I’d Be Lion If I Said It Was Courage

Blog 08-20-19 Photo

I’ve always had a passion for adventure. I haven’t always, however, been courageous. I’m deathly afraid of heights, and yet I embarked on a climb to the top of Sigiriya Rock, a massive fortress standing nearly 660 feet high in the center of Sri Lanka. Centuries ago, King Kashyapa built his palace on its top. On a small plateau about halfway up the side, he built a gateway in the form of an enormous lion. I wanted so badly to see these ancient wonders.

So, here I go!  I’m on my way up, half-way up “Lion’s Rock” as it’s also called, when I pass a group of people descending. A middle-aged woman in front of me suddenly freezes in place, refusing to pass on the outside. To give you a visual: She has only a single-pole handrail and 300 feet of free-fall potential between her and the ground below.

In an attempt to keep things moving, I trade places with her and maneuver to the outside. Feeling safer now, she bulldozes past me. Oh no! I immediately slip down the rock but am able to swiftly grab the rail with one hand. With my legs dangling off the rock’s edge, I pull myself to safety with the strength and grace of a gymnast.

Why did I trade places with her? Was I being courageous? For years after that incident, I told a story about how that woman lady almost killed me. As more years passed, I focused less on my harrowing ordeal and more on how I treated her: I felt empathy (remember, I’m terrified by heights). The word courage comes from the Latin word for heart, “cor” (coeur, in French). I didn’t try to be courageous in that moment – I just had heart and did the right thing. And perhaps there’s a little magic at Sigiriya Rock that brought out the lion in me!

This Week: Roar loudly through your heart. Think of something that requires courage. Then DON’T think about being courageous. Rather, tap into your heart as a source for what you want to create for that situation. Knowing what your heart desires can produce the courage you need to Strengthen Your Core.

In Next Week’s Post, we’ll explore finding your voice in service of action with others.

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