Monday, April 28, 2008


"The original notion of the word 'courage' means 'to stand by one's core,'"
says an Omega catalog description of a course taught by Mark Nepo, author of Facing the Lion, Being the Lion: Finding Inner Courage Where It Lives. says that the root of the word courage is the French for heart. "Bobby Kennedy ...said that for every ten men brave in battle there was only one with moral courage."

In either case, the word does not necessarily mean being on the front lines of just any battle. It means remaining steadfast to one's most strongly held passions and convictions. Which can refer to simply continuing to do your work, day after day.

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Debra W said...

Peggy, I never knew that the French root of the word courage is heart. For some reason, that really resonates with me.

I just asked two of my daughters what the word 'courage' means to them. My fourteen year old said that it means 'to believe that you can do something', and my eighteen year old said that she associates courage with power. Interesting perspectives.

Peggy Payne said...

I love that you're doing a family poll on this, Debbie.

I think I sometimes see courage as retaining one's composure under difficult circumstances. I don't like that definition though. What's so great about composure?

That definition is more macho than Hemingway's definition of courage as "grace under pressure."

Debra W said...

Peggy, your definition is a good one, but I agree with you about the idea of "composure". Often times, when I am having to be courageous, I am not at all composed. I think that courage means being true to what you are really thinking or feeling at the time, and therefore putting it out there regardless of how it appears. Maybe remaining composed so that you can think clearly would be important, but sometimes, in order to make myself clear in a difficult circumstance, I am anything but composed.

I think that courage could be defined as staying on course, even when the road is rocky and uncertain. For me, many days courage means not giving up when all I want to do is crawl under the blankets and hide.

Peggy Payne said...

Yes, staying on course. Even if we have to drag the blankets along on the trip.

As for composure: a friend of mine once said to her therapist (who was encouraging more emotion), "But I can't cry and talk at the same time."

The therapist said, "Oh, really? Your two year-old daughter can."

Debra W said...

I like the therapists response! Lately, I have gotten very good at crying and talking at the same time. My extended family seems to think that neither my tears nor my words matter, anyway. They just look at me as if I am certifiable. Must be because of my lack of composure.

Peggy Payne said...

Your tears and your words matter very much, Debbie. And to me you seem certifiably mentally healthy. I'm sorry they're behaving that way.

Debra W said...

Thank you, Peggy. I truly appreciate your kindness and your support. I understand that this is all a part of the "big lesson" which I am learning this go-around, but even with understanding, the lessons are sometimes very rough. I read someplace that we should all be kinder to each other because everyone is fighting some kind of battle. I always keep this in mind. It helps me to maintain a better, gentler perspective.


Peggy Payne said...

I think it's really true about everyone's struggle. My friend Dan Wakefield keeps that quote you mention on his website; his link is on this blog site, listed under authors.