As we celebrate the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. tomorrow, there are many different characteristics his memory invokes for me but what I remember most is courage. As you know, this year is all about resilience and one of the qualities that strongly contributes to building resilience is courage. Each one of us has all sorts of fears we live with every day. Common fears include the fear of failure, the fear of disappointing others, the fear of not being perfect, accepted, or loved. These past two years, we have also been deeply affected by fears for our own health and well-being. The fear of death. At the heart of every fear is simply the fear that we won’t be able to handle whatever life may bring. It’s not the events or the emotions that scare us, but we are terrified of not being able to cope with those events or emotions. It is not a weakness to be afraid. In fact, it is often our own fearfulness that can protect us from danger. Yet it is how we react and respond to fear that really matters.
One way of responding to fear is to take action to gain a sense of control. This is courage. We transform fear into courage by moment-by-moment decisions to keep going while accepting inevitable setbacks. Stepping past the borders of our known world (our comfort zone) into the unknown is about gaining a sense of control. Courage is that quality of heart and mind that lets us do it. To dare to face fears and take the action to gain a sense of control is courage and courage is a way to embrace life fully and live it with passion and delight. When we do that, we often feel an incredible state of being that has nothing to do with the external circumstances. Have you ever had it happen that a reservoir of strength and power arose within you when you mustered the courage to face what you feared most? Through courageous action, even in small steps, we find a sense of trust and faith in ourselves. This faith and trust in ourselves raises our confidence in our ability to handle different and other difficult situations.
Unfortunately, courage can’t be gotten once and for all. Yet, our yoga offers us the ability to practice courage. Each time we come to our mat or our meditation cushion, this practice of yoga is a wonderful place to look at our responses to fear and how we take action to gain a sense of control. It’s a safe and ideal place to make courageous decisions that build trust and faith in ourselves resulting in increased confidence and a stronger resilience muscle. I hope to see you on your mat this week in any of our in-studio or online classes where you can inhale courage and exhale fear.
As always, thank you for reading my musings. Namaste, Leslie