Courage. It is a word that came to me quite unexpectedly today. I’m not really sure what I want to do with the word. The funny thing is this evening as I have been reading and sitting with myself that word…courage has come to me over and over again. I believe that I want to make it a part of me. I’m not sure. Which somehow left me wondering what the actual meaning of the word is. I looked it up and this is what I found. Courage is the ability to do something that frightens one. Courage is the ability to do something that you know is difficult or dangerous. Courage is the mental or moral strength to venture, persevere and withstand danger, fear or difficulty. This small word, courage, is pretty empowering.
Thinking about courage brings to mind the Harry Potter series that my youngest daughter and I started reading together. Harry Potter and his two best friends embody the word courage. I find these stories amazing especially when I consider the age of Harry and his friends which is starting at the age of 10 or 11. I don’t know how many children around that age would display the courage that is found within these characters. It is truly mesmerizing and spell binding. I often think about how wonderful it would be to have the courage of Harry Potter. It makes me wonder if one is born with this type of characteristic or if one is thrown into it or grows into it due to circumstances.
I know that I am courageous about certain things. If I am faced with an issue where I must take immediate action, some sort of danger, I am able to move and not think twice. I just do what needs to be done. If I need a solution to a problem, my mind is able to sift through all sorts of ideas or scenarios and come up with one that ultimately works. In the midst of a stressful situation, I am able to keep my wits about me. I do not become paralyzed with inaction. The strange thing is that it isn’t something I consciously think about. Something in me just takes over. I find myself wishing that I could somehow harness the chemical reaction that is taking place so that I could replicate this same courage when I needed it at other times.
For it is in the moments that are more subtle, that sneak up on me, that don’t have a vivid outline of danger. The moments that are more obscure and occur over time that sometimes lulls me into complacency. That being comfortable is somehow better than facing the dreaming tree not realizing the subtle danger that exists in this thought. The unknown can represent a very subtle danger to me especially when it comes to stepping outside the box and maybe rebuilding my life as I have known it. This is most where I need courage and this is most when I feel it failing me. It somehow feels like it isn’t something that I can call upon, it just either happens or it doesn’t. I know that this is fear continuing to speak within me. It takes courage to see the light among the shadows dance. At times I see it well and call it out. Other times I hide under it, wrap myself in it and close my eyes resting in it wondering if courage will find me. And what if in these moments I am actually breaking down old beliefs that no longer serve who I am or who I am becoming.
I’m reading a book entitled When Things Fall Apart by Pema Chodron. In it she talks about this quote, Only to the extent that we expose ourselves over and over to annihilation can that which is indestructible be found in us. Sit with this for a few moments and allow these words to penetrate your being. It took me a couple of times of reading it over and just allowing it to wash over me before there was an opening and I was able to accept the profoundness and beauty of this. So possibly when I am pulling back from the shadows a metamporphisis is taking place, an annihilation of sorts. In the third book of Harry Potter there is a Phoenix in the story and that when the time calls the Phoenix bursts into flames and then is reborn from the ashes. Quite a vivid picture when you think about it. What could be more amazing and courageous then being reborn from ashes. Annihilation of what no longer serves allows for rebirth.
During these times courage finds us and we are drawn to the dreaming tree. I find myself at the base of this tree with a completely blank vessel. What is it that I have been dreaming of? What is it that I desire most? What is it that is calling to me? What is the dreaming tree whispering to me? It takes great courage to find oneself face to face with the dreaming tree. The possibilities are endless and can create a good deal of fear and questioning. Courage is called for. Courage is what is needed to stand in the presence of the dreaming tree. Where will your courage take you? Will you find your way to the base of the dreaming tree as well allowing annihilation of those things that no longer serve, leaning into what the dreaming tree has to offer and being reborn from the ashes of what has been let go? Let courage lead you and listen to the whispers of the dreaming tree and trust the dreams that are brought to you. Courage and the dreaming tree make exquisite partners.