You get in life what you have the courage to ask for. -Oprah Winfrey
What do you have the courage to ask for? to claim? to speak? to face? to overcome? to change? to actualize in your life?
Courage always begins as an inner movement, an inner revolution to resist, transform, or transcend. Courage may take the form of a resounding "NO" that challenges what is unhealthy, oppressive, or harmful. Courage may also be a motivating "YES" to create, to shift, to evolve. We become aware of a call to something important, something we value-- maybe something we need, something we want, something to which we feel drawn or are strongly committed. Then the block appears, the obstacle, the challenge, the adversity. At that point we have a choice, to retreat or to engage. I think about the energy of courage as the energy of engagement, the energy to step to and step up, to push back and push on, to reach out and reach within, to stand with and stand ground.
In my body, I feel courage sometimes as the rootedness of resistance, and sometimes as a sense of being compelled to move forward. It feels like a force within-- sometimes a gentle, inviting force and sometimes that strong, insistent force of conviction. I'm also feeling courage as having a quality of growth. We can nurture our courage so that it becomes stronger within us and more available to use. Every time we activate our courage, we are creating and clearing a path to access it more easily the next time.
I'd like to offer few other expressions of the wisdom of courage from some Black women who have embodied courage in their lives.
"When I dare to be powerful, to use my strength in the service of my vision, then it becomes less and less important whether I am afraid." -Audre Lorde
"History has shown us that courage can be contagious, and hope can take on a life of its own." –Michelle Obama
"I have learned over the years that when one’s mind is made up, this diminishes fear.” —Rosa Parks
“Courage is the most important of all the virtues, because without courage you can't practice any other virtue consistently. You can practice any virtue erratically, but nothing consistently without courage.” -Maya Angelou
Courage facilitates manifestation. Many of the most important and fulfilling aspects of life will not happen without courage. Love requires courage. Liberation requires courage. Change requires courage. Success requires courage.
We must cultivate our courage. We can engage in small acts of courage everyday, things that others may not see, but that we know in ourselves reflect brave shifts within us. We can surround ourselves and intentionally connect with people and groups that inspire, support, model, and encourage our courage. We can honor and draw upon the courage of our ancestors whose brave lives have given us the spirit to live more courageously in our own.
How will you cultivate your courage this week?
With Peace, Love, and Soulfulness,
Dr. Shelly Harrell