Category Archives: Courage
“In the difficult are the friendly forces, the hands that work on us.” — Rilke
Too often we imagine life as sort of a magic carpet ride taking us wherever we wish to go. Perhaps we’re watching television and an ad hooks into some fantasy we have in our mind and convinces us the world is at our beck and call. We are omnipotent again, just as we were in infancy – “Your Majesty the Baby!”
But what would such a “magical” life yield in terms of change and growth? Why would we even bother to strive if we could have everything we want or crave? We would be the same at age fifty as we were at thirty and fifteen and five months – “Your Majesty the Baby!”
We need change and for the most part a majority of us are able to welcome it, even if change means some difficult growing pains. With a little guidance from the Universe, we can strive toward an abundance of goodness. We are omnipotent, but we are not alone. We are part of a human community, and we can be in touch with that Power which is beyond ourselves. That is the real miracle!
- The Innocence of Children (christophersmark.wordpress.com)
- Ego Ideal – on The Personality Concept (socyberty.com)
- Could An Omnipotent Being Prove It? (juliansanchez.com)
“Courage is like love; it must have hope for nourishment.” -Napoleon
In the story, The Wizard of Oz, Dorothy, on her way down the yellow brick road helps the Scarecrow from being impaled on the pole he has been on, helps the Tin Woodman move again with a simple oil can and encourages them and the Cowardly Lion to journey with her and Toto to the Emerald City. The Scarecrow wants to get a brain, the Tin Woodman a heart, and the Cowardly Lion, courage. All are convinced by Dorothy that the Wizard can help them too. Together, they overcome obstacles on the way including narrow pieces of the yellow brick road, Kalidahs, a river, and the Deadly Poppies.
When each traveler meets with the Wizard of Emerald City, he appears each time as someone or something different. To Dorothy, the Wizard is a giant head; the Scarecrow sees a beautiful woman; the Tin Woodman sees a ravenous beast; the Cowardly Lion sees a ball of fire. The Wizard agrees to help each of them, but one of them must kill the Wicked Witch of the West. The Wizard provides the Scarecrow, the Tin Woodman, and the Cowardly Lion with a head full of bran, pins, and needles (“a lot of bran-new brains”), a silk heart stuffed with sawdust, and a potion of “courage.” Because of their faith in the Wizard’s power, these otherwise useless items offer a focus for their desires.
Courage never operates in a vacuüm; we can always try hard and see ourselves as courageous about something. We also need to believe that there will be some consequence to our acts of bravery. It seems we are all looking at the long-term for a deliverance for ourselves and others.
Love, too, needs a sense of future, time to develop and flower. It is only passion that lives for an instant and passion, like the red rose, doesn’t last out the full year.
So I believe, love and courage are similar and work together for our own good and the good of others. By working on ourselves through a form of personal growth and development we treasure love and courage as we find ourselves with greater wisdom and more abundance of peace with ourselves and others. I believe that this is one of the ways we have faith in the long-term and in things that endure. No one is suggesting we can change overnight, but with love and courage and the hope on which they depend, we can all work wonders! I believe in my courage to change day-by-day.
A Short Story About a Butterfly
She was a beautiful butterfly and she belonged to someone now. Her delicate wings glistened in the light like stained glass windows in a cathedral. She sat on a little twig, her big dark eyes peering out at the world from behind the protection of her glass enclosure. She was happy. She was safe from the world, out there, content to live within the confines of her glass jar; days spent flying and fluttering about almost forgotten.
One day, a boy took the jar with the butterfly in it and carried it outside. “Butterflies should be free,” he said. The butterfly wasn’t so sure. She clung desperately to the twig, terrified of this sudden journey into the unknown world. When the boy got outside, he took the lid off, shook the jar and said, “Okay butterfly, fly free!”
But the little butterfly didn’t want to fly free. She liked her safe little home inside the jar. She liked the twig upon which she perched. She liked the constant temperature of the air, the cool feel of the glass against her wings when she spread them wide. She did not want to fly free. The little boy became agitated. He shook the jar again and again until finally, realizing the butterfly was not going to come out, he threw the jar to the ground and smashed it into a thousand pieces.
