July 1 – The Heart’s Blossom – Mark Nepo, The Book of Awakening

Courage is the heart’s blossom.

All courage is threshold crossing. Often there is a choice: to enter the burning building or not, to speak the truth or not, to stand before oneself without illusion or not. But there is another sort of courage we are talking about here – the kind when afterward, the courageous are puzzled to be singled out as brave. They often say, I had no choice, I had to run into that building for that child. Or I had to quit my job or I would have died.

Despite all consequence, there is an inevitable honouring of what is true, and at this deep level of inner voice, it is not a summoning of will, but a following of true knowing.

My own life is a trail of such following. Time and again, I have heard deep callings that felt inevitable and which I could have ignored, but only at great risk of something essential perishing.

It was this honouring of what is true that guided me through my cancer experience: saying no to brain surgery and yes to rib surgery, saying yes to chemo and not to chemo. Each decision appeared both courageous and illogical to my doctors. Since then, I have been called heroic for surviving, which is like championing an edge for finding its nest, and I have been condemned as selfish for seeking the Truth, which is like blaming a turtle for finding the deep.

Courage of this sort is the result of being authentic. It is available to all and its reward, far more than respect, is the opening of joy.

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