Finding Inner Courage is an exploration into how to find our way to our core, to stand by our core, and to then sustain the practice of living from our core—to live out of our courage. To encourage means to impart strength and confidence, to inspire and hearten. So, the question unfolds: How do we encourage ourselves, each other, and the world? And just what does it mean to live a life of encouragement?
If to find our way to our core is to face the lion, then to stand by our core is to be the lion. And to sustain the practice of living from our core—to live out of our courage—is to find our way in the world by tracking inner courage and where it lives. These notions frame the journey of this book.
The courage we all admire, where ordinary people summon unexpected strength to run into burning buildings or to stand up to tyrants, whether an abusive father or an abusive leader, this inspiring and mysterious impulse to rise to a dangerous situation, which Hemingway referred to as grace under pressure, grows from another kind of courage—inner courage. These are the ways of living and being that make bravery possible in the first place; not just as an event, but as an approach to life, as a way of life.
Thinking about courage in this way opens us to an array of small and constant efforts that no one ever sees, but which have changed the world: the courage to face ourselves, each other, and the unknown, the courage to see, to feel, to accept, to heal, to be. Efforts of this nature often go unnoticed and unrecognized. Like the courage to break life-draining patterns and let the story of our lives unfold, to stand by one’s core, and to persevere through the doorway of nothing into the realm of everything. Like the courage to choose compassion over judgment and love over fear, to withstand the tension of opposites, and to give up what no longer works in order to stay close to what is sacred.
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