Suddenly exposed to the chill of the air, the butterfly cried in terror. “What have you done? You’ve ruined everything!” The little boy didn’t understand. The butterfly quivered on the grass, her wings shaking, her eyes tearing. She wouldn’t move from the twig to which she clung. “Stupid butterfly,” he said before turning his back and walking away.
The little butterfly watched him leave and wondered what on earth she was going to do now. Where would she go? How would she ever feel safe again? Just then a gentle breeze came up and stirred her wings.
“Who’s there?” she asked.
“It’s me. The Wind,” a voice answered.
“The Wind you say? Come on, who are you – really?”
“I can be your friend,” the Wind responded.
“Ha!” chirped the butterfly, her voice rising in condescension. “I don’t need a friend. I need a glass jar.”
“How do you know you don’t need a friend? Have you ever had one?”
The butterfly didn’t want to listen to the Wind. She wanted to climb back inside the security of the glass jar and be safe. “Go away! Leave me alone.” The Wind didn’t listen. He tickled her wings and ever-so-gently stroked her body. The Wind caused his gentlest breezes under and over her as he coursed through the air. “Stop that!” The butterfly cried. The Wind’s friendly breezes were encouraging her wings to unfold.
She did not want her wings to unfold. She did not want to let go of the twig to which she still clung so fiercely. The Wind listened, but reasoned with the butterfly, explaining his many centuries on Earth and the experience he has gained with which he only wishes to do acts of kindness; his present act of kindness will benefit the butterfly greatly and bring great joy. With that, he grew stronger. He couldn’t stop his swift breeze from naturally lifting the butterfly off the ground.
“What? What’s happening?” she cried as the earth began to fall away. “Stop it! I’m scared.” The Wind continued to ignore her cries as he carried her further and further away from the broken pieces of the glass jar that was once her home. He carried her to a garden of bright, brilliant colored wild flowers. Their velvety faces pointed up towards the sun, the colorful heads nodded in joy against the gentle caresses of the breeze as it carried the butterfly through their midst.
“Oh my gosh!” cried the butterfly. “Look at all the colors. What are they?” she asked as without thinking her wings began to move up and down by themselves and she began to flit among the multi-colored hues of the flowers. “They’re your friends,” the Wind whispered into her ear.
Suddenly, the butterfly realized she was flying. She stopped moving her wings up and down and landed with a plop on top of a flower. “Oh, sorry,” she said as she struggled to gain flight again. The flower, a bright sunny, daisy with many arms smiled happily and replied. “Don’t be sorry. You’re helping me grow!”
Just then, another beautiful butterfly came flitting by. He saw the little butterfly struggling to lift off from the flower and settled on a petal close by. “Hi,” he said, his eyes twinkling in the sun. “What’s your hurry? How about sitting with me awhile?”
“Who are you?” the little butterfly asked, trying desperately to fold her wings into her body to avoid touching his.
“I’m a butterfly,” he replied. “Just like you.”]
“Hmm,” the little butterfly thought for a moment as she digested this new information. “And you live out here?” “Where else would I live?” he asked. Growing tired of sitting around in the sunshine, he spread his magnificent wings and took flight. “Come on,” he called back to the little butterfly who watched in awe as the sun caught his wings and cast beautiful colorful prism onto the ground. “Let’s fly!”
The little butterfly looked around. Amidst the flowers hundreds of butterflies flitted joyfully among the flowers. Here and there a big fat bumblebee buzzed its way around as it busily gathered nectar for its hive.
The butterfly wanted to be like the other butterflies she could see around her. Carefully she unfurled her wings. She felt a tickle of breeze caress her skin. She felt her body lifting up. Leaving her fear behind her spread her wings and took to the skies. Beneath her, the glass shards of her forgotten jar glistened in the sun. In the distance, the little boy played ball with his dog while all around her the world revolved in magnificent splendor as she began to fly. She was free at last. Free to feel the Wind beneath the wings, as she moved beyond the memory of her glass jar into the big wide world around her.