Years ago I read Dark Side of the Light Chasers by Debbie Ford, and I remember my surprise at realizing that someone was actually shining light on the parts of ourselves we try so hard to hide.
“How many times have you felt yourself shrink?”
“How many times have you kept your mouth shut when you wanted to scream loudly, or handed over your power to someone who didn’t have your best interests at heart?”
“How many times have you told yourself, ‘I can’t. I’m not strong enough. I”m not courageous or confident enough to be all that I desire to be?”
Because truth is, every day you’re confronted with situations that trigger thoughts like these, and the accompanying self-doubt.
Confronted too by opportunities and choices, hundreds of them, that can make you feel confident and strong or weak as a shrinking violet. Every one, a choice.
Are you owning that responsibility or living as a victim to it?
She writes that, “when we lack confidence, we feel unworthy of having what we want, of speaking the truth, of making decisions that improve our lives. When we feel weak, helpless, or powerless, we lack the strength to ward off the thoughts of defeat, negativity and fear that fill our minds and prevent us from moving forward and living in harmony with our deepest desires. ”
Courage provides steps to increasing confidence, and the possibility of living to our fullest potential.
“True courage comes not just from feeling confident and strong, but from being the honest, authentic expression of yourself.”
Debbie shares her personal journey with cancer, the wake-up call she needed to help her see where she herself had become stuck in life. Her raw honesty and vulnerability as she shares her story are rare traits, and make for a compelling read. Using the metaphor of a warrior, she digs deep to share the wisdom gained from confronting her own dark side while igniting the warrior long suppressed inside.
In particular I appreciated her perspective on the feminine warrior, offering the argument that as women we have turned away from the warrior energy, conditioned by society to settle instead for the role of damsel in distress.
But here’s the thing. . .
We are all born with the spirit of the warrior inside; a part of us that is determined and yes, aggressive when need be. But we are so conditioned to trade this sacred part of ourselves in for the approval of others and the illusion of femininity.
Have you had enough of that yet? I know I have.
I used to worry that I had too much warrior energy. Years of being told to “tone it down” made me doubt myself even though I had an inkling early on that a toned down life was not what I was born for.
As I read this paragraph, my spirit seemed to take flight to connect with the feminine warriors who have gone before:
“There is an aggressiveness of the feminine warrior that is a part of every woman’s heart – on fire with the justice of Rosa Parks; armed with the truth of divine love, like Joan of Arc; and capable of sourcing wisdom from the deepest well of her being, like Helen Keller.”
But Courage is not just a rallying cry for the feminine warrior. It is a call to live life fully, with heart and determination, and an acknowledgement of the gift you have to offer the world.
How does a courageous warrior live?
You live seeing your fears clearly, instead of pretending you have none.
You embrace your fears with honesty and courage, instead of hiding behind the stories of your past.
It is not always easy to live with courage and to find the warrior within. The world does not encourage this.
But in the face of this reality, will you step up as a warrior on behalf of your own future?
For that future depends on your vision. The future is calling for you to wake up each day with that vision staring you in the face and inspiring you to take action.
Or you could turn over and go back to sleep.
But that doesn’t take courage, it’s sadly pretty normal.
And aren’t you done with normal yet?
I say you are or you wouldn’t be here. You also know that to access your courage you’re going to have to do something different.
You have to accept that you have fears and then, embrace them.
Yup, that’s right. . .embrace. your. fears.
When you do so you’ll tap into a feeling of courage and confidence that will help you take the next step, then another and another, until you find yourself one day wondering how the hell you got there.
The irony is that courage is inside you from the beginning for you are born with heart.
Another paragraph that sent a shiver down my spine. . .
“The greatest act of courage is to be and to own all of who you are – without apology, without excuses, without masks to cover the truth of who you are.”
My God do you get that?
It is so out there, so audacious to believe in yourself like that!
It’s asking you to go against the conditioning of a lifetime where you were chastised for being who you are instead of celebrated.
Courage is about waking up each day, owning and being responsible for the gift you are to the world.
Courage is about loving yourself so well you are unafraid to toot your horn so that it attracts others.
Courage. . .
is a book that will shine the light on your fears, offering tools and processes along the way to ease the challenge of the journey.
And there’s no getting around that fact. It is a challenge.
Debbie shares her challenge, both with cancer and her dark side, alongside others’ stories, with each one offering wisdom and strategies for moving beyond.
The Codes of Courage are a series of exercises to guide you in the process. From learning to let go and surrender to a developing a heartful practice of compassion, the codes offer simple ways to implement the wisdom of Debbie Ford’s journey. Many of them inspired me to explore and write about things I’d long forgotten or suppressed, and bringing them to the surface provided both healing and completion.
Over to you:
The Code of Inspired Vision asks you to take a risk and do something you never thought you would do because of fear.
Right now, choose one thing that would totally expand your comfort zone and cause a breakthrough in courage.
Tell me in the comments below.
Debbie Ford has been helping people break free from the emotional baggage that holds them hostage and discover self-confidence and authentic self expression. She is the national bestselling author of Dark Side of the Light Chasers, Secret of the Shadow, Spiritual Divorce, The Right Questions, The Best Year of Your Life, Why Good People Do Bad Things, and The 21-Day Consciousness Cleanse, and the coauthor of The Shadow Effect. She conducts workshops and trainings around the world supporting lifelong personal, spiritual, and emotional education and transformation. More at www.debbieford.com.
A note of thanks to Trish Collins at TLC Tours for inviting me to participate in Debbie Ford’s Courage tour.