Today we arrive at the final post in this series (boo!), and the final letter of COURAGE, which is E for Evolution.

When I wrote that fantasy obituary, one of the defining features of the courageous people that I admired was that they seemed to have lived many lifetimes in one, after each chapter redefining themselves, taking on a new challenge, building upon what they had achieved before. One challenge would be not just an end in itself, but a stepping stone to the next.

And that is how I aspire to be.

evolution 3I picture my comfort zone as being like a bubble, and I’m inside it. I believe that if I don’t keep pushing the boundaries, keep expanding my comfort zone, my comfort zone will actually get smaller and smaller, until I’m shrink-wrapped in such a tiny comfort zone that I can’t move, I can’t achieve anything, I can’t grow. And so I want to keep pushing, keep developing, keep evolving. I want to keep showing what an ordinary person can do when they put their hearts and minds and souls into it.

I want to show that courage is a choice born out of what the world need from us right now, and we all have to step up and be courageous if we are to face the challenges, and explore the opportunities, that face the world today.

Courage – Nature or Nurture?

So, did I have to row across three oceans to find my courage? Or, like the Cowardly Lion, was courage something I had all along? And all I needed was a quadruple gin to help me find it?

For me, maybe I did have to do the whole ocean rowing thing. At that point in my life, emerging from a career and a marriage, I had something I needed to prove. I needed to burst out, not so much from my past, but more from my self-limiting beliefs. I needed to make a grand gesture, more to myself than to anybody else, about what I stood for.

evolution 4In many indigenous traditions, there are rituals that mark the transition from one stage of life to the next, and I sometimes think that it is a shame that we have lost that in our western world, as it really honours the accumulation of wisdom and celebrates what we have to offer in each chapter of our lives.

For me, back then, I needed my rite of passage, my coming of age, my vision quest, my watery walkabout. I needed to mark my transition from a lost little girl into a woman with a role in the world, a contribution to make, a unique gift to offer.

And I really, deeply, believe that we all have exactly that – a role in the world, a contribution to make, a unique gift to offer.

The Grandest Version of the Greatest Vision

I used to play small. But then I realised I was doing myself a disservice, and doing the world a disservice. We are facing unprecedented challenges, and we need people to be the best and most courageous that they can be. In his books, Neale Donald Walsch suggests that we have an obligation to be the “grandest version of the greatest vision that we ever had of ourselves” so that we contribute to the evolution of the whole.

Marianne Williamson says: “Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine… And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

Your World Needs You

So, now that you have seen how it’s possible for a previously very ordinary person to find her courage, please ask yourself what would inspire you to find yours.

evolution gandhiWhat do you love to do?

What do you most care about?

How can you make a contribution?

What will make you feel as joyful as this? (video of my arrival into Antigua after rowing my first ocean, the Atlantic)

What would be the first tiny step that you would need to take to get you on that path, or to take you further along it?

 

Please share any comments, commitments, or other thoughts in the comments section below. Don’t be shy. Be courageous!

 

 

8 Comments

  • I’m sad to see the end of this series but what a post!!

    Just like your rowing Roz, my current year long road trip is my walk about. My coming of age. Becoming a woman by seeing what I’m made of. When I first set up this adventure I made justifications for spending a year traveling the road, making art and riding my bike because I didn’t think these were ligament reasons. Two months in I’ve learned that I don’t need justifications or reasons. All I need is my passion and drive to follow my desires or dreams. I am now giving my better (I feel my best self is almost there) self to the world, finally, not holding myself back by trying to live the life “society” or what I feel were the “right” steps to success in life. Which to my surprise has nothing to do with art, bikes or traveling but through the challenges of taking a leap, by finding the courage to push myself to live my dream I have found myself. That’s what this is all about, for me. Now that I’m getting to know who I am I’m basking in bliss from finally taking MY steps “right” or “wrong” in the world.

    Thank you Roz for inspiring, sharing your personal story and giving so much!!!

    • “Basking in bliss” sounds like an amazing place to be!! So happy to hear that your huge and amazing and courageous road trip is bringing you all kinds of benefits – especially the unexpected ones. I think often we feel called to do something without really knowing why…. and it’s only by taking that leap of faith, and stepping out into the unknown, that the WHY becomes apparent.

      If you’re anything like me, your rational mind (which our western society favours so much) could think of a thousand reasons NOT to do what you’re doing. But your intuition told you there was much to discover… and you listened, and you went, and you discovered.

      For anybody who doesn’t yet know about Casey and her adventures, and you’d love to indulge a bit of wanderlust and rite of passage, please check out her fabulous blog at http://www.caseofthenomads.com/the-chronicals/. I’m loving it!

  • What I love to do is connect with nature and share that passion.

    What I care about most is just knowing that out there in thios amazing planet – there is so much yet to discover and so much to learn, we dont have to own or controle everything

    I can make a contribution by getting out there and getting my hands dirty and giving others a chance to share the ride.

    The first step on that path is to open ones eyes and heart and take other peoples guidense and knowledge unconditionally and expand upon it within myself. Good luck Roz and enjoy the journey.

    • Wise words, Adrian. Nature is our greatest guide and teacher. Reconnecting with her is vital – in every sense. Keep on getting out there, and keep on sharing. Thank you!

  • Beautiful, Roz! I loved every article in the series. It can be scary to pursue our calling when we perceive a lack of certainty for our future. But in reality, nothing is certain except for the fact that we do have a calling. It is up to us to follow it! Thank you!

    • You are so very welcome, Cloris! Thanks for the appreciation.

      If any of you aren’t familiar with Cloris’s work, I urge you to check her out. She is a coach and personal branding specialist, with fantastic online materials. You can find her at http://www.cloriskylie.com/

  • Roz,

    Thank you for this series, which are words I will keep coming back to as I try to find the path for me. There are so many times I want to break free and come out of that self imposed shell that I have created, the one that makes me feel I am not making progress in where I want to be. It is time to take that inner look – who do I want to be, and what makes me happy? While I still need time for some self-reflection to get there, at least now I am taking the time to do it.

    • Good for you, Bill!

      And the good thing about that self-imposed shell is that, because you created it, you can un-create it too. It takes courage, but the time that we take to do that important inner work is the most important gift we can give ourselves.

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