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What is Courage?

Courage is the will and the willingness
to embrace and fully feel your fear
as you take actions and risks
in service to your highest commitments
and deepest desires.

Courage is created; it is chosen.
And it is chosen in the moment.
It is always available to you.
It is always an open door,
you can always walk through it or not.
Courage cannot be stored or built up.
It's inaccurate to say that you "have courage"
or you "don't have courage."
It's accurate to say that you "choose courage"
or "choose to feel safe in the moment
rather than choose courage."

Many of us appear to choose courage when,
in fact, the courage we choose
is only "standing on one of three legs."

Almost all of us are masters
at suppressing, denying, camouflaging,
contracting against, and/or pushing away
(or trying to argue away) our fear.
We do this for the deadening, anesthetic effect
we expect it to have on our fear.

Full courage includes
full acknowledgment, experience,
and illumination of our fear,
while we are taking the appropriate actions.
It also includes an acknowledgment and honoring
of ourselves for choosing the courage -
regardless of the outcome.

Courage exists independent of the outcome.
Choosing courage (or not choosing courage)
is neither good nor bad, neither right nor wrong.
It is simply a choice,
with associated benefits and costs.

A life primarily oriented
toward the choice of courage
will give you one kind of life -
a life you will love.
A life primarily oriented
toward the choice of feeling safe and secure
will give you another kind of life -
a life of survival and withdrawal.
It's okay to want to feel safe and secure.
We all want that.
But, when feeling safe and secure becomes
your primary orientation
(usually by default),
then you are living a life of avoidance,
rather than a life of inspiration.

- J. Dwight GoldWinde, October 24, 1991 -


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