Courage. Life will ask you to be courageous, in times of uncertainty or extreme doubt, and especially when you feel scared to the bone. What is courage and what does it look like? Can we cultivate it in our own lives?
Vibe with me as we explore it together.
What is Courage?
We know courage when we see it. And we feel it when it’s asked of us, and we make a choice to approach our challenge head-on—or retreat.
Many iconic names in history made it in the books, because of their courage: Martin Luther King Jr.; Mahatma Gandhi; Rosa Parks; Harriet Tubman; Nelson Mandela; Thich Quang Duc; Helen Keller; Galileo; Joan of Arc; Malala Yousafzai; Marsha P. Johnson; Harvey Milk; Sylvia Rivera…
Courage Means Absence Of Fear…Right?
Courage is not the absence of fear. Courage is stepping forward, speaking out, and doing the righteous thing—even as your knees shake, voice trembles and danger (real or perceived) is imminent.
The sample list of historic names listed above all went against the status quo. Because the status quo at that time of their lives, excluded them because they were “othered”. They were “the movers and shakers”. Marginalized. Oppressed. Their lives were not extended the humanity and respect it deserved. And so, courageously, they fought for it. By showing up, and being seen.
Courage is From the Heart
Here’s where things get really interesting: the Latin root word of “Courage” is “cor”—meaning heart. And deriving words like “core”.
Heart envelopes the meaning of courage. Because courageous acts are not performed with ego, but with the heart.
Our most important life moments are deeply felt, with the heart. Not the mind. Our minds—with its vast array of thoughts (good & bad)—have a tendency to judge, over-analyze, over-think, and ruminate.
Which steals away the pure enjoyment of the experience. And from being fully present.
Just Ask the Ancient Egyptians
A little fun history lesson for you. Ancient Egyptians were obsessed with the afterlife. Their waking and daily lives were dedicated to the preparation for the glorious riches of their believed afterlife.
The relics of their past—tombs, pyramids, sphinx, treasures, and mummies—were all passionately created to exist far-reaching into a life they could not touch with their own fingertips. But was well felt in their hearts.
We all famously know their mummies. The sacred art of mummification was a masterful technique to especially getting royals to arrive at their glorious afterlife, well prepared and suited.
Heart & Mummification
During the process of mummification, 4 out of 5 specific organs were removed from the corpse and saved. The rest was discarded.
The stomach, lungs, intestines, and liver were preserved and placed in their own special Canopic Jars—highly ornate containers that were blessed by a high priest.
These Canopic Jars were to protect and assist the organs, on the journey to the owner into the afterlife.
Interestingly enough, the brain was discarded. Ancient Egyptians found no use of the brain.
However, the heart was highly revered. Thought to be the seat of the soul, it was the only organ kept in the body. The journey into the afterlife would include a final test, where the individual’s heart was weighed against “The Feather of Truth”. If that individual lived a righteous life, they would be granted a heavenly afterlife. And if the opposite was true, a monstrous creature would devour the heart, ultimately destroying the essence of the individual—ceasing them to ever exist.
The Ancient Egyptians were solid in a deep understanding of a well-lived spiritual life. Because a life lived with heart, is a very different experience. A bit richer. And a bit more fulfilling.
I want you to consider, scientists and researchers still don’t know what makes a fetus’ heartbeat. Doctors and ultrasound technology can detect when a fetus’s heart is beating. And it’s a very special moment for expecting parents.
But what exactly starts the spontaneous heartbeat is still a mystery.
So the next time you see that quote:
Consider the value of what you decide to give your heart fully into. This is what will fuel your moments when life asks for your courage. Your heart.
Meditation will always be a frequent and favorite tool of mine to get in touch with myself. Not my busy mind. But with my full presence, in the present moment.
And one of my favorite meditations is the “Heart Meditation”.
You simply find a quiet place where you will not be disturbed. For this, I like to be under the shade of a tree, or somewhere with a lush nature ambiance. I begin by practicing my 4-7-8 Breathing Exercise (as taught by Dr. Andrew Weil, https://www.drweil.com/videos-features/videos/breathing-exercises-4-7-8-breath/); closing my eyes; and placing both of my hands onto my chest, in front of my heart space.
And as I complete my breathing exercise, I allow myself to breathe normally. Relaxed fully. And being consciously observant of my heartbeat. I allow myself to feel its beat. Feel the warmth of my chest.
And appreciate the following:
- Once ago, before this fully formed human body, my heart was listened to with an ultrasound machine. And this heart was once upon a time ago brought up onto a screen, with delighted parent(s) celebrating with joy.
- Through the tough trials and tribulations, and the moments I championed through, this heart was present, bringing life into those moments. This heart is always with me.
- I can trust my heart. It brings me life. And will be with me, until the end.
- When I forgive another and forgive myself, my heart lets go of pain and makes room—opens itself to new experiences. And allows rich experiences to be felt, as it no longer carries heavyweight from the past.
- I will carry and guide my heart, with dignity and respect.
Courage is Necessary
Courage is needed in all aspects of your life. It takes courage to be righteous. It takes courage, to speak out against the cruel and unjust. It takes courage to be vulnerable with another. It takes courage, sometimes to forgive—yourself or another.
And it will always take courage, to live this life truly fulfilled.
If love comes from the heart, use that love to fuel you, in moments where your courage is needed. After all, it’s your heart. And your heart is what unlocks courage, contentment, and gratitude (https://www.lianavibes.com/blog/happiness/).
Be safe & well.