“Courage is the most important of all the virtues because without courage, you can’t practice any other virtue consistently.” – Maya Angelou
Courage is hard.
When we’re afraid of the dark, it’s tough to turn and walk toward the unknown, into the shadows.
When we’ve followed a certain single path for a very long time, even if it’s hard and we can hardly bear it, it’s easier to stay on the excruciating path than to try to forge a new one.
When we’re sure the sun will be too long in rising and we’re not sure we can make it to morning, it feels impossible to wait for the first glowing light. But it does come. The sun also rises, as Hemingway famously wrote. Thank goodness it does.
It takes courage to be brave, to trust, to love. It takes courage to put our foot down and express to others our need for change. But change is good, and it is possible. And, when it’s a stepping stone toward a healthier life, change is necessary, important, and good.
I’m in a time of significant change, of things which I can’t yet talk about here. But change in this instance is very good, and also very hard. It takes an impossible amount of courage.
Because change is stressful, during this time I’ve been working to stay alert to the things I can do to stay healthy and live my life well. My list, in my own words:
Ways to Live Our Lives Well
- Connect with others, spend time with friends
- Be physically active and get strong
- Eat fresh foods, eat well
- Sleep and create boundaries to enable restful nights
- Read good books often
- Create, whether it’s a great meal or a painting or a poem — it’s good for the soul
- Spend time outdoors
- Build roots in faith
- Work hard at something you love
- Worry less, be positive
- Get good counsel (they help!)
A few years ago, I put together a manifesto:
I think by returning again and again to the things which inspire us, whether it’s a manifesto, a poem, or a list, we can live even better each day. No matter how stressful our situations, we can take steps to promote our well-being.
How do you stay well during difficult times?