One of the things I do is meet regularly with groups of people virtually and in-person. I ask them (and myself) to reflect on a particular aspect of what it means to be human. Over tea or coffee, find out what we can about this part of ourselves. Get an actual cup of coffee, tea or whatever we are drinking and give the same to that part of ourselves. Literally imagine that this part has shown up in some form and we are going to welcome it and have a conversation with it. The goal being to move towards a greater acceptance of our nature as human beings. Making peace with all aspects of who we are.
My experience is that the more I do that, the more I am at peace with the world and its peoples. Others have found this to be the case also. Last month’s suggestion was for each of us to sit with and get to know more about our “Courageous Selves.”
The following was what happened for me as I sat with my courageous self. I am very aware of what is happening on the world scene. I am also aware of what is happening for me on a micro scale. Challenging would be a good word to describe both.
In the most important world - that outside of me:
I am challenged to have the courage to do what I hear over and over again from those most affected; that a person like me can do in times like this that helps them most. Listen to them. Believe them.
I am challenged to have the courage to be not just a passive listener (listening when I hear someone talking) but to be proactive. Listening to the voices that have spoken in the past, since what is happening today has been happening for centuries. They speak of the very things that I am hearing from people today. Trusting that listening well will result in me doing the next right thing. Reducing the chances that (by my actions or inaction) I may make things worse.
I am challenged to have the courage to speak up when my listening leads to themes that need to be passed on, carrying the message on behalf of those who don’t have access to the small part of the world I inhabit.
I am challenged to have the courage to keep looking up and experience what is happening, when every survival tool in my psyche would encourage me to look down and pretend it isn’t happening. Or that it isn’t relative to my life, or it is too much of something (overwhelming, complicated, etc.)
I am challenged to have the courage to not ignore but pay intense attention to what is happening to those who live lives of perpetual fear, agony, grief and terror. To continue to experience such things vicariously. Be a solemn witness to the very worst of what human beings can do to each other.
In my personal, Micro World:
I am being challenged to be courageous enough to listen to the voice that is speaking to me about what I do and don’t want to do anymore.
I am challenged to be courageous enough to accept who I am, what I can do, who I am not, and what I don’t choose to do; all of which have significant consequences.
I am challenged to be courageous enough to stand up to powerful people and entities asking things of me, suggesting that in doing so, I will be helping others, in a way that represents an actual surrendering of who I am, and all the rights afforded me by the society I live in.
I am challenged to be courageous enough to stand up to those who mindlessly ask things of me (often the very essence of who I am) so that they may be in a greater position to experience personal fame, fortune, opportunity, and power.
I am challenged to be courageous enough to realize that there will always be a “they,” who like vultures feasting on carrion, will continue doing that until the bones are turned to dust. And that I cannot depend on their sensitivity or good will for relief.
I am challenged to accept that the “theys” will not stop of their own volition, it is I who must say “no” and pay the consequences and feel the full impact of that in terms of the loss of the pseudo-connections that are quite often the product of such transactional relationships.
I am challenged to have the courage to look at ways that I might be behaving in exactly the same ways. I am challenged to have the courage to accept what I can do and measure that against what I would like to do, surrendering the latter.
I am challenged to have the courage to accept that people don’t define “right” the same way I do and recognize that my naivete is often not an asset to me, or my loved ones.
I am challenged to have the courage to accept that my desire and drive to help others exceeds my ability to do so, and in doing that, am affected by the suffering of people I care about and the pain and sense of failure that I feel.
I’m wondering what your courageous self would have to say to you today, if you sat down and had a cuppa with it.