Courage has nothing to do with our determination to be great. It has to do with what we decide in that moment when we are called upon to be more.
I woke up this morning thinking about my mother. I had been wondering what I would write about this month, and she gave me a clue. My mother died in December 2010, so it is extra special for me when she gives me these clues. When I was 17 and admitted to my mother, a dedicated Roman Catholic, that I didn’t believe in the religion in which she had raised me, and no longer intended to go to church, she responded with what I came to know as a signature mixture of profound pragmatism and far-sighted wisdom. “A faith, unquestioned, is one not worth having”, she said. Faith has gone on to be a gritty conundrum. Sometimes, in a curious mood, I imagine it being the eleventh component of a Thinking Environment. By faith I don’t necessarily mean what my parents would have meant. In many cultures the word “faith” will automatically be followed by the words “in God”. I am referring to it in a small “c” catholic way. The contract between someone choosing to think for themselves, and their thinking partner, is a prodigious one. Just because we know how to “do” it, doesn’t make it any less so. When someone chooses to see how far they can go, for themselves, in their own thinking (and feeling, and being), I believe they take an existential step of courage every time. This is an act of faith. And there are literally thousands of acts of what I would call faith that take place as we keep going, thinking for ourselves. Faith in our ability to figure it out, faith in our ability to choose – and perhaps one of the most outstanding moments of all, which can happen seen (sometimes) and unseen (many times), the choice to remove an untrue limiting assumption and replace it with the determination of a liberating true alternative assumption. Who says it’s true? You do. You, the thinker, the author, the one who will step forth into your life after the session is over and choose, over and over again, to be buoyed by the liberation. That, for me, is an act of faith. Whenever we choose to think for ourselves we exercise the right to be more of ourselves, for ourselves, in the way we are living our lives. And this is an act of faith. We, by whom I mean those of us who have chosen to live our lives as much like a symphony as we can, are bombarded with a cacophony of impediments on a daily basis. Anxiety-inducing threat abounds: climate change, Trump, Brexit, the inexorable (it appears) rise (again) of the far right in politics, factionism, fake news, and the plethora of personal challenges we each face daily. Frankly, in this climate, I think getting out of bed in the morning is an act of faith. The world in which we live poses a risk to the wellbeing of our being human. I watched a beautiful, short movie clip this week in which the protagonist speaks of the disconnection with which we live, these days, from the very things that have made us human in the first place. https://youtu.be/HtBg51gMDck The choice to restore the living of our lives to a dance with the planet, and to those conditions that nurture our wellbeing, is going to take a great deal of faith. Confidence literally means “with faith”. Until next month, I wish us all the courage, the confidence, the faith to step into each moment and make of the circumstances what we can, so that we fertilize our lives with the necessary courage to be the more we need to be.