I woke up on the first day of 2013 knowing it was the year I was leaving my marriage. And even though I didn't know what that meant, what form it would take, how I'd get from where I was to where I needed to be, I knew I had to find a way. And I knew I'd have to draw on my courage to get me there.
The word 'courage' was one I clung to. Whether or not I actually had any of the stuff, and whatever the hell I was going to do with it if I could find some, seemed almost irrelevant. I just kept invoking the actual word. When I needed to make difficult phone calls, or have difficult conversations, or even think difficult thoughts, if I started to get muddied down in fear or denial or resistance, I'd remember that word 'courage' and I'd be able to go through with whatever it was that needed doing. What is it they say about courage not being the absence of fear, but rather action in the face of fear? I'm not sure. I do know I was bloody terrified.
Last week I came across a Brene Brown quote that caught my eye. In it she defines courage as:
1) Asking for what you need
2) Speaking your truth
3) Owning your story
4) Setting boundaries
5) Reaching out for support.
Is that courage? I'm not sure. But I know that all of those things are incredibly important for an authentic life, and they're all things I'd like to master. I'm useless at number 1, but these days much, much better at number 4. Numbers 2 and 3 fill me with equal parts terror and exhilaration and I wonder if they might just be the meaning of and solution to everything.
Speaking your truth. Owning your story.
A few weeks ago, Jodi interviewed me for the Heart to Heart series over at Wholehearted. The chat (via Facebook) was delightful and easy and entirely enjoyable. But then the fear about it being out in the world set in. It's one thing to want to speak your truth, another to do it in earshot of other human beings.
On Friday, when the interview appeared on the site, I was overwhelmed with the response. Such beautiful, loving, generous, supportive comments and emails and messages, from people who've known me my whole life, people who only know me via my blog and also complete strangers (who know a bit more about me now).
Number 5 - reaching out for support. I can honestly say, during this tumultuous past year, I've not needed to reach out. In my beautiful family, in this little village community, amongst my dear friends across the country, and here in this incredible online world, it feels as though the support has come to me. How lucky am I. And thank you so, so much from the bottom of my heart.