Some time ago a friend introduced me to an inspiring California based organisation called the Bioneers, a hub of social and scientific innovators ‘inspiring a shift to live on Earth in ways that honour the web of life, each other and future generations.’
I ploughed through their website and followed links, watching videos, listening to podcasts and reading books, these innovators shared their experiences, research and ideas and what struck me in everything I saw and read was the courage and humility these inspiring human beings radiated. The respect they had for each other, and for mother earth..and the understanding that nothing they did was alone, that we’re in fact all working together.
Listening to story after story of inspiring human beings exploring the connection of life I was struck by the courage they showed in sharing their experiences with the world. I wanted to move to California immediately to be with ‘my tribe’ until I took a deep breath and listened again. Their sharing’s had nothing to do with where they lived…it was about the absolute dedication and commitment to Being the change they wished to see they were demonstrating. They were inspiring others simply by having the courage to speak from the Heart and allowing their actions to be aligned with the commitment of the Heart.
They speak of a change of Heart that honours the unity and intrinsic value of all life and they show how great a difference one person can make, and also how community makes the difference. It demonstrated to me a living example of how inextricably connected ‘heart’ and ‘courage’ are.
It got me reflecting on this word courage…and how it is so inherently connected to the heart…it’s no coincidence that the word stems from the Latin ‘cor‘ meaning heart…which in spanish is corazon. So it should be absolutely no surprise that the english word ‘core: to be at the very centre; the part of something that is central to its existence or character‘ is also derived from this same latin root ‘cor’….boom once again all paths lead us back to the heart!
“Courage is a heart word. The root of the word courage is cor – the Latin word for heart. In one of its earliest forms, the word courage meant “To speak one’s mind by telling all one’s heart.” Over time, this definition has changed, and today, we typically associate courage with heroic and brave deeds. But in my opinion, this definition fails to recognize the inner strength and level of commitment required for us to actually speak honestly and openly about who we are and about our experiences — good and bad. Speaking from our hearts is what I think of as “ordinary courage.” ~ Brene Brown
So if the courage to speak our Heart is inherent within our essential nature…the very core of who we are and what we are here to live..why do we still fail to really honour this inner strength and commitment?
Earlier this year I came face to face with one way in which I was allowing my actions to come from a place of fear rather than love…where I wasn’t being courageous…where I wasn’t speaking the Heart…and as I imagine it is for many other – it was in my intimate relationships with those I thought I was loving the most. Holding onto childhood abandonment experiences I somewhere along the way never quite let go of the fear based (mis)perception that I needed to always keep a piece of myself…my Heart..safe..when diving into love.
When I looked closely I began to see all the little ways I had been playing down the love I felt in my Heart, the way I kept my Heart hidden and my voice silent…in fear of rejection and abandonment. I played small in my relationships and although they were loving, there was always a deep deep longing for more..there was something my heart longed for that wasn’t being satisfied, and that was to speak it’s truth…to BE and to express love completely and to allow the Heart to be seen and heard completely.
Then I was blessed to meet an incredible giant hearted man who from the moment we met showed me what it looked like to speak from the heart, to act from a place of love, to trust in love, to put a voice to the feelings of the heart without fear of future loss or hurt….he wasn’t worried about how long we were going to be together or if by loving me completely now there may be hurt later if we didn’t ‘last’.
It was in seeing this that I finally understood how much I had been suppressing love in order to avoid future hurt…suppressing joy in order to reduce any possible hurt in the future…suppressing my capacity to be alive and in love in the present moment…for fear of losing something in the future. And I started to realise just how much my desire to protect ‘myself’ was creating this crazy illusion of separation and was in fact keeping me from the love that I so deeply longed to feel. And I’m sure that it’s not only with lovers that I do this…when I reflect I can see how even with my best girlfriends…and my family…those I’m closest to I still carry this crazy notion of protection with me. Why?
Do we really believe that we need to not to trust each other, to keep our voices small and hidden, to keep our hearts hidden? Do we really think that exposing our truth, our authenticity makes us vulnerable, and that vulnerability equals weakness? Maybe this is what we’ve learnt over time, but I truly don’t think this is what we believe. For me personally it’s way past time now to find the voice of my/the Heart, to bring back the essence of this word courage, and to speak from the Heart…to bravely step forward in all that I do in authenticity and to see that this vulnerability is not a weakness it is an incredible strength and is at the very core of my capacity to connect with Life.
How can we ever expect to be truly seen or heard if we aren’t prepared to express the truth of the Heart…the very core of who we are? How are we to truly live this life and to BE Love and live in love with this life if we aren’t courageous enough to allow the voice of our Heart to be seen and heard?? This voice of the Heart is Love, the very essence, or truth of who we are. Because really there is nothing else in this existence that could hurt us more than denying or suppressing the truth of who we are.
The very ironic thing is that the intimate relationship that blessed me with this insight came to an end at the very moment I thought I was opening my heart and letting go of the idea of the need for protection. Once again life had another plan for me! As much as the experience was a painful one it was nothing but a beautiful invitation to keep my Heart open, and to witness all the ways I still want to close it to keep myself safe. From the Heart came the invitation to see the safe container within myself I had been searching for…and to begin to have the courage to express to myself the truth of what I was experiencing. To allow a safe space for everything that needed to arise, to arise…including the rage, the sadness & the grief. And when I began to be honest with myself I also began to find healthy outlets for the safe expression of these feelings…which for me is writing, music and my family…and I began to feel the resonance with strength and courage again.
So somehow all of these experiences helped me see this common thread between us all..how our interconnectedness weaves directly in with the thread of courage…the courage to be outrageously authentic..to express the Heart…to myself and to others…to not shy away from the truth of what I’m feeling, to not back down from life in all of its unknown and uncertainty. To me this is having the courage to make the commitment of living life in the Heart each and every moment and that feels like the most authentic and important commitment I could ever make.
May we all stand naked in the truth of our Hearts and begin to let the beauty of the Heart radiate, touching each other and the world around us <3
“Courage is the willingness to not know.
To speak your truth. To walk your path.
To face ridicule and rejection.
To keep going, despite the voices in your head and the judgements of others.
And there are no guarantees you will make it.
Nobody can walk for you!
You walk in radical aloneness, naked in the face of life,
no protection, no crutches, no external authority.
No ideology to save you.
No promises anymore.
Only the beating of the heart, and the air in the lungs,
and the thrill and terror of being utterly free, and no longer numb.
And knowing from deep within.
And the call of your ancestors.
And the ground holding you.
And the sun nourishing you.
And the fragrance of love everywhere.
And warm tears running down your cheeks.
And this gorgeous vulnerability
Which makes you totally unbreakable.”
~ Jeff Foster