A Year of Being Bold

/bōld/

: showing or requiring a fearless daring spirit
: adventurous; free; courageous
: a person who is not afraid to speak up for what she believes in risking
danger, embarrassment, or reputation

The wicked flee when no one is pursuing them, but the righteous are bold as a lion – Proverbs 28:1

The blue house year is behind us, although there are some remnants of unfinished business still to be resolved. I won’t go into detail yet, but I hope to share some of our experience sometime soon because “sorrow shared is sorrow halved” and, as always, my hope is to mitigate that sorrow through compassionate communion. Like Pema Chodron says, “Compassion is not a relationship between healer and the wounded. It’s a relationship between equals. Only when we know our own darkness well can we be present with the darkness of others. Compassion becomes real when we recognize our shared humanity.”

In the meantime, I can safely say that the place beyond the blue house is filled with warm sunny days, the aching beauty of love and connection, freedom, a cozy life lived in peace.

I have a theory that the sorrow comes first on purpose.  As Kahlil Gibran said, “The deeper that sorrow carves into your being, the more joy you can contain.”  In other words, that empty chasm you think you feel when you’re experiencing grief is real.  Your insides are being hollowed out … into a vessel that will eventually contain something else.  If you can suffer nobly, as they say, and wait patiently, joy will come and fill the parts of you that have been carved away.

But, these are just words when you’re in the thick of it…when the fist of fate is wringing your heart dry. I don’t know how you respond when faced with letting go, but I dug my heels in and my heart clung to what it loved, until it cried for mercy and released its grip through forced surrender. What that taught me is that I can do hard things, I can let go of things I love, of people I love, of places I love, I can let go and also survive.

I love what Jason Silva says in his short video on Shots of Awe, Ego Death – The Art of Ritualized Surrender … “Psychologists often tell us that it is in the act of letting go that you find out who you are. The prospect of ego death, however, the prospect of any kind of ritualized surrender feels like dying, but only to those who resist it. Those who eventually come to realize that there is no such thing as death, at least that psychological dying into the moment is but an illusion, the last hurrah, the last resistance before you hurl yourself into the abyss and realize that it’s a featherbed.”

And so, I think, an appropriate response to that realization is to bless oneself with the gift of being bold … being bold because anything less is hesitation, being bold because it is the opposite of playing small, of being forcibly diminished, of being told to keep quiet, to stop writing, to stop speaking the truth, being bold because a brave life requires a fearless daring spirit, the courage to leave nothing left unsaid, to risk embarrassment for the sake of living rather than just existing, for the sake of knowing instead of wondering, for laying it all on the table as opposed to wasting precious time waiting to see what happens next. In fact, I’ve already extended myself in loving boldness a few times and it taught me that I have more things and people yet to release. It requires persistent surrendering because what is learned in the process may not be what was hoped for and there will be a tendency to resist what is. In boldness I will stop rowing the boat and see who picks up the oars … I already have and it has been revealing … I feel lighter already. It’s time. Time to boldly surrender to the process of letting go and letting in and allowing providence to move. As William Hutchison Murray said, “In that moment that one definitely commits oneself … All sorts of things occur to help one that would never have otherwise occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision raising in one’s favour all manner of unforeseen incidents, meetings, and material assistance which no man could have dreamed would come his way. Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it. Begin it now.”

And so with one small rebellious act of hitting “publish” after being told to stop … a year of living boldly, a year of being bold, begins now.

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