Tag Archives: challenge

Building your Courage Arsenal

Courage has many faces. As with beauty, so is fear in the eye of the beholder. Something that requires a degree of courage for me, may in fact be effortless for you. For example, several of my friends have lately raved about zip lining. However, in spite of their enthusiasm and reassurances that it is quite risk free, I am resistant. Zip lining is considered a pretty tame activity for outdoor enthusiasts, but… Still I am I fearful. Why?

I have a fear of physical exposure engendered by an accident. When my partner and I lived in Thailand, we had a serious motorcycle mishap. A careless driver drove his bike into us at fairly high speed while we were making a legal right turn on ours. I was catapulted off the bike for some feet, planting my face squarely on the pavement.

Luckily I was wearing a helmet with a brim, which kept most of my face damage free. When I picked myself up, I realized I had broken one of my front teeth from the impact. My right leg was also quite badly hurt. Thankfully it was not broken, but there was significant soft tissue damage. This took months to heal completely so that I could walk 100% pain-free.

The challenge of ingrained fears

We bought a larger motorcycle (and better helmets!) and traveled that way for the duration of our years in Thailand. It was simply the most suitable transportation choice for various reasons. But every single time I rode on the bike, I had to overcome the fear of having another accident. Riding a motorcycle became an exercise in courage. Life had presented me with a situation that forced me to push my internal boundaries.

Risk to push your fear boundaries

This little story is just part of a larger one. Some years ago, we sold all of our material possessions to travel and see some of the world. This is highly unusual; there are not many examples or mentors for this life path. And, in the North American culture it went against the model of what is expected in a person’s midlife. We were “supposed to be” accumulating the material signs of success, not throwing them away. We did not conform to the required formula for life.

Before we left, someone said to me, “You are brave, Susan.” I remember shrugging it off as nothing. But, now in retrospect I would respond, “Yes, I am”. For are we not all, when we push the boundaries of our comfort level? And, particularly when it does not conform to the dictates of society?

Facing fears builds moxie and grit

Life is full of choices. Some are small, others large. And the big ones inevitably present us with trials that embody one fear or another. Based on my experiences, I believe that facing our fears and moving through them does in fact help us to build a “courage arsenal”. As with love, our moxie and grit expand the more we use them. I’ve discovered new worlds, as well as abilities in myself, that I never would have without taking some risk. In the final analysis, that has been the great reward.

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Photo courtesy Quang Nguyen Vinh, Pexels

Related Hart Haiku post here.

susanlhart

Building your Courage Arsenal © Susan L Hart 2019

Our Losses & their Lessons | HartHaiku.com

Our Losses & their Lessons

“Michelangelo knew… A most powerful tool of the Master Sculptor, Loss is.” Loss is a life teacher, and our losses may be our hardest learning. But just as chiseling away the marble revealed Michelangelo’s masterpiece David, so does loss sculpt the beauty of our souls.

Our losses carry fear with them

Beyond loss itself, we consequently grapple with fear of it. The void that loss creates in us feels gigantic and black. Fear of more loss becomes crippling. Potentially it keeps us from risking anything that might repeat it. And of course, the losses we take around love feel the most brutal. We open our hearts, and sometimes they are crushed.

It is only by moving through the fear that we finally achieve the fullness of loss lessons. When we can acknowledge and embrace the good that came out of our losses, we are able to move on to risk again. Taking risk, being willing to make mistakes, reaching out for all that life has to offer in the face of potential loss, leads to great growth and gains.

My poem about Michelangelo and his creation of the famous sculpture David is a metaphor for how loss lessons grow our souls. Interestingly, the statue depicts the legendary David, of David and Goliath fame. David risked his life to take on the giant, an act of courage and faith.

Loss Unveils the Masterpiece

Michelangelo knew …

A most powerful
tool of the Master Sculptor,
Loss is.
It was the taking
away that unveiled
breathtaking David
to the world.

“I saw the angel
in the stone and
set him free.”
Inside every raw
slab of marble
awaits a masterpiece
to be revealed.

We are all
magnificent works
of art in progress.
And losing a beloved
is perhaps the
greatest Master
chisel of all.

We gasp, clasping
our hearts when
our loved one dies
or leaves us.
How will we ever
risk to love again?
And yet, we do.

For in our loss
we learn to cherish
the value of love.
We understand
the power and
importance of “now”.
And we grow.

Love is the fine grit
that hones the
rough broken edges
to a polished glow.
The answer to our
growth lies within
the problem itself.

Michelangelo, you said
God guided your hand.
And in the taking away,
you revealed
astonishing Beauty.
David is your work of Love,
and a lesson for us all.

Our Losses and their Lessons

susanlhart

Our Losses & their Lessons © Susan L Hart 2019
Loss Unveils the Masterpiece © Susan L Hart 2017-2019