I don’t think my life is out of the ordinary; that I’ve endured any more or less than anyone else. I’ve had some blissfully happy days and others that left me breathlessly afraid and alone. Everyone has their own internal struggles and battle scars that, if we’re lucky, we share with one- maybe two trusted souls. We clumsily straddle this teeter totter called life rising and falling between who we think we need to be and who we are meant to be. We stretch ourselves as far as we can hoping to feel the earth under the very tip of our toes so we can feel balance- if even for a second -all while being fully aware that life has the ability to throw us into the mouth of the beast or guide us ever so gently to our minds eye vision of paradise.
I was talking with a trusted soul yesterday and I made the comment that I’m not any more intelligent than anyone in the room on any given day but I try to be a person of action and that’s what sets me; what separates a lot of people apart from others. Action lingers somewhere between the differences in intention and intent. Intention isn’t much more than what you have in mind to do while intent is deliberate and reasoning. There are times those two words are interchangeable but not always. Think about the way we handle ourselves, literally. I can’t think of one person that doesn’t have the intention for wonderful and wild things happen to and for them. But, we fight off and fuck around with notions of timing and at what point we’ll be worthy. Do we actually believe that losing 20 pounds, or making a failing relationship work, or meeting some social prerequisite of beauty or success will make us worthy? We are creating a battle zone within ourselves and, at the end of the day, when we should be able to turn inward and feel proud for even stepping out of bed and making a fucking effort, we turn on ourselves and add to the list of reasons why we aren’t enough for our dreams, for our goals, for a better version of ourselves.
Piss on intention. Get out from behind another soft, fluffy noun and move forward with intent. Make a goal- and smash it. Take a series of small steps and rejoice in the fact that regardless of how fast your going or how far you’ve travelled you’re still leaving footprints leading from the past towards some type of progress; towards your future. Not every personal victory will have a parade celebrating you on a grand scale. Some victories will lie in not overreacting to situations, or taking the time to truly listen and learn from someone. They will come in the form of smiles from the love of your life, from your friends, and from people who are inspired and awe struck by the art of you living your life.
I’ve conquered obstacles in my life. One of the greatest has been myself. As I move through the winding road of grief I’ve lost my way, and I’ve even tripped on my own feet. I’ve felt the sting of exposing my soul to allow healing in. I’ve never felt more vulnerable than the moments I’ve spent alone, with my own thoughts, completely lost. I’m not certain there is anything that compares to grief but I believe any leap of faith can have that type of emotional impact. We go from wearing our most comfortable, warm sweater to watching it unravel as it’s snagged on the jagged nail of change. If we are brave enough to stand cold and naked, face to face with our fears of failure and all unknowns and all the other things that are meant to break us it’s only then, in those moments of vulnerability, that we will find out what we’re made of and how quickly we’ll start to knit our new sweater and nestle in the warm arms of the present.
The root of the word courage is cor- the Latin word for heart. In it’s earliest form the word courage had a completely different meaning. It meant to speak one’s mind by telling one’s heart. We have a tendency to label ourselves with something we can identify with. Mom, Dad, student, single, athlete, professional, milkman, fireman, rich, poor….the list could go on and on. What if we took the original definition of courage and spoke of who we are through our hearts instead of what we are from our minds and clouded thoughts? The people I love dearly are bright, warm, caring, loveable, capable, creative, devoted, joyful, intriguing, provoking, flawed, talented, gorgeous, soulful…..all these things…..they are the things that can’t be labeled; the things that don’t require prerequisites or a perfect time. They are the things that take courage to show and they are the things that take courage to believe in so we can see us for who we are and who we’re meant to be.
I know an extraordinary person, that says with frequency, “Just be better.” It’s primarily in jest to the sheep like mentality of the generations that storm social media to gather the most current measurements of what’s acceptable and tolerable. So in closing I’ll take his tag line and challenge YOU to be better. Be better at practicing courage from your heart to see yourself without the labels, without the opinions of others, and without doubt.