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Reflection on Courage with Ilona

When Jaime shared with me that the word of the month would be courage, I
diligently ran to research its etymology.

I already knew it was rooted in latin for “heart.” However, what was more interesting was witnessing that what stops us from courage is often fear.

Fear, it turns out, is rooted in the proto-indo european word root meaning of “to try, to risk.” What separates fear from courage is the choice to take an action toward that which we desire in our hearts. Where does the separation come from? Our mind.

So how do we reconcile the heart/mind tension to step into courage? 

As I review my life experiences, I have so much proof that being courageous works out. I tried out for the play for the first time my sophomore year in high school, despite never acted before and got a speaking role! I auditioned for a statewide televised singing competition in my junior year of high school and got to the finals. I heard an amazing italian singer on tv and emailed him my senior year of high school and ended up making friends with an italian pop star. I applied for side gigs I was not remotely qualified for, yet landed because of the courageous way I showed up. 

It’s as if the younger we are, when given the chance, the more courageous we are.

Being courageous has even supported me in seemingly difficult moments. I once took a risk in telling a guy at work that I liked him. Although the feeling wasn’t mutual, knowing what he felt allowed me to move on instead of creating stories of what could be if he did like me. 

Courage in the face of the unknown is perhaps the biggest fear. If fear is to try, and we had the magical ability to predict the outcome, it would be easier to feel safe in the act of courage. 

However, courage is rarely predictable. When my father passed unexpectedly in 2017, I was given the opportunity to leave behind a 15 year career to move and switch careers. When I tapped into my heart, not my mind, it felt like the right thing to do for the long term goals I had set for myself. 

Although the first few years were filled with ups and downs, five years into this journey — I do not regret a single moment. I feel like I am finally the person I always dreamed of becoming, with a lot more room to create!

In all of those scenarios, what I ultimately learned is that to be courageous requires TRUST. Trust in myself to navigate the desired action no matter the outcome. Trust in God/the universe, to have my back as I stepped into the unknown. Trust in others to root for me or support me as I navigated the rough patches. 

Community certainly creates trust in that final part, as life is a team sport. If you’re reading this, I hope you’ve taken the courageous action of joining us in Anima Collective!