Friday, March 29, 2013

When Fear is Courage

What's holding you back from doing that thing you've always dreamed about? What is the reason or the excuse for staying in your predictable comfort zone? Why do you just shut up and listen in circumstances when you completely disagree?

                F        E        A        R 

Submitting to fear is the universal brake that interrupts our greatest potential. But fear used correctly becomes courage, which propels us into success. 

The trick is how to cut the reigns of fear so that withdrawal fades and success becomes the final result.

Courage is a topic that I don't think I could ever get sick of researching. When I feel sad, overwhelmed and depleted, I turn to the topic of courage. In doing so, I'm not in any one particular sad place for too long.

I used to let fear completely determine almost everything. I felt shut in and isolated. I felt like I was becoming a social-emotional hermit. I was watching myself become withdrawn. I hated this. So I decided to stop.

                C        O        U        R        A        G        E 

It really was just that simple; I decided. Now, I'm not superhuman, I most assuredly feel fear - I just choose to act anyway. This decision was fueled by two amazing quotes. 

I embrace fear and let courage emerge with the support of Piers Anthony and Oliver Wendell Homes, who said:

"Being terrified but going ahead and doing what must be done—that's courage. The one who feels no fear is a fool, 
and the one who lets fear rule him is a coward." 
~ Piers Anthony

"Courage is about doing what you're afraid to do. 
There can be no courage unless you're scared. 
Have the courage to act instead of react." 
~ Oliver Wendell Holmes

In order to continually suffocate fear with courage I personally feel you need to focus on five things. 

Rather than tell you how to do these five things, I think I'll simply state the five points and share a quote on the topic. Let your own mind define and create the direction of these categories as they apply to you.

1. Trust your heart
“It takes courage ... to endure the sharp pains of self discovery rather than choose to take the dull pain of unconsciousness that would last the rest of our lives.” 
~ Marianne Williamson, "Return to Love: Reflections on the Principles of 'A Course in Miracles'"

2. Perseverance
"A hero is no braver than an ordinary man, but he is braver five minutes longer."
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803 - 1882)

3. Honesty
"Sometimes standing against evil is more important than defeating it. The greatest heroes stand because it is right to do so, not because they believe they will walk away with their lives. Such selfless courage is a victory in itself." 
~ N.D. Wilson, Dandelion Fire

4. Frequently stand outside your comfort zone.
"Getting outside your comfort zone, letting go of the familiar
life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage."
~ Anais Nin

5. Face suffering with dignity or faith
"The ideal man bears the accidents of life with dignity and grace, making the best of circumstances."
~ Aristotle

"A man of courage is also full of faith."
~ Marcus Tullius Cicero

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Sharing Time

What about you?

Without fail the following makes me laugh:
children's laughter
fart sounds
Lily Tomlin
unexpected belching
tickling others
a good scare

Without fail the following makes me cry:
The movie A Trip To Bountiful
seeing someone I love in pain
watching someone succeed in something tremendous
singing the Start Spangled Banner

Without fail the following makes me angry:
giving up when you don't have to
willful ignorance
seeing someone take advantage of another 
inflatable lawn decor

Without fail the following makes me excited:
a challenge
a plan
perfect temperatures
good music
achieving a goal
impactful conversations

Friday, March 8, 2013

Last 3min

I've no idea why I've been so reflective lately. Maybe it's because I feel so thankful in many areas of my life that it's almost overwhelming.

I was listening to a random talk while driving in my car, I don't recall who the speaker was. The take home message I got was this:
If I only had three minutes left to live, 
what would my parting words be?

I was relieved to have the answer instantly come to me, there was no real deliberation. In fact, I was so relieved I had no doubts in my response that I want to say those things now. Why wait?

Minute 1: God lives. Jesus Christ is the way. No relationship or devoted effort is more important than this one.

Minute 2: I love my husband and I am so thankful for the courage his presence brings to my life, his caring heart and companionship are priceless. I'm thrilled beyond to have my son; he is an absolute treasure. Dad and Mom, thank you for the amazing examples of true love and charity that you have been - always.

Minute 3: Everyone else, dig deep and LIVE this life with all that you have. Give, love, serve, do the hard things, be honest, and inspire goodness.

Friday, March 1, 2013

From Birth to Death

Watching my little eight-month old son grow, develop, and learn has been an amazing process to watch. There are so many parallels that can be drawn from this time of life.

From birth to death we continually struggle to grow, develop, and learn. 

Although there may be frustration in learning: how to turn from our back to our stomach, incorporating hand-eye coordination, potty training, reading, writing, math... it all fits together. Each thing we learn builds on itself, to improve our turn on earth.

Each experience builds on the next. Each repeated and applied movement or thought develops a skill. If a baby didn't strive to do new things, it simply wouldn't thrive.

How are we, as adults, any different?

It would be nice if things were easier all the time, but where would be the growth? Where would be the knowledge? If we weren't challenged, things would stay the same all the time. Then there's boredom, stasis - a true lacking.

There are times that I can't help but feel that I am being watched, just like I'm watching my son. Sometimes the watcher is a mentor, parental figure, family that have passed on and that are watching from the other side, and God.

All of these figures at some point watch, sometimes with baited breath and excitement, wondering... "Is this the moment we see her do it?"

It may have taken days, months, years or a lifetime. To see all of the critical developmental stages; the physical, emotional, mental, spiritual, etc.

We are excited to see certain growth unfold and then there are times we cringe at less desirable, less effective application of skill or dormancy of it as well. But this is also part of the process, isn't it?

The concept still stands though. We must strive to face challenges, and overcome them in order to thrive (to triumph, succeed, learn, grow).

I'm convinced that as long as we continually strive from birth to death to grow, develop, and learn to the best of our ability, we are destined to live a good life - no matter the environment or the circumstance.

I don't want to "go gentle into that good night"* with people watching in ambivalence, relief, or lack of emotion. No, that is definitely a moment that I hope I am surround by people with baited breath and excitement, wondering... "Is this the moment we see her do it?" 

*Dylan Thomas