In these difficult times let us embrace these daily braveries:
Existing in an Ever-Changing World.
To paraphrase a Buddhist saying: The only thing that never changes is the fact that everything changes. And right now, to paraphrase another saying, we live in unfortunately “interesting” times. Whether it feels to you like freefall, just another hill to climb or chaos or a curse, maintaining whatever semblance of calm you can these days is courageous indeed. “Calm” need not mean serene. For you, for me, it might mean finding the capacity to reach out and/or reassure another. It might mean maintaining baseline wellness practices: exercise, meditation, decent meals. Being courageous right now might just mean not screaming.
Doing Your Work.
A high-pressure, performance-based, top-down society trained most of us to live in fear of being “graded” by our parents, teachers, deities or other implacable, omniscient (we thought) authorities. That’s hard training to shake. So just persisting, doing whatever we must to graduate, connect, stay solvent and/or pursue our dreams under the real or imagined gaze of harsh judges—and despite unforeseen chaos—is brave.
Loving Anyone, Anything or Anyplace. Ever.
While knowing the risks of losing what we love to disease, death, decay—or causes whose invisibility makes them no less unbearable: betrayal, lies, changed minds. To start loving, to accept this feeling as a possibility then let it spark, even just that, is in this lethal world a shining, incandescent feat. To keep on kindling love against a constant onslaught of assorted threats is audacious, intrepid, bold.
“Choice overload” is what researchers call the stress and regret induced by facing numerous options. I’m so stupid, I should have ordered the steak! We wonder which careers to seek, whether or not to cross a street, how many cans of soup to buy. We scorn our hesitance, call ourselves fickle. These days, with our span of choices shrunken, warned that every choice we make right now might kill, let us consider the courage of choosing. How many choices do we make daily during better times despite our apprehension, self-recrimination, fleeting but still flat-out fear? Choice makes us vulnerable, so it makes us brave.
Aiming to Change
roots us to the ground. We embrace sameness—which, however horrible it might
be, feels at least familiar and takes little effort to maintain. Working
against routine, against resistance, to alter or repair or improve ourselves—or
anything—requires extreme endurance, confidence and hope. Such states of mind,
just by themselves, are lion-hearted. Acting on them, whether that means
learning new skills or starting new regimens or seeking support or whatever
else you choose (add extra points for choosing!) is heroic.
See how reframing the concept of courage helps us claim it—rightfully? We need not shout it from the rooftops, but just realize, right now: Nearly all of us who breathe are brave.