a world overwhelmed with mantras of success and social acceptance, showing up as you are is precisely what is needed. As children, we are often rewarded by our parents, churches, and educational institutions for being what was expected of us. Personally, there was always something nagging inside me that there was a different path. There came a time when holding on to that programmed version of myself was too painful. I had to re-discover my voice and re-member my heart. Finding the Courage to do that has not always been easy but it has made my life more authentic.
Each of us emerges from the Universe with unique gifts. Courage is the energy that moves it forth. To come from a place of the heart, a place of love and passion is why we are here. And we must be persistent in bringing ourselves forward. In a sense, it reminds me of our silly cat, Pete, who every morning peers in the door looking to connect with us after a night of exploring. Again and again, he invites us to experience what is real outdoors, and he won’t be ignored. “Are you going to show up today?” This is what our heart says to us.
I watch for leaders to emerge who will show genuine love for those they serve. It is rare to see them featured on the media, but they are there. They may not have official titles, but there are individuals everywhere bringing all they are to tell their story and bring meaning to life. A beautiful example of this was watching Greta Thunberg state her case with such profound Courage–her heart was in every word, and it was such a sign to the world to do the same. One young woman had a vision of speaking up for the Earth, and millions in the world moved with her to stand out as well because they felt it in their own hearts. That is the power of Courage. We can ignite the world with passion toward a common goal.
We are heirs to the grace of Courage. The original founders of this nation, leaders from every walk of life, had the vision that we could govern ourselves in a new way. While it has taken centuries to reveal and reshape the ideal of self-government, it has been through individuals calling out from their heart to re-mind and re-member the center of something greater beyond the material world. The call is there for each of us. How do you show up in Courage?