One isn’t born with courage. One develops it. And you develop it by doing small, courageous things, in the same way that one wouldn’t set out to pick up a 100 pound bag of rice. If that was one’s aim, the person would be advised to pick up a five pound bag, and then a ten pound, and then a 20 pound, and so forth, until one builds up enough muscle to actually pick up 100 pounds. And that’s the same way with courage. You develop courage by doing courageous things, small things, but things that cost you some exertion – mental and, I suppose, spiritual exertion. ~Maya Angelou
So … that meditation class that I mentioned in Monday’s post? Every month we get a word to contemplate. This month’s word to meditate on is courage.
Just in time.
Other than sharing my writing on this blog (major step for me when I started it, and still is at times), what’s been published in legal journals (links are in the “About” section of this blog), motions and briefs filed in court when I practiced law, content I used to create for other people for pay, stories for my children, and annual holiday letters, I never show anyone most of what I write.
I’m working on a project right now with the aim of it becoming a book, like with a cover and stuff. See how I just danced around writing the more accurate and simple sentence, “I’m working on a book”?
Every single day I recognize my old friend fear rising up to greet me as I sit in front of my laptop. It tells me that I don’t know what I’m doing. (I don’t.) It tells me that I might fail. (I might.) It tells me that my writing will be criticized. (It will.) Although I am afraid of these things and more, I put one word in front of the other anyway.
I set a goal. I overachieve at coming up with reasons why I may not reach that goal, and then I keep heading in the general direction of it anyway. I might not get there, but the only way to make sure of it is to let fear have its way and quit. So, I don’t quit. Step by step, day by day, word by word, I just keep doing things, sometimes just a paragraph, in furtherance of my goal.
It got to the point that in order for this project to not be something that I don’t show anyone, I had to . . . well . . . show it to someone. And then someone else. And there will be more someone else’s after that. So, fear arises to greet me as I go forward. When it does, I feel like I need one of these:
Each step of the way, I think about waiting for my hands to stop shaking before taking the next one. But I know that I can do whatever I need to do with shaky hands if need be, and so I do.
It’s a good thing I’m not a surgeon.