On Courage

I did something this weekend that scared me. In the lead-up I was tense and short, uneasy and probably unkind. I let it get to me. But I got there and I did it and it was fine. And it got me thinking about the ways in which we cope, the patterns that we have developed to keep us safe.

Lashing out, tapping out, projections and distractions. Funny, because it doesn’t really do shit to help us, it’s just another way to try to control the inevitable, uncontrollable is-ness of life. Which is futile.

I suspect these safety nets, when examined, begin to be less attractive. It’s like how shiny objects (a new car! a new lover!) seem great up front but after a bit of time start to show their flaws. This is the power of the process of yoga, learning to hold that orb of awareness and direct it to our crazy and see what we can do to take the shine off the habits that we misconstrue as us!

I certainly am both embarrassed at how I behaved in the lead up and proud of the way I handled myself doing the thing that made me nervous. I’m someone that, when pressured, will usually rise.

I spoke in front of a lot of people. I had committed and I pride myself on being professional. I think I did well. I could’ve spoken slower, clearer, been more succinct and less tangential. But whatever, I showed up, I studied myself and my habits, I committed to my professionalism and delivered and it was enough.

Maybe there is something you are scared of that would also leave you feeling proud once achieved. It might be small (ask him out!) or large (start that company!) or it might be that you are just so familiar with fear that it is your constant companion. It’s all fine, it is what it is. You can still do it anyway. The enemy of progress is perfection, someone smart said, and it’s true. You’ll never be perfect. To human is to err (Shakespeare?). But you CAN deliver and face your fear with courage and I suspect that will be more rewarding in the long run that waiting for perfect. As Seth Godin says, it’s not ‘just doing it’ that’s the answer, it’s doing it well as you can, AND on the deadline you promised so that you can deliver, get feedback and keep getting better. It’s whatever we choose to do becoming a commitment to our higher states of awareness and development. It’s choosing courage, vulnerability, presence. It’s not easy, but it’s worth it.

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