I lost an old acquaintance a few weeks ago to cancer. Her’s was a short journey from diagnosis to death, not three month. Given no reason to hope for recovery, she faced her death with courage.
When we have no more hope, we must call upon courage to do what we must do.
We face many times in our lives when we must abandon our hope for a different outcome and instead call upon our courage to see us through. Courage, you may remember, is not the absence of fear, but rather the willingness to move forward in spite of it.
Diagnosis of a fatal illness is one of those times. So is a chronic condition without treatment options. Divorce, permanent disability, loss of limb and death of a loved one all require courage. Continue reading
Being authentic extends beyond what we say. It includes what we do, not only in specific instances but in the broad expanse of our lives. We have two choices in life.
Reaching for a dream means having the courage to set out alone, prepared and eager to discover the adventure that lies ahead
We can be our authentic selves or conform to others’ expectations. Others’ expectations for us are frequently far less than our capabilities, and rarely take into account our dreams, even if we’ve shared them.
When we live our dream life, whether or not that brings with it the level of success we envision, then we’re being authentic. It doesn’t matter if the dream is large or small, ordinary or exceptional. What counts is whether we’re doing what matters most to us.
Our dreams are not meant to torment us but to propel us to live to our full capability.
“Just be yourself and everything will be fine.”
These words of wisdom have been passed from countless parents to their children at the beginning of every momentous childhood event: the first day of school, summer camp, a new neighborhood, leaving for college, starting a career job.
Artist Nicholas Simmons’ watercolor, “After all the violence and double-talk”
Yet somehow we keep forgetting the message.
We listen to criticism inflicted by others and by our own inner critic and we respond by trying to be who we are not. We seek to alter our authentic selves and to silence our critics by hiding behind costumes of clothes and sets replete with cars and houses. We eat in the right restaurants, go to the right cultural events, support the right charities, cheer for the right teams. In listening to the critics, we lose the joy of living our own life. Continue reading