"The courageous heart is the one that is unafraid to open itself to the world." [Jack Kornfield]
The word courage has its roots in the Latin word "cor", meaning heart. We tend to think of courage as a valiant act of bravery before the public eye. This definition fails to take into account the transformative rumblings inside of us that manifest this outward act. The most courageous thing we can ever do is opening ourselves, stripping away every façade, every defense, and saying this "is me—this is who I am."
"If you spend your time hoping someone will suffer the consequences for what they did to your heart, then you're allowing them to hurt you a second time in your mind." [Shannon L. Alder]
We cannot heal past wounds with present actions. Freedom of mind and soul lies in our ability to give ourselves permission to let go of residual pain. Forgiveness comes when we accept that we are unable to write a different ending to our past.
You don’t die if you fall in water; you die only if you don’t swim. [Unknown]
At various times in life, the fates will cast you into a sea of adversity. The challenge will be learning when to frantically swim towards "the shore", and when to patiently "tread water". It is not always the strongest swimmer who gets rescued—It's the one who was the faith to stay afloat until rescue comes.
"Only loving your body when it is perfectly fit is like only loving your children when they are perfectly behaved." [Haley Hobson]
So much of life is having faith to open ourselves to others while at the same, learning to silence the inner critic that haunts us and impedes our growth. Obsessing over our body image is like focusing on only one pixel in a photograph—You'll never be able to step back and focus on the beauty inside you and around you.
"Faith is the art of holding on to things in spite of your changing moods and circumstances." [C.S. Lewis]
Sometimes the hardest thing to do in life is to be steadfast when your world is crumbling in and screaming around you. Learning to silence the naysayers affords us the resiliency to ride the waves of adversity. Faith is wrapping yourself in your own arms when everyone else has let go.
"One of the prayers I say every morning is: May I see what I do. May I do it differently. May I make this a way of life." [Courtney E. Martin]
No matter our religion, ethnicity, or even our age, the one thing we all seek in life is clarity. In order to find our way in this world, we must first unpack who we are. In so doing, we begin to take our first steps into a "way of life" that makes us feel whole.
“The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.” [George Bernard Shaw]
We live in a world of nonstop connectivity, inundated by email, texts, tweets, and Facebook messages—There seems to be a lot of talking, but is anyone really listening? How many times have you found yourself in a conversation in which the entire time someone else is speaking, you're anticipating what you're going to say? Are you quick to offer advice and solutions rather than simply being present for someone else? We tend to default towards being there for someone (active) rather than being there with someone (supportive). We need to remind ourselves that much of the most beautiful communication takes place in the absence of words.
“A hurtful act is the transference to others of the degradation which we bear in ourselves.” [Simone Weil]
It's generally believed that "hurt people, hurt people", but as I was recently reminded by a friend, we must not forget the simple fact that hurt people--hurt. By cultivating an awareness of and empathy for the pain in others, we begin to understand how their pain can reverberate to those around them. When we demonize and vilify those who lash out in aggression, we rob ourselves of not only our humanity but also an opportunity to end a vicious cycle of violence.
“The most dangerous ideas are not those that challenge the status quo. The most dangerous ideas are those so embedded in the status quo, so wrapped in a cloud of inevitability, that we forget they are ideas at all.” [Jacob M. Appel]
A mysterious force underlies everything in this world, and its unseen hand plays a part in your life--from your job, to your relationships, and even your health. It is a force that is beautifully predictable in its unpredictability. What I’m speaking of is entropy, a term used in physics to describe the process of inevitable decline and degeneration when things are left unattended. Simply put, if something is neglected indefinitely, it is destined to wither, die, or fall into disorder. So if you want to change your future, change your present—challenge the status quo and take hold of your destiny.
All the world is full of suffering. It is also full of overcoming. [Helen Keller]
There's an African proverb that states, without the darkness of the valleys, we would never appreciate the view from the mountaintops. It's natural for us to push suffering away, to deny it space in our life. But it's the suffering that is the canvas on which we paint our greatest masterpiece—the beauty that comes from not surrendering, from transforming a life of merely surviving into one of thriving.