The Shape of Courage

Courage comes in all shapes and sizes. Today, courage presented itself to me in the form of Matthew Fox, a seventy-something year old outspoken spiritual leader and author. He was lecturing at a local Unitarian Church on the great mystics and he used everything in his tool box (actually it was a backpack) –shock, shaminism, poetry– to  coax out the courage, creativity and compassion of everyone in the room.

Fox knows a thing or two about courage. He is a former priest who was “asked” to leave the Church for his progressive views and criticism of the Catholic Church. He continues to speak openly, courageously, about the Church’s cover-up of molestation victims and  corruption on all fronts–in our thinking, in our government, in our education system and in our religious systems.

Much of his religious criticism deals with zealots and fundamentalists who teach that we are born sinners. I know this one. I was raised in the Catholic Church and I struggled my entire life with the concept that I was “wrong” from the day I was born. Wrong never felt right to me. Yet somehow, buried deep behind the training, the ancestry, was this feeling of “wrongness” that was ingrained within me, and it steered the course of my life and my choices, well, for much of my life.

It took my “dark night of the soul” during midlife and a lot of introspection to come to the realization that this type of thinking is what is wrong. At least wrong for me. I believe we come from love and that we are love. I believe we are all inter-connected and what we do to one, we do to all. For better and worse.

I believe in people, but institutions, not so much. I believe in the best and the worst of people, and I adjust myself accordingly, and always with some unspoken faith that goodness will eventually righten itself.

But getting back to Matthew Fox and his lecture…he spoke of the need for us to return to our creative selves and to focus less on our Reptilian left brains, so as not to be devoured by it.  He believes, as do I, in the power of intuition (the right brain), the power of creativity (the right brain), and the power of the feminine spirit (right brain) to help lead us out of our social, economic, financial and spiritual crisises.

In Tao Flashes, I write a great deal about the yin, the feminine, the sacred. The sacred feminine spirit is intuitive, instinctive, all-knowing. It is pure potential and it is what births all that is good in this world.

The sacred feminine spirit is a live wire, and it’s been my experience that it really switches on at midlife.

Maybe it’s because our wisdom is catching up with our years. Maybe it’s because time has softened our edges and life has made us more curious. It matters not; the sacred feminine spirit is alive and powerful today! And the more we women use our power, the more it is magnified, and the more it expands to create good, to birth love and to heal.

And we need healing now, more than ever. Our world is hurting. But even so, it’s often easier to look away, to focus on retirement, on daily routines, ordinary distractions.  I know, I do at times.

But imagine what compassion and intuition and the sacred feminine might create in this world if we turned up the volume? Imagine if we turned it loose,  let it spring from our hearts, with just the right word, the right look, the right help, and at the right time? Maybe it is time that we take a vow to be more courageous in our lives, to be more creative, to help heal what needs to be healed in ourselves–or in others–once and for all.

Now that would be an act of creation, and an outrageous act of courage.


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