November 25, 2012

The Roar & Whisper of Courage.

This morning I woke up, bright and early, (ahem—5:30am), just like I do every Sunday morning.

The moment my eyes opened, I had to fight the urge, with every bone in my body, to curl up and go back to sleep. It took superhuman-strength and much willpower to drag myself out of bed, as I stared longingly at my dog, who had stretched out into the warmth of my side of the bed, claiming my pillow as his own, as he and my love continued to snore softly. In the dark, I picked up my clothes and stealthily made my way down the stairs and into the shower, to the chorus of two hungry cats.


That’s how I felt this morning; I did not want to leave the house (much less the bed) and the last thing I wanted to do was teach.

It looked cold and dark and, well, cold outside.

Operating on the back-up power reserves of my body, of my mind and of my spirit, everything in me was saying, Please stop moving; I just want to lie around like a bump on a log and not think or do or be mindful or be grateful or be anything other than the sad and miserable person that I feel like right now. 

Do you know that feeling?

That feeling of knowing that you’ve pushed yourself beyond the very limits of who you are and that what you need is rest, and downtime…and you-time, really, but here you are, anyway, still moving and speaking and functioning and how is that possible?

That feeling of waking up and feeling off—nothing is wrong and everything is wrong and your mind starts to play games on you, convincing you that you are not good enough, not worthy enough, not talented enough, not loving enough, not anything enough?

That feeling of wanting to pull the covers up over your head and disappear for a day or a week or a month or a year, so that you can rest and recharge and just be whatever you feel like being, even if that means you’re grumpy and miserable?

But before you sink too low, to the very depths of your being, to the very bottom of the well, you hear a small voice whisper, You can do this.

Surely you’re hearing things and so you brush it off, continuing to plunge yourself into a dark hole you’ve been methodically digging, until the voice speaks a little louder: I said, you can do this. 

You can try to ignore this voice—you can try to shake it off and pretend that you can’t hear, but it will get louder and louder until you have no choice but to listen:

You Can Do This. Just Keep Going.

This voice?

This is the voice of the courage that lives in your heart; she’s always there, in the background, observing the truth of what’s happening inside, while the outside keeps motoring along. She is the root of each thought, each action, each and every part of you, and she is the keeper of dreams.

She is with you when you climb to the top of the highest mountain and she is holding your hand when you speak a truth that has your belly in knots. The first (and every) time you say I love you, she is there, standing guard, infusing your backbone with her power—and the first (and every) time your heart breaks and you have to peel yourself off of the floor, she is the invisible force of grace that keeps you from falling over again.

This morning, when the last thing I wanted to do with my tender and tired heart was stand up in front of people and ask them to breathe and move and be honest with themselves, courage was there, nudging me forward. She knew the place I was in and so she spoke quietly and gently; in exchange for keeping my word and for showing up on my mat when I least wanted to, she promised me that this afternoon I could take an hour or two (or maybe even three) to myself, to just be who I was, in this place, in this moment.

She reminded me that some days, you have to be where you are and know that tomorrow is another day.




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