Monday, October 20, 2014

Going Out Onto the Limb

There seems to be much talk these days of courage, specifically the kind of courage that it takes for me, a 59-year-old woman from New England, to embark on a month-long trip across this great country of ours, taking pictures, selling work, meeting new people. What does courage mean to me, and how do I manage courage, because certainly the flip side of courage, for me, is fear. How do I practice fearlessness in the world?

For a young girl growing up in Bristol, Connecticut in the 1960s, fear commanded my life. I had great difficulty even going into the market. This fear of walking into places followed me for some time into womanhood. (The early manifestations of agoraphobia, perhaps?) Today, I can walk into rooms, buildings, new communities, and smile, introduce myself with confidence, and extend a hand. Is that courage?

Traveling down interstate 90 west, with speeds of 75 miles per hour, with tractor trailers all around me, and having to pass. Is that courage?

Walking into a meeting in South Dakota surrounded by people who don't look, or talk, like me. Is that courage?

Embarking on a month-long trek cross-country with nothing but a map, a camera, a few changes of clothing. Is that courage?

The answer to all of those questions is yes. And the only way I learned to be courageous was to practice fearlessness in all aspects of my life daily. When I learned to lead with love, courage grew exponentially.

Wherever you are today, go out on a limb, onto the limb that is your life. You don't need to travel across the country to practice fearlessness. Practice it right where you are. Do one thing today that scares you, and then do it again tomorrow.

When you lead with love, fear vanishes.

Love, Carol

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