Courage

I am one of the (extra) medically vulnerable who, if I contracted this virus, would never recover from it.  As a person who has lived life from a wheelchair, whose body is fighting a progressive condition, who has only 80% of my full lung-capacity on a GOOD day, as a person who has taken 12 tiny leaps of faith every. single. day. of her life that the people she depends on for personal care will show up for her in the ways she counts on, as a person who has previously survived a head-on car collision and who has lost her job…

I have never felt so threatened.

I’ve had visions of myself in ICU on life-support.  I’ve woken up trying to catch my breath after dreams of my lungs filling with fluid.  I’ve had all the desperate thoughts of “what if.”

And then…I summon courage.  Because I refuse to stop living because “a possibility” might kill me.

COVID-19 is scary.  And it is made even more scary by the idea of having to hold onto faith that millions of people who don’t know me (OR my fear) will do the right things when the country re-opens…that the individuals in government will lay out a safe plan to re-open, that the medical community will find ways to treat and eradicate this virus…while fast-tracking solutions that introduce EVEN MORE risk, and that the population of this country will make good choices about social distancing and other safety protocols when they’re given the green-light to go back out after being cooped-up for MONTHS.  That is a lot of people who I DON’T KNOW to trust.

So, I summon courage – because what other choice is there?  OK, of course there are other choices…to let my anxiety run rampant…to consume every single piece of news and propaganda out there as a means of trying to control…something…to watch the groceries come through the front door and each item get lysoled and put away in the kitchen while I wonder about bacteria and cross-contamination.  I COULD DO all of those things.

Instead…I summon courage.

Because “brave” is who I want to be.  “Brave” makes me feel good about myself.  “Brave” makes me feel like a badass.  “Brave” puts a smile on my face, lifts the weight from my shoulders, and makes it easy to be where I am, right now, in this moment.  And where I am is healthy.  I am safe.  I have goals and dreams and purpose left in my life and my courage makes it possible to sit at a desk every day and MAKE THOSE THINGS HAPPEN.

Courage means KNOWING the danger, acknowledging and accepting it, but then tipping my hat and dismissing it so I can get on with more constructive things.  Like making my dreams come true.  Like bringing hope and light and love and joy to people in this world who may be struggling to find their own courage.  

Is it just that easy? Of course not. It requires effort and intention.

Here’s the thing – courage can only be found when you identify what you CAN control, and what you CAN’T.  What you can’t control is where the fear lies. It is someone else’s job and you have to work to let go…whether that looks like a mantra you tell yourself each time your mind tries to get grabby and tries to take responsibility for those things that don’t belong to you…or filling your time with activity around the things you CAN control so you’re so consumed and distracted by what you CAN control that you have no time to worry about the things you can’t control…you have to figure out how to get your mind to let go of what you CAN’T control.  

That’s the first step, but then even once you’ve let go of what you can’t control…courage doesn’t just show up by default.  

Courage is found in the effort you exert. And it takes EFFORT to turn something innately negative into something positive. It’s the effort you exert in actions you take that may feel unnatural or counterintuitive. In doing what you might not feel like doing. When you know what you CAN control, a courageous person will EXCEL at making those things successful. You have to make good choices and act responsibly with those things you’ve identified.

The things I’ve identified that I CAN control are…the daily care of my body, my mindset, the health and well-being of my relationships, running my household, the effort I’m putting into my dream to be an internationally known speaker and writer and to change lives and minds…

So, for me, my actions look like…staying home, disinfecting everything that comes inside, WRITING THIS ARTICLE, putting positive things on social media, giving the talks I’m booked to give and offering as much positivity and encouragement as I can, setting goals, meditating to treat anxiety, connecting with my family and friends, virtual happy-hours, planning healthy meals, finding fun things to do within the confines of my home that bring joy, etc.

Do you know what happens next? I am living. I am crushing the moment I am in. I feel positive. I feel happy and content and confident. I feel safe. I feel…like a badass who is so brave, no stinking virus could EVER take her down.

Guys. We can be victims to our circumstances and we can live in fear. But who the hell has time for that. My intention every day is to be brave. I love that about me. And I am willing to do the work and to make the choices and carry out the actions that make me brave. I know you have bravery in you – I’ve seen it…in a thousand first-hand and second and third-hand examples all around the world.

Wear your COURAGE as a title you’ve earned. If you haven’t quite earned it yet, good news – there is still time to be brave. I’m smiling at you from here and willing your courage to find you…in case you’re still searching…

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Mindy Henderson

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