Artist’s Credit – Transfiguration (Oil on Canvas painting) by Hazel Bartram-Birchenough. View this art and other artwork at the Episcopal Church and Visual Art‘s “Worship The Lord in the Beauty of Holiness” Exhibit.
I published my most recent podcast episode on CircuOsity, I’m Curious about Courage. I was inspired by some events that happened last week, including Glenda Cedarleaf’s Morning Courage meditation. (on Insight Timer).
Glenda pointed out an important quote by E.E. Cummings . Cummings wrote:
It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are.”
Cummings, as a non-traditional poet, understood this truth more closely than most of us. It takes courage to become someone that you should be and fear becoming. Brene’ Brown suggests rightly that: “To love ourselves and support each other in the process of becoming real is perhaps the greatest single act of daring greatly.”
I don’t consider myself as being all that courageous. I still revert back to the fears and tribulations of coming out as a gay man and the struggles of being married as a gay couple. My inner critic enjoys raising up those disturbing thoughts rather than instead focusing on how those and other cruciform moments have impacted me to become more wholehearted, authentic, and truly close to who I should become rather than who I’ve been.
Here’s some of what I’m observing and learning about courage. It is through my intentional use of my VIA Institute on Courage Character Strengths that I’m gaining some wisdom about why and how our world needs more courageous leaders. More specifically, I may not be all that brave; yet, I do love to learn and I’m creative when I’m motivated to lead. As a faithful and collaborative person, I am becoming increasingly objective about incorporating Circle Way and Way of Love skills and practices in order to become more comfortable with being vulnerable and less anxious.
Let me offer a bit of a roadmap towards how you and I may become more authentically who we are as we grow into the human being we should become and live into The Divine’s will for our lives.
- Courage – resides at the core of our pilgrimage as a human being
- What do we put in our backpack for the journey. What will serve as compasses for when we become lost, deserted, or otherwise feel separate from the Ground of Our Being. Here are some “Must-Haves.”
- Sense of Purpose
- Devoted and rigorous rituals of Planning/ Prayer
- Who is going with me? (Beloved Friends)
- Identifying and remembering Driving Forces/Restraining Forces.
- Lots of Contemplative Silence (I recommend this chime).
- Each of us possesses a unique spark/essence of The Divine.
- Our essence (shard of light) is uniquely ours and cannot be extinguished.
- I have a capacity in my soul for taking in God entirely. I am as sure as I live that nothing is so near to me as God. God is nearer to me than I am to myself; my existence depends on the nearness and presence of God. (Eckhart – Sermon on the nearness of God)
- The illusions of our ego and mortal wounds and experiences act both as resisting and driving forces.
- How we contemplate and act upon these truths shapes our journey into a deeper and more authentic realization of ourselves.
- The Divine is (un)knowingly closer to us that we believe.
- We are ever connected to The Source of our Lives just as that same Source is working out its purpose through us.
- The Circle Way informs us that the essence of our conversations with our own selves and other people must be about listening and speaking in honest, attentive ways.
- What will we consider, do, contemplate, and adapt courageously?
- The Sacred relationships that we have with ourselves, The Divine, and our beloved family and friends equip us to accept each day’s regenerative endeavors.
- Courage requires resolve, and re-creation.
- We resolve to undertake the pilgrimage.
- Society’s comforts, for those of us who live generally leisurely lives, are impactful and frequently delaying or deterring us from the journey.
- Secular habits may inhibit us from undertaking the pilgrimage toward our soul’s deepest desires.
- Life’s daily responsibilities along with our ego’s yearning for worldly success also offer resistances.
- Procrastination based upon previous experience and errors is another reason for not embarking upon the spiritual and practical quests of our human existence.
- Resolve is much more than wishing something to be true.
- Resolve requires much more of us than we can muster under normal conditions.
- We re-create ourselves constantly as we engage in our life’s work.
- Re-creation happens thru a step by step maturing process.
- Life’s teachers arrive when we are ready for them.
In summary, courageous human beings ritualistically contemplate what they are learning. This is an intentional initiative. They encounter pain and suffering an accept it, truthfully. (Watch this Lewis Howes interview with Jordan Peterson). Courageous leaders let go of anything that is unhelpful while engaging in experiments that provide paths toward maturity.
In my podcast I offer listeners (and you readers)
- Why are you on this planet?
- What gifts do you have that you’ve not fully developed?
- What do you offer to the world that no one else is offering or can offer in the same way that you do?
- Planning/ Prayer
- What’s your plan? What’s your prayer/Contemplation
- Do you begin, check In, and end most everyday connected to your yearning?Do you have a “sobering” mechanism for the moments when you’re swept away by competing priorities, distractions, and disgust?
- Who is going with you? (Beloved Friends)
- Definitely listen to this Pat Metheny’s song
- Be thankful – overtly for your sacred Contracts (shorter/longer term)
- What transformational qualities do you and your beloved friends share with one another?
- How do you prevent yourself or them from becoming isolated?
- What is the covenant that you have signed?
- Take time to Identify and Respond to the seen and unseen Driving Forces/Restraining Forces in your life.
- Start w/ Lewin’s Force Field Analysis
Human beings generally decide not to take huge risks. If you truly wish to become really who you are – these are some of the steps that you must devote yourself to pray about, do on a daily basis, contemplate with yourself and in your circles, and adapt as life’s unforeseeable and uncontrollable occurrences happen. Failure is a necessary and blessed option. Choosing to continue is a must for all of us and for The Divine.
If you have a chance to accomplish something that will make things better for people coming behind you, and you don’t do that, you are wasting your time on this earth.
How you and I contemplate and act upon these truths shapes our journey into a deeper and more authentic realization of ourselves. We will create a kinder and healthier world with these practices – one moment, hour, day at a time.
Blessings along The Way, Jim