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My friend Orrie gave me a copy of Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen’s inspirational book entitled The Aladdin Factor. The image of the magic lamp adorns the cover that contains the words of these two dynamic speakers and authors. Over the years I have had the pleasure of interviewing Mark once and Jack twice. Each time, their tried and true wisdom leapt out at me and I made sure not to get out the way when it did, but instead, embraced it. The story of how The Chicken Soup For The Soul line came to be is literary legend.  Something like 144 rejections came their way before a publisher with foresight grabbed hold for the ride and now over 115 million copies have sold round the world.  The Aladdin Factor focuses on the idea of asking for and being open to receving your heart’s desires.  Many things keep us from doing that; from fear of both success and failure to a sense of unworthiness, from the belief that it won’t occur, to a history of rejection that has us thinking it will always be that way.

I began perusing it this morning and opened at random to page 95 and came upon this paragraph headline:  “Realize that everyone else is afraid too.”  It goes on to say “It is very liberating when you realize that everyone else is walking around just about as afraid as you are.” Most people who know me would say that I come across as being self assured and relatively fearless. Guess what…it’s an act..uh oh…  now you know that the ‘Empress has no clothes. ‘  How freeing it feels to admit that. Now there is no more facade to keep up. See, the thing is, being fearless isn’t the ideal. It is being aware of where fear can be helpful since it keeps us from walking down a dark alley at midnight or entering a lion’s cage either literally or figuratively. Living in a perpetual state of fear, however is limiting and disabling.  What I have learned to do is recognize my fears, even list them and then face them head-on…well sometimes side-long, sometimes sneaking up on them before they can creep up on me. Most of the time I don’t allow fear to stop me as I echo the words of Susan Jeffers; “Feel the fear and do it anyway.” It doesn’t mean that I live recklessly, but rather lushly and courageously.

I love the word ‘courage’, since it comes from the French word couer which means ‘heart’, so that to live courageously is to come from the heart. What if, in any situation where fear lurks about could be faced with heart wide open, leading the way?  I have discovered that when I do that, fear evaporates like fog on a newly sunny day. Sometimes it takes courage to begin a relationship, sometimes to end one when it carries with it more ‘oy than joy’.  Raising a child calls for more courage than you could imagine, as does watching that newly minted adult sprout wings and fly independently. Writing a book, painting a picture, auditioning for a play, starting a business, financial problems, living with illness or other physical challenge, surviving abuse or trauma, losing a spouse/partner, sibling, child or parent to death; all of these beckon courage.  I am blessed to know many survivors/thrivers of such circumstances. I’m sure you do too…perhaps you fall into one or more of those categories. I certainly do.

Some ideas for identifying your ‘courage curve’

Make a list of what you most fear.

Ask yourself if any of these have actually come to be.

If they have, ask yourself what you believe and tell yourself about these situations.

How have you moved through fear into courage?

Know that your history is not your destiny.

How can you live courageously?

Let your heart take wing.

So let it be~

http://youtu.be/u6P4jI8t-0I  Strength, Courage & Wisdom  by India.Arie

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