Courage

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Courage

“Courage is what preserves our liberty, safety, life, and our homes and parents, our country and children.  Courage comprises all things.”

Plautus

For as long as I can remember, every Monday morning, I think of a subject that I want to focus on in the coming week.  I never know exactly what it will be in advance, but the ideas seem to materialize on their own; although, I rather think they come from listening to the pulse of our global world.  We live in a highly interconnected planet where the stories, photos, and videos carry messages from one side to the other with the swiftness of what was once considered science fiction.

Today, my thought was “courage.”  The world is full of courageous people who are, at this very moment, facing difficult circumstances in their struggle to overcome inequality and oppression.  We admire and applaud the remarkable courage demonstrated in times of danger and conflict.  But courage, most often takes on a more subtle guise, so as to be mistaken as ordinary or overlooked altogether.

This week, I want to explore the meaning of courage within our daily interactions. Courage is defined as the capacity to do something that frightens you, the ability or quality of dealing with or facing danger, fear, pain, and the resolve to act in accordance with your value and belief system. Perhaps, courage brings us the closest to understanding the nature of our humanity.

“If we are to survive, we must have ideas, vision and courage.  These things are rarely produced by committees.  Everything that matters in our intellectual and moral life begins with an individual confronting his own mind and conscience in a room by himself.”

Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr.

39 thoughts on “Courage

  1. Really like that last quote, of having the intellectual and moral courage to face not the honest judgement of others, but of the self. To forge such a beginning is to have an inexhaustible source of inner strength.

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    • I agree – gives new meaning to the definition of courage. Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr. has an interesting personal history.

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    • I can see why – he is universal. “Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts. Winston Churchill

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  2. I don’t know but I belive people will be born with courage. Do you think, courage can be learn? I hope so but I don’t know it.

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    • A profound question, Susanne! And one that I will be thinking of going forward. I think courage resides within in and is seen when we take our very first breath. Whether courage is learned or whether it develops is an excellent discussion point. Let me think on this more…

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      • It’s the same question if it possible to learn to be creative! I’am standing up for a few minutes and I’ts early morning in Berlin. I know, you will be go in bed and it is night in canada…. good night sends you Susanne

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      • Yes, it is 11:30! I think that creativity takes a great deal of courage, because it is in this state that you are forging new ground and new ideas. Have a wonderful day!!!

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  3. A great subject, Rebecca. Life, itself, demands courage from us, especially if we are to live it to the full. I am reminded of the words of John O’Donahue: “May I have the courage, today, to live the life that I would love, to postpone my dream no longer, but do at last what I came here for, and waste my heart on fear no more.” Blessings, dear friend.

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    • Thank you for sharing the words of John O’Donahue. You have given the benediction to our discussion. “do at last what I came here for, and waste my heart on fear no more.”

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    • And I am looking forward to you sharing your wisdom. Speaking of Winston Churchill – he said: “Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen.” I really can’t envision him sitting still for anything.”

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    • I agree wholeheartedly. Live, work and think – it takes an enormous amount of courage to live openly, honestly and with intention of doing good.

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  4. Everyday courage is mostly overlooked or taken for granted, so I’m looking forward to this week’s posts!

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    • Thank you so much for your presence and comments. When my son was about 4 years old, I had to go in for some medical tests. Just as I went into the doctors office, he said to me, “Be brave, mommy.” Years have passed since that time, yet those three words have come to mind every time I face a challenge. Courage is found in unlikely places…

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  5. Great posting, assessing courage (like being charitable), is an essentially an enquiry into morals and values. Hume presented a good case for the traits and characteristics of moral courage, in his philosophy.
    Sent from my BlackBerry® wireless device

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    • Thank you! David Hume once said, “It’s when we start working together that the real healing takes place… it’s when we start spilling our sweat, and not our blood.” It takes a great deal of moral courage to work together.

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      • I completely agree with Hume. and it is together (as the Reverend Desmond Tutu says) that we can make a community. It involves constructiveness, debate, courage, commitment and openess. Openness to change even if we fear that change is uncomfortable, and difficult to come to terms with. Going back to M Scott Peck, he wrote much around facing change; with authentically and with great passion.

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      • I agree wholeheartedly with your thoughts on change. As I grow older, I recognize that our propensity to accept change is determined by choices made years in the past. The genesis of change is an inward decision to embrace not only was is at this very moment, but the fear that comes from peering into an unknown future. For me this is courage: to generously and passionately participate in our world, accepting our personal destiny with grace and equanimity. As you said so eloquently, “it is together that we can make a community.”

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  6. Perhaps the most courageous of persons are those brave souls with little resources or without anyone to aid them. Their struggle to feed and put clothes on their little family is huge. Courage wears many faces.

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    • I agree – those are the truly courageous. I especially appreciate J. K. Rowling perspective, which is in agreement with your thoughts: “Poverty entails fear and stress and sometimes depression. It meets a thousand petty humiliations and hardships. Climbing out of poverty by your own efforts that is something on which to pride yourself but poverty itself is romanticized by fools.”

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  7. Yes, courage is taken for granted a lot, especially by those who have lots of it! I remind myself from time to time, how I used to be many years ago, and courage wasn’t my strong point! I think the courage to say what you feel even to those who might not want to hear what you have to say is a wonderful gift to acquire. And it is so good when you no longer need the courage to do or say something, because it’s now turned into something natural – it’s just present all the time. And that leaves us free to move on with courage to the next thing that frightens us, and adopt that too! Courage used often enough produces the fruit of freedom, liberation from those things that used to restrict us! 😀

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    • Well said! I especially like “Courage used often enough produces the fruit of freedom, liberation from those things that used to restrict us!” It seems that courage builds resilience…

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  8. I do so agree with your post and the discussion – courage is about how one deals with oneself. Quiet review of what one knows to be true within.

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    • I remember being part of a panel discussion where everyone decided that we needed to raise certain concerns at a higher level. I was nominated as the spokesperson. When I brought our recommendations forward at a subsequent meeting, I found that I stood alone – all those “other” people seemed to have a “mute” button. The interesting point was that their fear gave me more courage. You’re right – courage is about how we deal with ourselves. I think it is a never-ending process…

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      • Yes, it is surprising what one can achieve, and important that we should keep reaching. Also what for one person is easy is hard for another. A year ago, I would never have thought I could set up & deliver a blog – & what riches it has brought into my life… 🙂

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      • I remember the first time I pressed the publish button. My heart of pounding. We have come a long way….

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      • I recognise that scenario! And yes, how far we have come indeed. Finding new friends along the way. How wonderful!

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    • I have found that our wonderful four-footed friends have enough courage for all of us!! Have fun galloping in the fields!!!

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  9. … sometimes, we need a lot of courage to change a simple direction …

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    • How truly spoken. It can mean the difference of having a life of regret or a life of abundance. But the first step is frightening.

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