Tag Archives: Courage

Take Courage

Exposure – Word of the DayIMG_0134.jpg

Augusta, the town jetty, and Blackwood River rising.

Fortunately we had raincoats and we knew the rain was coming, but nonetheless, with the wind whipping the rain along, and the cold air pressing in, we felt more than a little exposed. But, because we were prepared we enjoyed the walk. The tide was very high as predicted by the Weather Bureau. There was also a lot of flow from up-river after three major rain bearing fronts have been through and local flooding was expected. You can’t tell from the photo but the timber decking of the jetty looked as if it was floating as the water was touching the underside. We haven’t seen it like that for a while.

Weather exposure can be very serious, hypothermia or sunstroke, the risks are great if you’re not prepared. Preparation means covering up, sunblock, hats, raincoats, warm clothes, appropriate footwear. So that whatever the weather we put on what is necessary to be comfortable and to protect ourselves. However, we know not to wear winter gear in summer and vice versa, and usually we’re good at that.

We’re not so good with emotional exposure. We’re trained, or we train ourselves, to overprotect, and sometimes we wear the wrong emotional gear, like using the mask of happiness to cover depression, or the mask of confidence to cover fear. Rarely do we let others in, we become invulnerable, strong, a veritable fortress. Yet the best possible way forward, the only true way to wholeness is to trust others with our inner world. Of course, it goes without saying, you don’t grab a megaphone and announce your life to the world, but there are people in our lives we can talk to, take off our masks, and be vulnerable with.

As Brene Brown has said many times, in our society vulnerablity, to be exposed, is to be seen as weak. Brown counters this with “vulnerability is our greatest measure of courage.” Brown defines vulnerability as “uncertainty, risk and emotional exposure.” It is an opening of the self to another, whereby empathy becomes the healing counterpoint or the supportive staging point, depending on what we are going through. Brown’s research is thorough, and in it she discovered that every courageous act was underpinned by vulnerability. That tells me that we can only really flourish when we are able to speak our truth and take off our masks and be real with others, then we are whole and not just pieces or segments. The fortress life may serve us well but to really floursih we need to let the drawbridge down from time to time, otherwise we not only defend ourselves against the outsider, we imprison ourselves from the world. I’d rather be open than be a captive! Take courage.

cherry tree winter bare
cold has stunted many new buds
the wild branch has fruit

©Paul Cannon

Paul,

pvcann.com

 

 

 

 

 

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Filed under Haiku, life, mindfulness, nature, psychology, quote, self-development

Notable, Remarkable

via Daily Prompt: Notable

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Warren Macdonald, still climbing.

In April 1997 Warren Macdonald was in the midst of a long sojourn in the Whitsundays. Macdonald, an experienced bushwalker and avid climber set out to climb Mt. Bowen on Hinchinbrook Island. He teamed with another climber Geert Van Keulen, a man he didn’t know, had only just met.

They set out on April 9 (1997). Mt. Bowen is 1,121 mtrs, and though short, it is a tough climb with rain, mud, streams, loose stones and boulders, and the humidity. They climbed for some time, eight and a half hours,  and made camp, but they hadn’t reached the summit.

In the dark,  Warren went out to “take a leak” and then things took a turn. He went out to a ledge across a stream and tried to accommodate the rock, as he positioned himself there was a rock slide and he became pinned, a large wedge of granite had fallen across his leg, the crack he had heard was the breaking of his pelvis. He screamed for Geert, and so the long proces of getting help began. Geert could not budge the rock. and so, the next morning he set off to get help. It took him eleven hours to get down. When Geert arrived at the lagoon he was exhausted, and there was no one to contact, so he made camp and decided to set out the next morning.

Warren Macdonald was rescued, and then went through a very lengthy rehab, losing both his legs above the knee.

What is inspiring is his tenacity, courage, and strength in adversity. He never gave up, sure, he doubted, and lost his cool at times, but he stuck with getting on with life. He worked hard with specilaists in prosthetics and as a result was able to have specially designed prosthetics that enabled him to climb again. He would be the first to say he didn’t do it on his own, doctors and specialists yes, but also family and friends, love and support also helped get him through.

