A cougar has been around recently – attacking livestock, roaming “my” forest trails, making tracks in areas all over this island. Two nights ago, I heard that cougar scream – loud, repeated, prolonged – just on the other side of my neighbor’s house. The wild one was that close.
Courage: strength to persevere, withstand danger, fear, or difficulty
My dear longtime friend launched us into a conversation - quiet, repeated, pronounced - about courage yesterday. We have engaged such exchanges over the years, each time deepening our collective understanding and insight about our niche in the ecology of transformation.
Remembering that the root of “courage” coming from cor, the Latin word for “heart,” I imagine a taproot growing its way deeper into our blood-pumping organ, circulating strength and perseverance within … extending into courageous action on behalf of all beings out in the world.
My friend and I reminded one another – though the mistaken notion is that courage equates with lack of fear – that “courage” actually means being afraid but doing something anyway. We shared stories and confidences reciting recent examples of how we did things we knew to be “right” but that required great doses of courage … good action accompanied by fear.
And there is a huge difference between outright recklessness and healthy doses of courageous (prudent) action: I will not hike alone along the trails the visiting cougar is frequenting but I will take risks to be vulnerable in conversations that advance hearty values like compassion, justice, peace.
Cougars show up in all sorts of forms: the sharp claws and gnashing teeth don’t just belong to wild nonhuman creatures.
I heard that bone-chilling cougar scream just beyond my back yard. I heard my friend’s sweet and robust encouragement to stay ripe to opportunity. So I will be aware – alert, even – to the cougars, literal and figurative, that arrive and demand attention.
And I hope that my own wild instincts for messy transformation are bolstered by a blazing heart of strength and perseverance. May you, too, find your courage.