i haven’t had much experience in identifying real courage. i certainly don’t think i have had the opportunity to display any (at least on purpose). it started out cattywampus and spiraled from there for me. i have always considered myself a misfit and assumed that i would never be the right fit for much of anything.
i have forgotten the zest with which i left home in my teens to live life on purpose and say “yes” to pleasure. to be so sure that anything or any unknown had to be better than the agony and frustration i was feeling then. i was convinced that i was being courageous by stepping outside the box. the truth though, in hindsight, was that i was running from myself. i didn’t have the courage to stay and work things through right where i was at.
this particular drama has played itself out repeatedly these last few years. i slip into a situation(either literally or in my own mind) where i feel that i can’t tolerate the bullshit any longer and i do what i always do. i run. i calculate a new move, sometimes forward, sometimes not, and bolt. like a cat with all those lives, i have managed to land with some balance. and all this time, i have done this ritualistic, history repeating itself, ceremonial dance, without even realizing that i had been like a tiny character in a music box, just replicating the same movements to the same tune by rote.
as this new layer of truth has revealed itself, i become disenchanted about my ability to determine my own motivation. am i in the throes of some old trauma? am i afraid of conflict? do i fear rejection enough to reject myself first? do i feel more comfortable running than i do settled? these are the questions and judgements that run through my mind like a cat in a cage. why am i always sure that i am in the wrong when i first consider an encounter?
i don’t have the answers to these persistent queries today. i don’t think i am close to knowing all the way around the truth. and i don’t think i have to know. what does come increasingly clearer to me is the painstaking forgiveness i need to breathe. breathe in and breathe out. tonglen as the buddhists named it. inhaling in the essence of letting go of judgement of myself and conversely exhaling the wonder and simplicity of acceptance of the world i live in.
this breathing exercise i have adopted is not automatic or second nature at all. it is almost against my nature actually. it requires work. it takes effort. it calls for being awake.