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cowardice and courage

My Heart | Happy Valentine's Day!

“My Heart” watercolor on yuppo 9″ x 12″

I recently encountered an experience with someone in my life whose actions I deem as cowardly. It made me think of “The Cowardly Lion” from The Wizard of Oz and his struggle to find courage. I googled “cowardly lion quotes” to see what I would find and came up with this quote from a user on the IMDb website known as “rzajac”, “I guess the part that “gets” me about the movie is how the writers made it pretty plain that the Scarecrow, Tin Man, and Cowardly Lion really already had what they thought they were missing; that their respective problems were in misapprehending their own complete natures. That’s a powerful statement for many of us. I found myself most touched in scenes where the Scarecrow was showing wisdom, the Tin Man feeling deeply (“…when I think of Dorothy in that awful place…”), and the Lion…well, maybe accomplishing this effect was harder in his case…what *is* true courage?”

This made me think about cowardice and courage much more deeply. So I looked up the definition of cowardice on dictionary.com which is “lack of courage to face danger, difficulty, opposition, pain, etc.”.

In the spirit of self-exploration, I ask myself what part of myself does “the cowardly lion” in my own life mirror back to me? I certainly don’t want to get stuck in the place of judgment but rather desire to let my experiences inform and heal me.

I often think of myself as very courageous but, in truth, I have many areas of life where I don’t want to face pain, difficulty or opposition. I have, in the past, avoided the scale because I didn’t want to see the truth of how much I weigh. I have avoided conflict in my relationships (and sometimes still do) because I don’t want to deal with the challenge of it all. I have been surreptitious rather than forthright in the way I’ve handled things out of fear of not getting my needs met, of being punished, criticized and a host of other painful things. I have been working very steadfastly to stop these self-defeating behaviors and experience the transformation available when I stop projecting it all outside of myself and own it.

The word courage comes from the French word corage and the Latin word cor or “heart” which remains a common metaphor for inner strength. One of the meanings of this word from dictionary.com is “The state or quality of mind or spirit that enables one to face danger, fear, or vicissitudes with self-possession, confidence, and resolution; bravery.” So, this tells me that if I remember to move from my heart, from LOVE, I will have the courage I need to face the areas of my life where I have a tendency to be cowardly.

I guess I already have what I thought was missing. I just need to remember that.

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