Courage


“And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom” – Anais Nin

Sometimes the smallest things in life are the hardest to find the courage to face.  The most troubling of those, the 100-headed dragon, is the simple act of letting go.  As a child, all the joy, the fun and the wonder was in letting go and just being a child; being curious, being wild and untamed, not harboring a care in the world.  We were the wind that rocked the trees and billowed the sails of life.

But something happens as we age.  Life goes from being an unexplored beach of soft sand and whimsical sea creatures washed ashore to something hard and cold and formidable that must be shoe-boxed, pigeon-holed, alphabetized and ultimately controlled.  We find we’re no longer the wind but the tree struggling not to be rocked by it.  Our sails become tattered and torn.  Simply put, we go from letting go straight into resistance.  And if Life teaches us anything, it teaches us that resistance is futile.

What is it we’re holding onto so desperately?  The illusion, or perhaps better stated, the delusion that we’re in control.  Unfortunately control isn’t something tangible; you can’t hold it in your hand.  It’s an idea much like the color blue.  It doesn’t actually physically exist.  It’s merely an idea.  How do you control an idea?  You might as well try holding smoke in your hands.

Sometimes the delusion succeeds.  We get lucky and that thing we’re trying so desperately to control goes our way.  Victory!  Nothing tastes sweeter than victory, does it?  We congratulate ourselves on a war well fought, a job well done, and take up arms ready for the next life event we must vanquish.

Other times luck isn’t on our side and things don’t go our way.  Things are out of control.  We feel defeated.  We “should have…”  “If only…”  Shoulda-coulda-woulda.  Time to beat that sense of control right back into ourselves so we don’t mess up again!  Grab that wheel!  Hoist that sail!  Tiring isn’t it?

I won’t deny that some things can be controlled, somewhat, by things like foresight, planning, acquiring skills, and saving but these things aren’t even guarantees.  They may better your odds a bit, but they’re still not a 100% guarantee of much of anything other than at some point Life will turn a corner you hadn’t planned on and you’re spinning out of control again.

The truth is Life has its own currents.  It’s a wide and amazing river we’re all traveling.  We can neither see the currents nor can we control them.  All we can do is go along for the ride.  The beauty is that we can at any time re-find the courage to become like a child again; to be the wind.  Instead of tirelessly paddling against the tides we can simply ride them, hands in the air, embrace the adventure and wonder at the vistas.

Let go.  Go with the flow.  Be brave.  Bloom.