Macdonald has climbed Cradle Mountain in Tasmania using a modified wheelchair, later he climbed Federation Peak (also in Tasmania), Mt. Kilimajaro in Tanzania (being the first double above the knee amputee to to achieve the summit), El Capitan in Nevada, and the Weeping Wall in Alberta. He has also become a motivational speaker.

In one of his talks he says “It’s not about climbing mountains” and in one sense he means that his life is not just about conquering mountains, and in another sense he means that mountains represent many things.

We all have mountains to climb, sometimes we have the emotional or physical equivalent of be being pinned by a granite rock miles from help. And here we are, we’re still here to talk about it, we have survived! We will continue climbing life’s tracks. There will be other trials, and there will be trials for those around us, we can be our own coach and we will undoubtedly be called upon to coach others. Together we can make it. That old saying “It takes a village to raise a child” is true enough in my experience, but I also think it takes a village to survive. We need each other. Warren Macdonald had Geert, hopefully we have our Geert or Geerts when we are pinned down, but also our own inner strength to call on too. And hopefully we are Geert for others.

Living the daily
pinned by granite mountain
I arise by love

©Paul Cannon

Paul,

pvcann.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Filed under bush walking, Country, Haiku, life, mindfulness, poetry, psychology, self-development

Courage Under Fire

via Daily Prompt: Courage

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Photo: UK Department for International Development.

There are many stories of courage throughout history. Wartime in particular seems to courageous people to the fore. Those who fought in the resistance groups during WW2, and individuals like Maximilian Kolbe https://pvcann.com/2017/10/18/brave/ , Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Nancy Wake, John Rabe, Oscar Schindler, and many, many more.

But more recently I have been moved by the courage of the young woman in the photo, Malala Yousafzai.

Most of you will know the story. Malala, born in Mingora in the Swat Valley in Pakistan in 1997, she became an advocate and an activist for womens education rights. She was inspired by her father’s humanitarian work, and Benazir Bhutto, as role models. She came up against the Taliban who were active in the Swat Valley, and who were banning girls from schools. She began writing a blog for teh BBC under a pseudonym and spoke out about her life under the Taliban. She came to prominence in the international media nad was interviewed by New York Times journalist Adam Ellick. And then Desmond Tutu nominated Malala for teh International Children’s Peace Prize.

Her prominence earned the anger of the Taliban who attempted to murder her. And she was shot on October 9, 2012 (yes it was that long ago) and survived, and with hopsital support in both Pakistan then England she made a full recovery. While being shot is never good, it did gain her international fame, which she immediately channelled into her activism for girls education in Pakistan. She set up a web site, continued to write and speak publicly, toured the world, did a TED talk (which is well worth taking the time to view), and set up a foundation called the Malala Fund where most of her award money is then distributed to education casuses across the world. she has shown a generosity in time, compassion and funding.

She has won over fifty international awards for her work for children’s education rights. And in October 2014 Malala was a joint recipient (with Kailash Satyarthi) of the Nobel Peace Prize (sad note here is that Malala is only the sixteenth female recipient, there are ninety male recipients).

She was courageous the moment she determined she wanted to persist in being educated, claiming that the terrorists did not want women to be educated because that would give them power. The moment she started to advocate and became a public activist in her own province and then started a blog, she was courageous, and on a collision course with the Taliban. And her fate was sealed when she gained international fame, and the Taliban decied to be rid of her. But she survived, and Malala continues to be courageous in her activism for the education of children, especially girls. She is doubly courageous, facing down the Taliban, but also the culture of patriarchy across the world that is still resistant to the rights of women, not least of all in education, in many parts of the world today (strange how far we haven’t come).

We need more Malalas, more courageous people to stand and turn the tide of injustice, but as she shows, it is simply sticking to what you beleive and setting out and doing it come what may (even the Taliban). One of Malala’s inspirations is Benazir Bhutto, mine is Malala.

Paul,

pvcann.com

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