Bran thought about it. ‘Can a man still be brave if he’s afraid?’
‘That is the only time a man can be brave,’ his father told him.George R.R. Martin – A Game Of Thrones
I’ve been busy this past few weeks, supporting some of our community through some really tough stuff and big life decisions. These aren’t small things, these are big life-changing and even life-ending situations.
More than once, the person I was working with told me that they were scared, even though people around them kept telling them how strong they are.
The truth of the matter is that when you are called to walk through the fire you WILL be scared. (That fire may be so many things – the death of a loved one, illness, a terrible diagnosis, two awful choices and no good one, pain, suffering – your own or a loved one’s, loss, injustice, powerlessness – the fire can turn up in your life in a wide variety of threats to your wellbeing).
As you prepare to face the fire and then walk through it you will be anxious, your thoughts will race or your brain will freeze, you’ll be numb or you’ll feel everything in exquisite detail, you’ll worry and overthink things, your knees will tremble, you’ll vomit from the the shock and horror of it all, you’ll have no idea HOW you are going to do it.
It’s also likely that while the inside of you is in turmoil, the outside of you will look normal, calm even. You may still make other people laugh. You might still be able to make a cup of tea or cook the kids dinner, or go to your day job. You’ll find that somehow you put one foot in front of the other. You’ll get through that unbearable minute, that horrific hour, that awful day. There might be tears, or falling apart. But then you’ll put one foot in front of the other again. That’s how you’ll get through. Bit by bit. Decision by decision. Day by day. Hour by hour. Minute by minute.
How do I know this? The fire and I have become old friends as we have faced off again and again.
‘Oh,’ people will say, ‘I don’t know how you do it!’
Chances are, you won’t really know either, and yet, here you are. Doing it.
You’ll be scared AND you’ll be strong.
You don’t need courage when things are easy. You only need it when the going gets tough. Fear and Courage are flip-sides of the same coin.
So, my dear friends, know that inside you is a blazing sun that can outshine any rain. You’ll find a way to face whatever is in front of you. You’ll be scared. But you can also find the strength to face anything, and to live this life to the last drop.
If you need me, I’m here. You’re ever in my thoughts and prayers. Sending you the biggest hug.
All my love, Nicole xx
PS – At our recent Book Club webinar, my students and I were discussing peace, and whether we had ever known that place of complete acceptance, unconditional love and abiding peace. Know what? Several people recounted how, at their most vulnerable or powerless (including being near death), peace unexpectedly enveloped them and gave them the ability to flow through their life with ease and grace. Keep that in your back pocket and know it can be true for you too.