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Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Courage

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April Moon day 1 - never too late to join! 

Courage

What feelings does this word evoke? What sorts of memories does it recall? Which of your senses start to tingle? How would you represent what this word means to you?

I sit at a dining table that is not my own, listening to the inane chatter of old men in the conservatory, and the clicking from a mouse across the table.

I am in a foreign country, and yet it feels as if I’m nowhere but home, with family. Same language, same customs.

I tell myself stories about what makes me anxious.  The tightening in my stomach, the shallow breathing, the incessant paranoid thoughts about what will go wrong, what I will forget. Travelling makes me anxious. Several different forms of transport, new directions, different language, all alone.

Mindfulness has given me access to the sensations in my body, and by checking in, I don’t feel the usual feelings of anxiety. By checking in with my body, where any anxious feelings would originate,I can establish whether the physical sensations are there, whether I have any reason to believe that I am stressed about the upcoming 7 hour journey to a different country. I remind myself that if my body is not tight, if I cannot feel the usual stuff related to anxiety, then I’m not actually nervous. It’s the power of habit, years of travelling nerves that have told me that I should be nervous as I’m leaving. I almost create the anxiety by believing that I should be anxious. This time I choose a different story. I choose to recognise that no, I’m not anxious at all, I’m actually a little excited to travel alone, and it will be fine. I will manage, even if by the time I get to the train station I have no idea which train to get. So I ask, and that solves the problem. Everyone speaks English here, and if not, then my broken Swedish/Danish/Scandinavian hodge podge will do.

It’s the courage to question my thoughts, the ones that tell me that I am to be anxious when I travel alone. I have been before, so why not now? It’s the courage to believe that I have grown as a person, that I am more confident in handling anything that comes my way.

This blog is based on courage. The courage to be vulnerable, to share my story, to go against the family motto of never talking about things. To question everything I am told. To like the people that I like, to be comfortable in my own skin, to establish an authenticity in my being, to be who I really am, without fear of judgment. Courage comes in many forms . This is the internal courage, the one that says, it’s ok to be me, in fact, it’s great to be me. It’s the only person I can reliably be, without being exposed as a fraud. It’s the courage to become my authentic self, to express my opinions, to leave toxic relationships behind, to act with compassion, to be open about my philosophy, and live by it.

To write this stuff down, and share it. To return to this blog, to take the leap to attempt to write something here everyday, to challenge the idea that I can’t commit to things.


This is courage.