Would you say you are living your life courageously? I’m not just talking about the usual understanding of heroism or bravery. I’m talking about the life that is there for you. Are you embracing it? Pouring yourself into it? Eating it up?
Sometimes the hardest thing to do is to just keep going. One of the most difficult things I’ve faced in my life was the betrayal of a friend. I was the chair of the board for a non-profit in New York City. When my term on the board completed, I submitted my name for re-election. When it came time for me to address the voting members, one of my closest friends asked a question, knowing that if I answered it with integrity I would make myself unpopular. So I gave a true answer and I wasn’t elected.
To this day, it hurts a little bit to even think of the situation. I felt desolate. I felt like giving up. But I didn’t.
The rest of the story is that another opportunity—far more important to me—came along very shortly. That other opportunity has become central to the life of service I live today.
I know that greater opportunity wouldn’t have come if I didn’t have the courage to keep going—the courage to keep saying what is true, the courage to be myself and the courage not to stop.
It takes courage in all the dimensions of who we are as human beings to live a happy and fulfilling life. It takes courage to think for yourself, to share what you are feeling and to act with integrity. Maybe not initially. But there are always junctures in a human life in which there is a choice and where you have to ask yourself: Do I have the courage to keep going? Do I have the courage to embrace my life? Will I keep pouring the expression of who I am?
Maya Angelou says this:
Courage is the most important of all the virtues because without courage you can’t practice any other virtue consistently. You can practice any virtue erratically but nothing consistently without courage.
Courage is relevant to every dimension of a human life.
Perhaps the greatest courage of all is to love. That certainly includes romantic love for a spouse, life partner or lover. But the courage to love is central to all relationships at some level. It includes compassion, care, and forgiveness. And it applies to our attitude toward ourselves.
The courage to love is central to a human life because it comes right down to the central question for anyone: Will I give generously of who I am? If you do, you truly live. If not, you begin to die. So, activating the courage to love is the key to bringing life to your life.
Perhaps you, too, have had experiences in life that made you feel desolate and discouraged—that made you feel like giving up. And perhaps those experiences have led you to close off some of the greater love you have to bring in your life. If so, I propose that you could begin to activate to love right now, starting with yourself. You might be surprised what would begin to happen.
Tonight, I am beginning my four-day workshop, Becoming a Sun: Emotional and Spiritual Intelligence for a Happy and Fulfilling Life. The culmination of the workshop is about courage leading to grace. I believe that’s exactly how life works. When we have the courage to embrace our life—all of it—we find grace. There grace is, right in the middle of it all. Participants have the opportunity to feel that deeply relative to their own lives.
So may your days be filled with courage—knowing you are loved from within; that when you live with courage you are powered by love and backed up by the universe. The forces of creation enter the life of a truly courageous person.