Courage – Part Two

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6th March 2015

Part two then is a small personal act of courage.  One of those “daily acts of courage” I referenced in part one.  Nothing wild or dramatic.  Nothing that will create even a ripple in anyone’s life but my own.  But still something that represents courage in that it involves my stepping out into a vacuum not knowing if there is any kind of safety net.

Along with other programme participants at Emma Collins’ Daring Way workshop (based on the work of Brené Brown) I was asked to express, using any creative medium, what the work around shame, vulnerability and courage had meant to me.Maya Angelou

During that part of the programme I was staying with Amy, a friend who lives close to where the programme was being held.  I didn’t have access to my kids’ (or my) art materials.  No music, instruments, printing capabilities, or any of the trusted resources my mind immediately jumped to.  Amy lives in beautiful Vevey and so I wandered down to the lake for a walk and possibly some inspiration.  As I walked, admired the scenery and people-watched, the words “shame game” cycled around and around in my head.  I decided to do something with those words.

Here it is.  A poem called “The Shame Game”.  My first poem since writing the requisite poetry at school.  Back in the last millennium.  When dinosaurs were still roaming the earth.

Shame Statue
The Shame Game
Here it comes again
I’m unprepared
For Shame to play its game
Wreaking havoc and destroying life
The Siberian winds pick up inside and around me
Whipping icy tentacles around my heart
Tearing off my clothes
My nakedness painfully visible
Mouth frozen, all energy and light
Drained out of my body
Numb from head to toe
I lie limp 
Then I remember sweet empathy
My loyal friend, always close to me
There’s no self-indulgence
No self-pity
Just my courageous vulnerability
I dare step out, into the arena
Back into my life
Remembering I have what it takes
Trusting there’s no need to fake
I will follow my flame
And bow out of my dance with shame
Jim Morrison

Pause for Thought

  • How do you react when someone asks you to be creative, to express yourself creatively, to draw, to sing, to dance?  What do you notice about your reaction?  What does this tell you?Gary Larson Cows
  • What if you knew that expressing your creativity was healthy?  Believing that you are not creative is not only untrue, but also unhealthy.  “Unused creativity isn’t benign.  It grows within us until it’s expressed, neglected to death, or suffocated by resentment and fear”.  (Brené Brown)
  • What might be one or two forms of creative expression that you loved as a kid and that you have neglected during adulthood?  How might these forms of expression be rekindled?  What would doing so offer you?  What would it offer others?
  • What can you do to encourage different forms of expression in yourself, at work, at home, in the community?
  • What can you do to encourage others’ creativity, interests, passions, skills in different ways?