Tag Archives: Cultivating Courage

Shower, Eat, and Meditate

janmorningskyEven though I’ve been posting Small Stones and I rewrote my About page, I’ve skipped some of my regular posts lately, didn’t do a Three Truths and One Wish this week, haven’t been Wishcasting regularly, and in general, I feel like I haven’t been “around” as much lately. And yet, it’s been a necessary shift.

This past week, I started as a teaching assistant for Mondo Beyondo. That course is even more amazing than I remember, and this time through, I’m seeing so many new things, still getting so much out of it for myself as a student. I’m so eager for Andrea to feel like it was right and good to ask me to help, and so excited for the wonderful people involved, so happy to be there that I have to be careful to not run around like a big clumsy Great Dane puppy, barking and knocking things over and generally annoying everyone with my enthusiasm. I’m trying to be really careful to keep the “volume” down, but I just love that class and Andrea’s work so much–but you already knew that. (P.S. Cultivating Courage starts on Monday, January 14th, and there’s still room in Mondo Beyondo).

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In other news, I’m trying not to panic that I have to start back at my paid work on Monday. This morning, I made a “Big To-Do” list of everything I have going on next week, in the hopes I could put that all aside, having it now organized, and not have to think about it anymore this weekend. That sort of worked, but then again all day I’ve been thinking today is Sunday, that I start back tomorrow, and that doesn’t feel nice.

Here’s the real issue: I currently have two full-time jobs, my paid work and my heart’s work. And it is about to get even crazier, because on Monday two more classes will start, Cultivating Courage and The Story of You. I have two long meetings next week, and had to schedule things like getting a haircut, going to the eye doctor, and having the plumber finally come fix our leaky sink in the bathroom, along with going back to CSU and doing that work.

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My strategy, my mantra has become “shower, eat, and meditate.” I already have a set morning routine, what happens from 4:30-8:00 am–feed the dogs, drink half a cup of coffee while I write my morning pages, check in with my email and Facebook and blog, and then either walk the dogs, go to yoga or the gym. Where I can get stuck is when I come back home to get ready for work, what happens between 8 and 9 am. I got in the habit while on break of “just checking one thing, real quick” before getting in the shower, which would usually lead to me being on the computer for two or three hours instead, and by then being so hungry that I’d eat whatever was fast, not what I really wanted or what was healthy, and once I showered, it would be so late, I’d think “I can’t meditate now, I have work I want to do, so I’ll meditate later,” and later never came because by the time I’d stop working, I was too tired, would allow myself to skip it.

So this mantra, “shower, eat, and mediate,” reminds me to take care of myself, both literally (these are the things I need to do first thing, that I seem to need help remembering, that I tend to skip in order to help or love someone else) and it also triggers a bigger remembering of necessary self-care, self-love, reminding me of the place to begin, to let go and come back to center.

And this busyness, this activity is just how things are going to have to be for awhile. Unless my fairy godmother shows up, I win the lottery, or a kind benefactor decides to fund my heart’s work, I need to keep my job that pays. As for the rest, I will keep taking tiny steps, dreaming my big dreams, anticipating mystery and magic and surprises, and learning to love and care for myself along the way. This is my life, and I am completely in love with it.

What I Learned in Cultivating Courage

I just finished the first session of Andrea Scher’s Cultivating Courage E-Course. In the course description, she says:

One conscious, brave choice — every day for 30 days. Who will you be on the other side?

During those 30 days, I developed a practice. I experienced inspiration, comfort, community, and a refined definition of courage. Here I am, on the other side, and this is who I am:

1. “I am larger and better than I thought. I did not know I held so much goodness.” ~Walt Whitman Every act of kindness is an act of bravery. My first thought often is something generous, but I usually stop myself, especially if a stranger is involved. I let those old, nasty voices about how I’m “too much” stop me, but this class, this practice has reminded me that this is my superpower, my nature, and maybe even my purpose.

2. I am not alone, and with a tribe, I am so much stronger. After 30 days in this class, I remember the importance of tribe, of communicating and connecting, of showing up and being vulnerable. Even though most of us in class were meeting each other for the first time, Andrea created a safe space, a secure container for our practice and our sharing, and we dared to be vulnerable, to connect. We quickly became a support team, a tribe of tender-hearted warriors practicing courage, encouraging each other and celebrating together.

3. What is an act of courage for me is just that, brave for me. Cultivating courage isn’t about becoming anyone else’s idea of brave. For me, right now, courage means cultivating confidence, the kind that Susan Piver describes as “the willingness to be as ridiculous, luminous, intelligent, and kind as you really are, without embarrassment.” Trusting myself, having faith in my own voice, showing up with an open heart, even when it’s hard and even when it hurts.

4. Courage doesn’t have to be big or bold. It can be quiet and gentle, soft and simple. You don’t have to save someone from a burning building, or make a grand gesture to be brave. As Mary Anne Radmacher says, “Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes courage is the little voice at the end of the day that says ‘I’ll try again tomorrow.’ ”

Andrea Scher is a maker of magic. She has a compassionate vision, and it’s so vivid, so vibrant that you can see it too, and this shared dream has the power to move you. You know immediately that you can trust her, and that with her support, amazing things are going to happen, you are going to happen.

P.S. One of the NaBloPoMo prompts this week was “What is the bravest thing you’ve ever done?” and another was “Tell us about your favorite pet.” As Andrea was putting together this course, she asked for courage stories, and the one I sent her was about my first dog, Obi, and having to let him go–the bravest and most loving thing I ever had to do. Andrea’s Cultivating Courage e-course has reminded me that this is who I am.