For me it happens when my attention is directed outward for too long, when my first instinct upon waking is to reach for my phone to read news or email. When I concentrate solely on events and people outside of myself, I forget to take my vitamins and drink enough water. The morning becomes rushed. My imagination shrinks. I have only a vague idea of how I feel.
I forget that I love spacious and silent mornings, drinking my coffee at the dining room table after my daughter has left for school. And how—when I step away from electronic distractions—I’m aware of the sun rising over the mountain, shining through my window, warming my back. I remember that in the early morning, ideas and discoveries come easily to me.
My friend Kelly is especially good at keeping spacious mornings. An idea came to her recently, to create a painting that she would send to a community garden she admired. The executive director, after receiving it, called to ask if Kelly could design a t-shirt for the garden. They met, and Kelly will soon volunteer her time and talents in other ways for them too. Her instinct, to create and send a painting, opened a door to working with an organization that she truly believes in. The idea came straight from her heart.
The word courage comes from the French coeur, which means heart. In the words of the poet David Whyte, “To be courageous is to stay close to the way we are made.”
If you don’t know David Whyte’s poetry, and if you have two and a half minutes, listen to him read “Stay Close In.” Whyte often repeats lines when he reads, making the poem a kind of spoken meditation. Enjoy!
This post was originally written in 2017. I’m working on novel currently, and in the coming weeks, will be posting past writing that I’ve selected for Green Callings readers.
If you find yourself in transition—and aren’t we all right now?—and need a little help in discovering what’s next, please visit my online course, Figuring Out What’s Next.