More and more keeps coming up around this idea of courage and of normalisation. Courage itself becomes normalised so that we may not be recognising our own courage when we see it.
I was thinking about the collective storylines, too, and how they may define our understanding of what is considered courageous (or not). Acts of sacrifice to protect others may be considered brave and valuable, where more hidden acts of courage may not be.
A soldier who gives their life in combat is considered brave, but those left behind who grieve for them are not. A person who climbs a mountain or ‘conquers’ a new territory is celebrated as brave, but a person who deals with mental illness every day and wrangles with the decision to live another day may be overlooked. Every day acts of courage become hidden, even to ourselves.
It’s only when you start to look back over the times you felt darkest that the idea of courage becomes more obvious. ‘Wow, I remember that day I got out of bed, even though I thought I couldn’t face another day of grief,’or ‘Hey, it was brave of me to ask that person out after feeling so heart-broken over the last relationship.’ So much courage!
It’s not fair on ourselves (or others) when we base courage on our happiest, healthiest moments or compare them to collective ideals. It’s easy to recognise the BIG acts of courage made when we were feeling safest. It’s the seemingly small acts of courage that go overlooked in the bigger picture.
I’m thinking of all my friends whose lives I get to share on a daily basis, and the amazing courage I see. Choosing to stay, instead of leaving. Choosing to let go and take a chance on a new adventure. Getting tumours cut out of their bodies and undergoing treatment for shitty diseases. Coming out. Finishing their PhDs. Not finishing their PhDs and making different choices. Moving to different cities or countries. Moving home again. Having children. Losing children. Not having children. Being happy when it’s unpopular. Being unhappy when it’s unpopular. Speaking their truth. Going against the grain.
Holy crap, being human is the most courageous act we’ll ever undertake as a Soul! Imagine leaving that cushy, magical place of unconditional Love and bliss, and saying, ‘sure, I’ll go individuate for a while. I’ll willingly forget what it feels like to be part of something bigger and get caught up in the pain of feeling so deeply and losing people and fighting a disease. I’ll hang out here in this dense duality and see if I can remember, somehow that this magical wonderland exists.’
As I’ve healed, my acts of courage have gotten bigger and bolder. I’ve dared to be visible and speak louder and say NO to shit I would have accepted before. Right now, I’m sitting with the old me, who believed the voice in my head that told me I had no right to exist, and patting her on the back for being courageous enough to prove it wrong. I didn’t know then how brave I was to keep going, to keep seeking a different truth, because I didn’t have the hindsight I do now. (Funny how that works, eh?)
This is the stuff I want to carry forward with me.
Thanks for helping me understand by being the magical, courageous friends you are.
~ Jenny <3