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Courage

There were times when I truly wanted to kill myself, when I desperately wanted my life to come to an end, when I wanted to hurt myself or take some pills ...

There were times when I truly wanted to kill myself, when I desperately wanted my life to come to an end, when I wanted to hurt myself or take some pills. It was at those times when I lay in bed with tears streaming down my face and said to myself, “No. I will lie here until I go to sleep, or I will lie here all night crying, but I will not kill myself”, that were truly some of my most courageous.


It was the courage of feeling the desire for self-destruction and yet continuing to live in the face of it. It was the courage of continuing to breathe. That was courage. And it was courage to wake the next morning, get up, have a cup of tea, get dressed and face the day as it was, without remembering myself back into the distress of the previous night. It was courage to simply feel what the new day might bring: the tiredness, the ache in my gut, the questions. But it was also courage to go outside and gently witness the dawning of a new day, hug a dog, breathe the air and to go back to bed again if I needed to.


And there was also tremendous courage in facing my own weaknesses, courage in breaking through the twisted chains of my emotional inheritance, courage in having a gentle compassion for myself even when life was difficult and my body hurt like hell, courage in moving forward despite a wretched anxiety or fear, courage in asking for help, and courage to sit with my questions and confusion. It also takes courage to go down a path that society as a whole will not applaud or recognize, that your family will not understand, and that will leave your friends puzzled or even angry.


We call people heroes when they can kick a soccer ball into a net, when they climb a high mountain, or when they can entertain us with their fancy dance moves, but sometimes the truly courageous people are those whose actions will forever remain unlauded and unseen. And yet, I have no doubt that the reverberations and beauty of their simple acts will remain forever etched into the wholeness of our collective Being.


Do we realize how courageous we are in even the very smallest of ways?


(Excerpted from my book, Suffering, Spirituality and the Inner Journey Home)