Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Awakening Your Courage

               I used to equate being courageous with daring to take unbridled risks.  More recently, I was given a new definition of courage.  I was at a workshop when I noticed  this willow tree angel pictured below with the arms held high with such openness. I thought for sure that it represented freedom or openness. I was surprised when I looked and saw that it was stamped with the word, courage.  Another woman had brought it with the intention of giving it to whomever was drawn to it. 

            So I now define courage as the freedom to be fully myself and the openness to whatever life brings my way.  This also comes from knowing that there is a much larger purpose for my life even when the bigger picture still remains a blur.  I may not be able to control what happens, but I get to decide what I give meaning to in my life. 

              No matter how hopeless your circumstances may appear to be, there is always hope.  It's true.  Each challenge or conflict can be viewed as an opportunity for continued growth, allowing you to exercise your strengths and hidden gifts.  This does not mean that you must permanently suffer or dwell in poverty in order to fulfill your highest potential.  It means that you are to look deeper into each experience and move forward with deliberate confidence.  When you trust that everything is how it needs to be and seek to learn what every experience is meant to teach, fear will begin to dissolve. 

           It is often helpful to take a step back, rest and recharge before moving forward.  This allows for greater clarity and a better sense of vision and purpose as you turn inward to consider your next steps.  You are a creative being and you do hold the answers within you. 

           Also, consider reaching out for support.  It is easy to feel disconnected when you feel alone or choose to isolate yourself.  That sense of disconnection often leads to despair.  It often helps to share your feelings aloud with someone who is willing to listen without judgment and not be so quick to offer advice.   

             Being courageous is not simply about overcoming fear.  Courage comes when you can stay the course and continue to make decisions that are aligned with who you truly are, even when the path seems unpopular, unclear or uncertain.   

            Uncertainty means that anything is possible.  There are times when the “odds” will be in your favor and you still may not get the desired outcome.  Other times, there is no other explanation for your good fortune other than the grace of God.  That is the beauty of life—knowing that anything and everything is possible. 

Exercise: Think back to a time when you did something you had previously feared.  What was the outcome?  What did you learn about yourself?  How did you feel after?  Now, awaken your courage, by facing any new challenge or opportunity with possibility and excitement. 

Love and Blessings to you,

Kathleen  O'Malley

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