courage

Quote

Credit – mobiletoones

Courage is a word that tempts us to think outwardly, to run bravely against opposing fire, to do something under besieging circumstance, and perhaps, above all, to be seen to do it in public, to show courage; to be celebrated in story, rewarded with medals, given the accolade, but a look at its linguistic origins leads us in a more interior direction and toward its original template, the old Norman French, Coeur, or heart.

Courage is the measure of our heartfelt participation with life, with another, with a community, a work, a future. To be courageous, is not necessarily to go anywhere or do anything except to make conscious those things we already feel deeply and then to live through the unending vulnerabilities of those consequences. To be courageous is to seat our feelings deeply in the body and in the world: to live up to and into the necessities of relationships that often already exist, with things we find we already care deeply about: with a person, a future, a possibility in society, or with an unknown that begs us on and always has begged us on. Whether we stay or whether we go – to be courageous is to stay close to the way we are made.

– David Whyte, from Readers’ Circle Essay, “Courage”; ©2011 David Whyte

integrating the feminine

Aside

My mentor, Mary Pierce Brosmer – author, fearless feminist, wise leader, founder of Women Writing for (a) Change, and long-time friend – is embarking on her own conscious feminine experiment. I offer here a link describing in part a new course she will be teaching in Cincinnati: ‘ a Co-ED apprenticeship in the integration of the feminine into organizational life.’  Perhaps these ‘what-if’s’ will spark discussion here as well, online or in our own writing circles.

What if I said “leader” and it evoked an image of someone who always kept sight of: What’s in the middle? What are we gathered here to give life to? 
 
What if she told her own stories and made space for yours? and asked, “What can we make of this?” rather than “Whose fault is it?” 
 
What if she didn’t privilege some stories over others for the sake of political correctness or the need to appear cool or in the know? 
 
What if she had the courage to ask, “What’s going on in the room right now? What isn’t being said? What am I feeling? What are others feeling?” 
 
What if she spent time and energy creating spaces for people to generate meaning, to learn to take risks, to tell the truth, to make commitments? 
What if she were courageous enough to integrate life-giving and soulful tools into his practice – circles, silence, flowers, poetry, stories, knowing that it might expose him to ridicule, knowing that it would expose her to ridicule (if the leader is a woman)? 

What if she had enough integrity and imagination to connect measurement with meaning, innovation with tradition, growth with periods of rest (knowing, all the while, that the culture reveres and rewards disconnection, “pure genius” “scholarship”)?