You’re in motion and it feels great. You took the cues, did your homework, made the announcement. You’re forging new territory and finding a path through the woods.
And then, a wall. Maybe the first of many. You come flat up against a solid wall of doubt, insecurity, who-do-I-think-I-am-ness. It literally knocks the wind out of you and you sit down in the shade, overwhelmed.
Okay. Breathe deep. This is not a deal breaker. And there’s good news: You’ve got everything you need to handle this right here in your backpack.
It’s a rare unfurling that doesn’t provide you an opportunity to fall deep into the abyss, at least for a while. Even when we are in full alignment with our hearts, knowing for sure what we want, doing all the solid, nourishing things that feed us … even so, we slip into doubt, fear and resistance. This pathway is hardwired into our brains.
And you have two important items in your backpack that will help you get up onto your feet again.
The first, courage, is slightly different from the cowardly lion’s type of courage. We’re talking about courage as a combination of vulnerability (allowing your heart to be open, even in the face of potential “danger”), clarity (having your eyes equally wide-open, not veiled) and willingness to take action. My friend and colleague Kate Swoboda defines it like this:
Courage is: feeling the fear, diving in anyway, and transforming.
And the fairy godmother of ordinary courage, Brene Brown, says this:
The root of the word courage is cor—the Latin word for heart. In one of its earliest forms, the word courage literally had a very different definition than it does today. Courage originally meant “To speak one’s mind by telling all one’s heart.” Over time, this definition has actually changed, and today, courage is synonymous with being heroic or performing brave deeds.
Heroics and bravery are important, but I think we’ve lost touch with the idea that speaking honestly and openly about who we and about our experiences (good and bad) is the ultimate act of courage. Heroics is often about putting your life on the line. Courage is about putting your vulnerability on the line. In today’s world, that’s pretty extraordinary.
For me, practicing courage means telling my story with all of my heart. It means being honest about who I am, what I believe, and how I feel. It doesn’t come easy for me – I have a tendency to self-protect – but it really is about practicing authenticity and letting myself be seen.
Courage is like a muscle: use it often and you will be rewarded by having a reliable support when you go looking for it. Avoid using it and it becomes weak, hard to access and useless. Like Brene says, practicing courage is just that – a practice. A daily practice.
Your unfurling is dependent on your courage.
It needs you to put on your big girl pants and look behind that spooky door. It needs you to quiet the voices, breathe into your heart and speak the truth. It needs action taken from this place of quiet strength to propel it forward.
So back to that wall. Flex your courage muscles and start the climb. Get yourself up and over. Or, if you don’t like that option, find your way out of that dead-end, and try out a different path. Courage is fed by creativity and curiosity.
The other important tool you’ll need on this journey is self-love. Lucky for you, you’ve got an endless supply of this. It’s the rocket fuel that can change the pace of your unfurling by smoothing out the bumps.
Without self-love, your unfurling cannot maintain its momentum. It will run dry. It will lose its essential spark. In times of wall-like doubt, dosing yourself in love will loosen the rigidity and open up space to breathe. New possibilities arrive on love’s coattails. A softening of demands creates greater awareness. And voila, a new burst of energy for your unfurling.
Unfurling is the exquisite process of growing into ourselves, and it is unstoppable. It can, however, go stagnant. It’s on you to be the caretaker your unfurling needs to continue its beautiful upward spiral. Regular injections of courage and self-love? Yes. You’ve got them right there in your backpack.
Unfurling : The Journey is beginning in September 2012!
Imagine this: twelve women gathering in a virtual living room twice a month for four months. A deep commitment to learning, sharing, daring, and growing together – all while making space for our beloved unfurlings to come into the world. Focused curriculum, interactive exercises and personal work. Two guest experts, Jennifer Louden and Tara Sophia Mohr, bringing added perspective and wisdom. A private Facebook group. Partner calls for added accountability. The opportunity to unfurl together.
This program is the result of my passionate work with clients and colleagues on the rich topic of unfurling. I can safely say it’s my love child, and I’m thrilled to offer it to you. I’m doubly thrilled to have you join me.