My writing on issues relating to courage, personal growth, and finding your inner compass…

Playful Disruptor 0

Playful Disruptor

Posted by on 1st Aug, 2018

What does Courage look like? It is gritted teeth? Held breath? Or bulging muscles and sweaty brows? Most of us associate courage with physical or emotional strength, with risky feats that leave us tired and spent. To be courageous we have to become outsized versions of ourselves, muster up the power to become supersized me’s. Courage takes effort, right? It’s serious business. Or is it? What if courage involved play? Or at the very least if we approached our risks and challenges with a playful spirit, a lighter heart. You might remember that playful kitten I referenced in my last Courage Camp blog post the one who taught me a thing or two about taming my inner Control Freak. Well our furry disruptor sparked an important conversation around a playful approach to courage, where we don’t take ourselves, the process or the outcomes too seriously. Most adults (especially us serious minded ones) bridle at the mention of play – as though it diminishes the importance of the task or issues at hand. Yet levity doesn’t imply frivolity – just a willingness to employ a fuller emotional range that validates joy, humor, and fun alongside all that gravitas. What if courage looked like belly laughs? Dancing feet? Squeals of...

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Courage Camp – France 2018 0

Courage Camp – France 2018

Posted by on 22nd Jan, 2018

I was the first person in my family to get a passport. A kind of declaration of independence. Confirmation – in case anyone needed it – that my life would be different than theirs. That I would be Different from them. Mom, Dad, I’m going to see the world. Wait, no, more than that! I’m going to know that world. And let it know me too. First stop, France, on a summer exchange program. France! (You can almost hear the teenage squeal) Liberte! Fraternite! France occupies a special place in our global imagination, doesn’t it? Synonymous with fine foods, rich culture. Amour! A land synonymous with pleasure. Pleasure? What did a 15-year old “good girl” know about pleasure? What right did a 15-year old good girl have to take decisions driven by pleasure? Pleasure didn’t feature prominently in my Midwestern vocabulary – except, maybe, maybe, as it related to the purchase of a new pair of shoes (the ones that everyone else had) or jeans (the ones with the correct name or animal on the back pocket). Ours was a world of muted expectations, of reasoned ambitions framed mostly by respectability and financial success. We conformed. So spectacularly that successful conforming was viewed as a kind of achievement. My...

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Courage is… 0

Courage is…

Posted by on 22nd May, 2017

Courage is… Stepping into the empty space that nobody else is wiling to fill. And filling it. With Ideas and Ideals. Tears. Hopes. Fears. Screams. Hugs. Dreams. Everything that scares us. Because they raise the risk that we might not be…. Accepted. Agreed with. Approved of. Supported. Liked. Wanted. Loved They raise the risk that we might find ourselves alone.  And alone is, I think, what scares us the most. Courage is looking Alone in the face.  And smiling.  Because alone isn’t so scary after all.  It’s just me.  It’s just us.  It’s where peace...

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Boys To Men 0

Boys To Men

Posted by on 26th Mar, 2017

I’ll never forget that bright morning when the sonographer told me I was having a boy.  She moved her chilly, flat wand across my belly, showing me all of Luke’s emerging contours and creases, focusing in on that one piece of incontrovertible evidence – the marker of his masculinity.  “Yup, there it is,” she said, settling on his tiny penis. Christopher and I giggled on cue.  A boy!  I think we were meant to feel triumphant, like in the movies.  A boy! A boy? I walked around London for days in a daze. What would I do with a boy?  A grubby, boisterous boy.  What did I know of boys?  The men in my life – the loved and the lovers—all remained mysteries to me — their blunt simplicity endearing and maddening and cruel, often all at once. I kept walking, looking for comfort in the green, damp blooms of a London spring. Then in April Luke came to me.  And I held him, for hours I couldn’t let him go.  I clutched him like nothing I’d ever held before, loved him like no one before.  His body a part of my body, his cries somehow linked to my own.  A part of me now walked in the world....

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Walking Away – Saying No and Yes 0

Walking Away – Saying No and Yes

Posted by on 9th Mar, 2017

That sound you hear is probably not your feet running. Very few of us get out of that job, relationship, or commitment in a dramatic rush.  Maybe all you hear are faint tip toes. A couple of unsteady steps forward. Or the determined, deliberate gait of one foot after the other. Two of the very hardest words to say are “No” and “Yes”.  No to that which no longer serves you. Yes to whatever risks you’re tempted to take in order to realize your calling. The thing is, you have to say No and Yes together, one after the other, doesn’t matter in which order. Because No without Yes can leave you in limbo. While Yes without No can quickly turn dreams into fantasies. If you want to walk towards something better, you’ve got to be prepared to walk away from that which doesn’t serve you. Obvious, right? But think about what exactly you have to leave behind. Think hard. A dead end situation, of course. But — much more importantly– all the parts of you that kept you in that situation in the first place. The negative mental models and self-sabotaging behaviors, the insecurities and fears, they don’t serve us. Never will. And yet many of us spend...

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There’s always music

Posted by on 14th Feb, 2017

Music meant a lot to me growing up. Bedroom door shut. Eight track tape, cassette tape, record player blasting Donna Summer or The Eagles or Duran Duran. I can still picture the mixed tapes my friends and I made to suit our emotional season. (DANCE MIX 1982! TOP 10 SUMMER LOVE SONGS!) I can still feel my fingers placing the needle down on the album at the exact place where my favorite song started. And then doing it again. And again…. When my parents were shouting downstairs. When the popular girls at school laughed at my new haircut. When that boy didn’t even look my way. I always had my music. But music didn’t just offer escape; it gave me direct passage. To somewhere better, brighter, more loving, more lush. When my songs played, I moved my hips more. Mouthed words about making love that I pretended to understand. My boobs were bigger and my hair was fuller when my favorite song was playing. There was a light shining on me. I was sure of that. For however many hours or minutes were required, I was the Me I so desperately wanted to be. Music wasn’t my salvation. But it certainly was a salve. A rhythmic reminder that someone,...

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