“You cannot swim for new horizons until you have the courage to lose sight of the shore.”
Have you ever wanted to do something really badly, but lacked the courage? A year or so ago, I was enrolled in a writing class at John Campbell Folk School in North Carolina. Mealtime was family style, and I happened to be sitting beside a man who was in my cousin's wood turning class. He, as it turned out, was owner of a publishing house in Kentucky. He asked what I like to write; I told him about this blog and a couple of projects I was working on. He pulled out his ipad, tapped a couple of keys and up popped my blog. I grew clammy and began to sweat. He sat there munching his lunch and reading, while my food turned to dust in my mouth. After reading several posts, he turned to me and said, “My wife would love these, I'm going to send them to her.” which he did, right there and then. “What's keeping you from publishing your work?” I took a long, deep breath and said, “Lack of a spinal column.”
Would you believe, I didn't have enough courage to ask him for his card, or whether he would have any interest in reading other things that I have written. I didn't even get his name or which publishing house he owned. Now, that is cowardice in its rawest form. I let my own lack of confidence stand between me and an opportunity that the universe had dropped squarely into my lap. It was pure coincidence—meaningful synchronicity that I let slip away.
Here is a quote from Pulitzer Prize winning playwright, August Wilson: “Confront the dark parts of yourself and work to banish them with illumination and forgiveness. Your willingness to wrestle with your demons will cause your angels to sing.” Confronting one's lack of courage ranks right up there with demon wrestling. We let it stop us from doing any number of things that our soul is leading us to do. It is a personality flaw as egregious as its opposite—egotism. Cowardice must be overcome in the same way that persistent negativity is overcome—with practice and compassion, and the courage to lose sight of the shore.
In the Spirit,