Courage, my mindfulness focus for the week, was partially inspired by the first sprigs of yarrow in my garden. Yarrow (Achillea millifolium) is an ancient healing plant with the magical properties of protection and courage. Discovering the yarrow confirmed something I’d been feeling since midweek, as I was practicing invoking joy. After a heartbreaking conversation with a man who is currently homeless and next hearing about the death of a young person from an overdose, I was feeling a little challenged with invoking joy. At some point I thought what I really need to invoke is courage. And then synchronistically I found yarrow sprouting in my yard, confirming my practice this week.
Courage seems to be intimately connected to fear. Would we even have a word for courage if we didn’t know fear? I don’t feel particularly courageous most of the time, but I’m keenly aware of my fears sitting right on my shoulder. Yet courage is not about being fearless. Courage is feeling the fear and moving forward anyway. Being willing to look for the good in others, finding my voice to speak up about injustice, and trusting enough to connect with someone different than myself are all small acts of courage.“Sometimes even to live is an act of courage.” (1)
My goal this week is to be mindful of my own courage and the courage of others. I want to take note and support people showing courage: especially those experiencing fallout from hate and those standing up to hate.
In the middle of writing this post, my son texted me from the Wisdom 2.0 Conference to let me know that Jack Kornfield was speaking and it was being live streamed. As I tuned in I found he was talking about courage (another synchronisity) … the courage to witness our own sorrows and to open our hearts to hold the sorrows of others. That is profound and beautiful and a very large task. So I will see what I can do with it this week, deliberately tuning into my own courage, and recognizing it and supporting others as they step out in courage as well.
If you’d like to know more about my Mindfulness Focus Word Experiment click here.
(1) quote by Lucius Anaeus Seneca