“Over time I have come to believe that brave does not mean what we think it does.
It does not mean ‘being afraid and doing it anyway.’
Brave means listening to the still small voice inside and DOING AS IT SAYS.
Regardless of what the rest of the world is saying.
Brave people block out all the yelling voices and
listen to the deepest voice inside the quietest, stillest place in their heart….
Brave is VERY SPECIFIC and EXTREMELY personal.
It can’t be judged by people on the outside.
Sometimes brave means letting everyone else think you’re a coward.
Sometimes brave is letting everyone else down but yourself.
Brave people only answer to ONE voice and that is the voice that arises within.
Brave people are just people who trust themselves more than they trust the crowd.”
Sometimes you need to hide away from the world for a bit and care for yourself, body and soul, until strength and courage return. The past week has been such a time for me. Time for turning off my computer, shutting down my phone, and doing the things that ground me and make me feel safe and secure.
Time for learning a deeper kind of brave.
The weather seemed to think cocooning was a good idea too. The skies filled with dark clouds as wind howled through the trees with a spine-tingling roar, sending furniture, leaves, and branches hurtling across the yard.
So I closed my lovely book, held my tea between cold hands, and gave myself the gift of rest.
Cultivating a relationship of trust with myself has been difficult for me. For decades I’d believed lies that wonky religious leaders drummed into me, lies that said I was “deceitful above all things and desperately wicked” or that there was “nothing good in me, no nothing, nothing at all.” Reciting such things over and over to yourself each day tends to have a crippling effect on your spirit. I became my own enemy. I was afraid of myself, wary of anything I felt or thought that went against what others deemed acceptable. So I drowned myself out with busyness and constant activity, muffled my voice under layers of soul-crushing religious teachings that I parroted in an attempt to be thought “good enough”, and made myself invisible by disassociating and moving like an automaton through life. Silence and stillness became my enemies, for they were the moments when I tentatively tried to speak.
I’m so thankful to not be in that place of shame and self-loathing anymore. It turns out I’m not evil and wicked with nothing good in me. None of us are. We’re just human with the usual mix of good and not-so-good inside us. When we neglect ourselves, the bad bits come to the fore; when we nourish ourselves, the good grows stronger and we’re a light in the world.
I treasure silence and stillness now. They are my invaluable companions in helping me calm down and work through the scary, sad, hurtful, and bewildering things of this world with a settled heart.
I’m learning to live more mindfully, to be fully present in my day to day activities rather than disconnecting and disassociating, coping methods I had to have when I lived in such inner turmoil, that are no longer necessary or helpful.
Sometimes I forget how vital quietness, mindfulness, and self-care are. I get caught up in projects and deadlines and revert to my old habits of frantic busyness. But now that I’m responsible for me – a deliciously scary thing – I’m learning to stop, breathe, observe, and get back on track.
This week was my return to those good things after falling off the wagon again. Thankfully I no longer berate myself when I take a tumble, well, not too much. A simple, “Oh bugger!” will usually suffice, perhaps an apology or two to those who’ve suffered from my frantic bout of mind-numbing busyness (I’m looking at you, Bear), and then I start fresh.