The Courage to Choose
when we choose to live fearlessly, it doesn't mean we're choosing without fear… it means we're choosing to fear less. in other words, when we bring fear with us, we receive its powerful energy as our ally, our friend, and have opportunities to be courageous - to take heart - in the choices we make. and.. we are not alone. there are countless millions around the world who are courageously choosing to live fear-lessly, inspiring others to step up and do the same. in mid-January I boarded a train to San Francisco after spending five wonderful days with my daughter on a trip to southern California where she was going to attend a new college. we had some time on the front end of our trip, so we decided to take the coast highway. we both kept remarking how glad we were that we decided to do that. it was leisurely, beautiful and inspiring, and it gave us time and space to have some wonderfully heartfelt conversations about school, work, the beauty of California, relationships, family and life in general. it was a beautiful journey on the outside, but more importantly, i was inspired by the beauty of her inner journey and proud of her for being so courageous in the face of all the choices in front of her.
when we arrived at Pitzer College, Jemma realized that she felt less certain about her decision to be there as she had been a few months earlier. and, although we spent three days getting her settled into her dorm, shopping for supplies and visiting with our lovely hosts, this feeling persisted. and, though she felt certain, we decided that i would leave on Sunday, giving her a couple of days to be there on her own and deepen into her decision to stay or not. as I made my way back up the middle of the state, I felt a wave of sadness at leaving my little girl all alone in a faraway place, but i wholeheartedly trusted her capacity to make the right choice for herself.
i am deeply honored she asked to spend that time with me and to witness her process of becoming clearer about who she is and what she wanted. two days after i left, she called another college to which she had applied to inquire if they still had her package available- and they did. so she took the necessary steps to withdraw from Pitzer, packed up her things, drove the 8 hours back to the bay and enrolled the next morning at her new school. inspired by her courage, self-awareness, wisdom and clarity, i learned much from her willingness to live in the mystery of a lot of uncertainty, her ability to listen deeply to her own heart, her courage to change her mind and her capacity to navigate the world with a maturity that is rare and precious. she made the right choice, even though it meant changing her mind and possibly appearing fickle in the eyes of others. she chose courageously and well.
recently, i've had some opportunities to make my own courageous choices which have helped me grow and learn in ways i didn't realize were available to me. i've had opportunities to lean into discomforts, to question my own motives, to stretch into love and to take an even deeper, more courageous look at who i am and what i'm here for. if you really knew me, you would know that i've often had lofty ideas of making get that you matter a global movement which inspires, informs and ignites millions of people to make their greatest contributions to the world. i've spent countless hours dreaming and scheming about how to make that happen, and what i've come to realize is that i have to reel it back in. i have to get back to the roots of the entire message which was to write a book called Getting That You Matter. that was it. it wasn't "you need to create a global movement" or "you need to inspire millions of people to take action." it was to write the book.
what i'm coming to see is that, in getting back to the basics of this message, in returning to what sang to my heart seven years ago this month, i am courageously choosing to follow this path from a place of what inspires, informs and ignites me rather than from a place of strategizing about what may inspire others to get that they matter. in other words, there is no way for me to share this message without BEing it myself. so, i'm taking a long, hard look at all the ideas i've had, and am giving myself an opportunity to see that the only person i can choose for is myself. although i can - and i do, to the best of my abilities - live from the place of this message being out in the world in a big way, the way to actually allow that to unfold in the best way is to return my attention to the simplicity of it. in doing so, i have yet more opportunities to let go of my attachment to my identity, to step bravely towards love, and to continue to surrender to the moment while standing firm in the bedrock of who i am underneath all of the memories, stories and dreams.
in diving deep into my personal process of surrendering to awakening and letting go of identity (sometimes grieving and celebrating all at once), i am becoming more and more present to the perfect unfolding of it all. in choosing to love wholeheartedly without expectation and to forgive myself and others for choices we've made that weren't always courageous, i'm giving myself repeated opportunities to Be Love. in shedding my old skin for what's to come and trusting that, in balancing what's in front of me with what needs to happen to bring this message to the perfect audience, i am choosing to be the messenger i'm here to be.
as i have told my daughter many times, "it's always okay to change your mind. what matters most is what you think of yourself, not what others think of you." what matters most is that we get that we matter, that we choose courageously for ourselves and live from that place of authenticity. that is the only place from which we can create powerfully.
where in your life are you being courageous? what choices are in front of you that feel stretchy or uncomfortable? are you in a situation in which you need to change your mind, like Ray Anderson of Interface Carpets, in order to bring yourself or your organization into integrity? like this amazing teacher in Washington D.C., do you have something you need to speak out about courageously? where are you making fear-less choices? what do you stand for enough, believe in enough, love enough to make a different choice than you're making right now? what choices could you make in order to Be Love over everything else?