Finding Courage to Live Well

Colorful sunset: Maremma, Italy

“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.

Colorful sunset: Maremma, Italy
Colorful sunset: Maremma, Italy

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:

Jennifer's Manifesto
Jennifer’s 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?

Published by Jennifer Lyn Art

About Jennifer Writer Author Photographer Artist Corporate Marketer Happy Wife & Mom World Traveler Grateful.

19 thoughts on “Finding Courage to Live Well

  1. This is a great list, Jennifer. I think for me, I try to surround myself with the most positive people I can. During a recent time of great change, I tried hard to avoid negative people — it really helped. Take care. xox

  2. Hi Jennifer,
    During stressful times, peaceful times, moody times, busy times, happy times, or even ordinary routine times, I seek the solace of nature in solitude for my well being. If being in nature is not possible, I try to take deep breaths, and make mental shifts that promote a better feeling. Sending peaceful vibes your way and feeling grateful that I was inspired to write my own manifesto a few years ago after reading yours.

  3. Jennifer, I love your manifesto! I wish you peace during this time of transition. I have often not nurtured myself very well during times of stress, which only adds to the already difficult time. So, lately I have found that in difficult times, I pray, try to rest more, prepare foods that give me joy, spend time outdoors (beach/ parks/mountains) & garden. Feeling the strength of the sun and seeing the beauty of flowers and plants restore my center – when I feel as if I am completely off my axis. It also reminds me of the circle…no sorrow will last forever…and no joy will either.
    Breathe. Make the best of now. Be well.

    1. Everything you’ve said is so true. Restoring our center is hard, but you mention great ways to finding the path back. Thank you, Felicia! xo

  4. All so beautifully said. I love your list and your manifesto. Surrounding myself with friends is key for me. Positive people who love and support me. Hugs to you!

  5. Great article Jennifer! Now I know why you’re the strongest woman I know. Hugs my friend

  6. Dearest Jennifer,

    I have read between the lines of your words and think perhaps we are fellow travelers of the same path. I wish you well.

    My best advice for surviving the difficult is: stay busy, look for opportunities to serve others, take care of yourself by surrounding yourself with that which gladdens your heart, take a walk every day to enjoy nature, and pray to God for comfort and strength.

    Remember, in the end, it is not the destination, but the manner in which you walked that reveals who you are. Walk well–walk with love and grace.

    1. Thank you for the excellent advice, and for the reminder of walking well with love and grace. That is truth. Thank you, Kim, and I’m thinking of you, too. xo

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