In David Whyte’s “Consolations: The Solace, Nourishment and Underlying Meaning of Everyday Words,” this passage about courage really struck me.
“Courage is a word that tempts us to think outwardly, to run bravely against opposing fire, to do something under besieging circumstance, and perhaps, above all, to be seen to do it in public, to show courage; to be celebrated in story, rewarded with medals, given the accolade. [Yet] to look at its linguistic origins is to look in a more interior direction and toward its original template, the old Norman French Coeur, or heart.
Courage is the measure of our heartfelt participation with life, with another, with a community, a work, a future. To be courageous, is not necessarily to go anywhere or do anything except to make conscious those things we already feel deeply and then to live through the unending vulnerabilities of those consequences. To be courageous is to seat our feelings deeply in the body and in the world: to live up to and into the necessities of relationships that often already exist, with things we find we already care deeply about: with a person, a future, a possibility in society, or with an unknown that begs us on and always has begged us on. Whether we stay or whether we go – to be courageous is to stay close to the way we are made.”
I read this and thought of the many clients I have seen demonstrate amazing courage. Courage to question what is working and what is not. Courage to let parts of themselves go to allow new parts to emerge. Courage to show up in their entirety – no matter how that looks. I never fail to feel immense honor when witnessing others in their courageousness.
Indeed, the word does come from the heart.
Much gratitude to @HappyIslandPeople for the use of your photo to accompany this article.