Finding My Courage

Black and White Lake image

“Do not fear, young Peregrine Took, you will find your courage” Galadriel tells him, just before the nine members of The Fellowship set off on a quest that would change the little hobbit’s life forever. He would find himself in the middle of a terrible battle and fighting an enemy that was seeking to cover whole of Middle Earth in darkness.

I set off on my own adventure several years ago. Leaving my home and before that my job to travel into the unknown. I had, at the time, a very clear idea as to what the journey would look like, well, what I hoped it would look like. At the beginning things seemed to go according to plan.

But after a while the dream did not work out the way I wanted and because it did not look how I expected, I failed to see the truly glorious adventure that had been going on all along, far greater than anything I could have imagined. This last couple of years has really been about finding my own courage to fight a battle not with an external enemy, but an internal one. To find the courage to live as I was designed to be – a full and whole human being.

You see, I had spent my life unknowingly pinning everything down, so that I wouldn’t slip or slide. There was always something secure to hold onto- religion, other people, job, relationships – if one failed, there was always the other stakes firmly bashed into the earth to keep a hold of. Then, over a short period of time life changed significantly and with it many of my securing points. Long held certainties were questioned and the world as I had created it, shifted.

A dark belief crept back into the secret places of my thinking, until had a serious battle on my hands. I came to realise that deep down I believed that everything in my life was detained to fail. “Things don’t work out for me.” I quietly whispered to myself, while I detailed again and again all the evidence I could find to support my conclusion and stoke the furnaces of my enemy. – depression, low self-esteem, insecurity and fear.

In my relationship, I looked for and waited for things to go wrong. When things did not go according to my plan and in my time frame, I panicked. In anything creative that I did, I had little expectation that it would amount to anything of value. So my writing, for the most part stayed private and I stopped sharing my photographs.

“Well I will fail” I told myself “I always do!”

I chose to ignore, encouragements. Like puddles on a hot day, they evaporated quickly and were forgotten. When ideas and projects hit challenges or difficulties, fuel was added to the fire of my failure. My work as a teacher came under scrutiny. I was a newbie and the profession had changed. I required improvement. More fuel for the furnace. I had failed again at a job I had done for nearly twenty years. Even God was silent, or at least the God I had created.

But, but I began to spend time in woods, any wood, I learned to name trees, delight in rain and small flowers strewn across my path. I put up a bird feeder and very soon a varied collection of visitors arrived, comical, beautiful, cautious and inquisitive. Yet despite this quiet voice speaking a new message into my heart. The battle raged. I set the board and moved pieces.

Until very recently, when I made a choice and with help from a mindsets mentor, I did indeed begin to find my courage. Firstly to re frame my experiences from negative to positive. I began to stop stoking my furnaces with evidence of failure, instead I have begun to find evidence to the contrary and reflect on what I have learned. I am starting to realise that I can let go of the stakes in the ground and funnily enough I quite enjoy standing up right.

From this new vantage point, I can see how much I am loved and I am learning to trust ‘the someone’ who came into my life to journey for as long as we are gifted the time to travel together. Writing this, and beginning this blog are the outward expression of where I am beginning to be. I am learning to live as I was destined to live from the beginning. I am learning to live right here and in this moment.