What is courage?January 28, 2019
I never thought of this until today while listening to Glennon Doyle and Abby Wambach in their On Being talk with Krista Tippett…..there is rage in courage. What? Courage comes from cor (heart in Latin) and age (with) = with your heart. Or in Brene Brown’s language, wholeheartedness. Where does ‘rage’ come in? This seems at odds…..with your whole heart seems loving, kind, yet rage or raige in Old French, refers to madness, spirit, passion – or rabies in Old English – you get the idea. Wild heart, maybe?
Many years ago at my first yoga training, we were asked to identify a word that we could become, grow into, a way of being that would spark our higher nature and our fullest life. A word that identified what we desired to take from the fire of transformation that our week-long, 14 hour per day yoga practice would birth for us. Mine was courage. One does not choose their word from a rationalized process or dictionary. The word comes from the spiritual world and lands on your head like bird poop in a Roman alleyway. How is it that my whole heart and my rage can be activated at the same time? For me, I’ve come to learn that there is a sense of injustice in the world that I aim to redress while at the same time loving the difficult, heart-wrenching problems that enter my office in my work as a psychologist. Wholehearted with people who show up, and at the same time incensed by the trauma and heartbreak that the people I treat have endured. I can tell you firsthand, it takes a lot of courage to show up. If I bring only wholeheartedness, I will break from the gory details of their suffering. If I bring only rage, I will be unable to empathize enough to be helpful. There is rage is courage, and I’m glad I can sit with the light and the dark of this growing capacity within, and assist those who show up in my office with my whole heart, while activating my rage to reach upstream toward the problems that brought them to my office to begin with. It helps a lot. Thank you Glennon and Abby.