Deep Conversations and Courage

In the last couple of weeks I have had some deep conversations with friends. I like friendships like this. The ones where you don’t chat about the weather and if you do, it has more meaning that just whether you will wear a jacket.

These kinds of conversations seem to be lacking in so much of our vernacular these days or maybe it’s just lacking in my world. Interactions of substance require a certain level of vulnerability and trust among those involved. Otherwise there’s a lot of hedging, talking around subjects and staying very benign so as not to offend anyone or discover you may disagree. Our public discord has gotten to a place that not agreeing on a topic can become a personal affront quite quickly. This is not to say that deep conversations are by definition offensive but when you share strong opinions and more accurately strong emotions it can certainly trip the trigger on someone else’s soft spot — or yours.

To be clear, we are still speaking about a conversation that is held with respect, dignity, and integrity. I am not referring to the shouting matches and online sniping that goes on.

What do we do then in so many of our conversations? We do what’s safe and disconnected. We couch things. We say things in so many words. Or you do what I do, you talk about nothing… and I rather loathe it.

When you have a friend, or a few, that you can dig in with— the ones you can show your dark stuff to; speak your difficult thoughts to; share your painful emotions with; I am learning you better savor it. Hold it sacred and engage it. These are the exchanges that nourish us, help us grow, and sustain us.

One of these good friends who, prior to recent months, I haven’t seen regularly for years. It’s comical really since we don’t live that far from each other and our work keeps us connected. For many years, we really only kept up with one another via clients we shared. I am a yoga teacher/personal trainer and my friend does amazing bodywork (it’s way more impressive than that but we don’t have time for delving into her expansive healing knowledge). So over the years, she’s sent clients to me and when mine are having niggling pains or injuries, she’s first on my referral list. We have a strong mutual trust professionally and I am starting to appreciate even more so, personally.

A few months ago, we scheduled to meet for lunch and decided we should plan to get together every month. And it’s been fantastic. She’s one of those great people who you can pick up where you left off with or you can be way out in left field and she’ll come running out to catch whatever fly-ball conversation topic you have on your heart.

When I went to meet her for lunch she greeted me with a hug and homemade kombucha. Already, a great start.

And before a few minutes passed she was sharing with me that she’s been noodling over the word courage.

Good morning, wordies!!  She should be your friend, too. She told me how the last year of her life had weaved itself into this perfect parable about courage. Where it shows up and what it looks like when it is lacking. How we demonstrate our courage in some areas of our lives and how it astonishingly vanishes in others. She told me how she’d been looking up the word and none of the definitions had really spoken to her or how she views courage.

(My inner grammarian was singing, Hallelujah.) 

Thankfully, being someone who does the same kind of research on words from time to time (read: almost daily) I said, let’s look up the Latin or Greek root word. It’s always so much more powerful. Those definitions, in my opinion, always have more gravitas. (and in case you are wondering, I looked “gravitas” up too while writing this)

We were not disappointed.

The root of the word courage is cor—the Latin word for heart. In one of its earliest forms, the word courage had a very different definition than it does today. Courage originally meant “To speak one’s mind by telling all one’s heart.”

We both let out a sigh when we read it like it filled a spot we didn’t know had gone empty before.  It’s a robust sentence. “To speak one’s mind by telling all one’s heart.” (Say it out loud. Really. Go on… it’s powerful) That would take Brené Brown size vulnerability, friends, to do in your day-to-day existence and yet Brené calls it “ordinary courage.”

During our time she offered me a question, that in the context of our conversation she didn’t think was meant for me, but it was. She gave me a Danielle Laporte-style Truthbomb: Do you have the courage to see this as a blessing?

At that moment, a lunch that just two hours earlier I had pondered rescheduling because I was “too busy,” handed me my next stepping stone in life.

Sunshine & Sarcasm,
Lowi & G

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