In good company
I recently facilitated a Women Howling at the Moon gathering. The focus, We Women of Courage, drew a big gathering of vibrant, inspiring women keen to explore the terrain - and it was clear early in the proceedings that as well as talking about the topic, many women were also demonstrating courage.
Focus on 'We Women of Courage'. (Also check out the previous two blog posts for photos of the event and also participant feedback about the gathering and topic.)
Read on for the thoughts that women have shared about courage. Some are likely to strike a chord.
Establishing the terrain...
How would you define courage?
- Coeur - of the heart.
- Acting despite fear.
- Stepping into the unknown supported by trust in self.
What enables courage?
- A big enough 'why' that reflects us and calls us into action.
- Prioritising our own wisdom and well-being.
- Self-knowledge, self-acceptance, self-appreciation, self-compassion.
- Connecting with our inner mentor/ wise future self.
- Letting go, faith, trusting the universe.
- Seeking out opportunities that build presence, positivity and balance e.g. mindfulness, meditation, art, yoga, resilience music, joy, sensuality and therapies.
- Authenticity, speaking your truth, being yourself.
- Finding allies, setting up mutual support, creating communities that align with your values and vision
- Willingness to be vulnerable.
- Leaning into the discomfort and befriending your inner critic.
- Acknowledging the fear and acting anyway, one step at a time, taking risks, failing fast, being human, continuing to be patient with yourself and bringing compassion to yourself and others.
- 'Out' leadership: demonstrating and supporting heart-based leadership, sharing own vulnerability with authenticity, celebrating own difference.
What blocks courage?
- Negative self talk: the inner critic.
- Feeling overwhelmed.
- Reaction to circumstances or other people's behaviour.
- Fear/worry about imagined events e.g. the future
- Hostile environments e.g. government/organisations.
On the ground: from a personal perspective ...
Where/what would you most like to bring courage to in YOUR life?
- In letting go perfectionism and acting on the basis that I am enough.
- In trusting myself and believing I am okay.
- In my decision making. To make choices that feel right with courage, from the gut. This is something I aspire to do every day.
Relationship with others
- In accepting loss - friendships and my parents' cognition
- In a context where others who share the house have different values, neverthless creating the environment I want.
- In knowing what to do in relation to a family relationship that's not working, where the other person's default mode is extreme and I find myself wanting someone to rescue me.
- In not responding in ways that damage me when provoked or bullied by others.
Expressing full potential
- In making my art, letting go and really trusting the Universe.
- In living my 'Truth'. It's causing me a lot of stress and anxiety not to be doing so.
- In creating the possibility of a career change at this late stage of my life - (nearly 73 years old) - to retire from my profession to train and work in a new area that finally uses my best skills and provides a source of income to help to support me and enable me to set my own work hours.
What's your gut feeling as to the top things that block you from doing that?
- Perfectionism, procrastination and resistance! Fear of failure. Inner critics!
- Shame, guilt and fear of 'not being good enough'.
- Fear of being thought "a fraud" if I call myself an artist.
- Lack of self esteem or self confidence - not knowing what the next step needs to be to have this work.
- A fear of poverty and scarcity in stepping out of a comfortable, known, dependable existence into the unknown.
- Being caught in the past. Identifying the genesis of the blockers (self-imposed / societal / family expectations) and breaking through to move forward.
- Not being present.
- The courage to back myself and trust myself.
Relationship to others
- Difficulty coping with backlash/conflict from those close to me.
- The fear I don't have the strategies to deal with the situation and I would lose contact forever if I stood up to the situation.
- When somebody provokes me, my body kicks into “fight or flight”. That results in unnecessary, damaging conflict or in me abandoning something or someone that I care about.
Service to others/Expressing full potential
- Having to 'chase' clients and jobs as a business owner, after having always had an employee role - and a thought that the work I am thinking of moving into is not as 'important" or much of a contribution as my current health services role.
- Not knowing what skills and technology I'll need to make the transition and not feeling I have what's needed.
- Inability to really let go and play.
What would it take to get over that, do you think? For example, a particular skill, mindset?
- Learning ways to take control of my thoughts, deal with the fear/anger and have new options.
- I'd love my Inner Critic and my Inner Perfectionist to "leave town"! And I'd like to invite my Inner Child to teach me how to let go and play without regard for the end product.
- Venturing inward a little each day to self-nurture, to listen to my heart that yearns to share my craft with as many people as I can in this life time. When I venture in to nurture myself with self love, I find that my personal power lies just behind the curtain of self-love. When I tune inward, I amuse and amaze myself.
Relationship to others
- Me leaving town - no joke - or possibly earning enough money to pay for others to maintain the environment.
Service to others/Expressing full potential
- Some more skills with technique however that's secondary to self-concept.
- Doing training that would give me formal credentials and the skills and technology required.
- I need to honour myself and trust that my existing skills and background make me a great person for the job and that my skills are sought after.
- Trust myself to act when I see the next opportunity
From this evening, one thing you'll do to make a difference for your life / world?
- Think more about things I can do to build my courage.
- Focus on my business!
- Remember that it's okay to step out and speak out - what do I have to lose?
- Start! Just show up in the studio!
- Boldly step into that space with safety.
- Affirmation that I am finally being courageous.
- To help migrants.
- More family honouring and storytelling.
- Speak up more, raise my concerns, let those around me know what I would like or need.
- Commit to yoga as an 'open eye meditation'. Stand up and be different in the face of bureaucracy and expectations in my workplace.
- Try meditation.
- Think about sex.
- Open the voice
- A huge hug of support to get out there and kick ass and whoop whoop.
Next Women Howling at the Moon on Saturday 21 May: Own Your Courage
Did you realise that women tend to be really reticent about doing that? Find out what most gets in our way - and how women deal with it.
Women tend to hugely diminish their own courageous achievements and resources - while not even realising they're doing it! In fact, quite often we can think we're big-noting ourselves, when that's far from the truth.
It's time to listen to and own OUR OWN as well as others' courage. A great way to do that is in a wholehearted, trusted community where we share each others' stories - and we see the impact that our stories have on others.
Saturday 21 May is the evening to make sure you add into your diary. This will be an opportunity to enjoy a beautiful evening in the company of women you really enjoy being around, and to experience owning YOUR courage. It's an experience that could stay with you for a lifetime. We'll:
- Identify your courage through your own stories and those of other women.
- Identify what stops you from owning your courage.
- Share our visions of what could open up through owning our courage.
- Have a sisterhood being a stand for you to own your courage.
To be part of this, book and pay by 18 May at the very latest. And to catch the Early Bird rate, and be in the draw for a free dessert of your choice - make sure you book by 11 May. And of course you'll remember that all profits from the evening go to a worthy charity supporting the work of the Kapululangu Aboriginal Women's Law and Culture Centre in the remote desert of central Australia.