The Courage to Risk

Anaïs Nin: “And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom”

Winter is still clinging tightly to the pasture.  The icy wind threatens, and despite the sun there are still patches of snow.  Yet, almost imperceptibly, spring is being born.  There is mud where the snow has been.  The grass is subtly greener, spring onions rise in dainty clumps, and tiny weeds don miniscule purple flowers ornaments.  The horses are shedding.  Even a last-chance snow storm can’t stop the tide of life and awakening that has begun.

I’m a cantankerous old woman; I’m not mean-spirited, just crotchety.  I resist things.  I like routine.  I’ve had enough trauma and upheaval in my life that there’s a soothing quality to sameness.  Well, that’s what I tell myself, anyway.

There’s something I’ve been thinking about for years, something I need to do.  It’s nothing earth-shattering, just something that my heart and soul keep reaching for, no matter how many times I shut the door on the idea.

Does that sound familiar?  What does that slamming door sound like?

I can’t, because…. (insert reason here).
I shouldn’t
it probably wouldn’t work out
it might be too painful
I wouldn’t really be any good at it
I’m too old, too fat, too….
or maybe:
I drew a line in this sand years ago, and I’m not crossing it now

And here we are, not moving forward, not yielding to the change, the growth that aches to be born, like the inevitable spring.  The funny thing is that the longer we cling to our notions of why we “can’t”, the further from view the truth actually gets.  For instance, if we say to ourselves for years, “I’m too (fill in the blank) to do this thing.”  That starts sounding like truth to us.  And not just a truth, the truth – the great mother-of-all truths.

What if we were willing to risk peeling back that tough outer layer of the truth-onion.  Are we afraid of what we might see?  Probably.  But if we have the courage to do it, we’re usually surprised that it was not only effortless, it revealed something interesting.

But, it’s not quite enough.  What about that next layer, and the next?  The stories we tell ourselves, the protection against risk, against hurt, against exposing ourselves and feeling vulnerable – are they the truth?  Probably not.  Mine aren’t.  Oh, and I’ve got some really juicy material for stories.  But, they’re a little old.  A little worn out.  And it does take so much energy to maintain them.

For me, as the layers of the Great Onion of Truth fall away, what I’m most often left with is, “I drew a line in this sand years ago, and I’m not crossing it now.”  But then, I’m cantankerous that way.

What if….?  Maybe there’s really nothing stopping me.  Maybe, just maybe, it’s time to relax my grip a bit, welcome the vulnerability of spring.

When I went out this morning, the daffodils were just as they had been for weeks, tightly waiting buds, braced against the cold. This evening, on the way to feed the horses, I walked past them again.  They had opened.  A tiny yellow lesson.

First Daffodils

All photographs copyright Zen Doe

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48 Comments on “The Courage to Risk

  1. Peeling onions… one layer at a time – in your own time… every step taken, every layer removed is one layer closer to getting to the core… a little tiny onion that you can squish.
    Best done whilst wearing swimming goggles 😉

  2. A big smile on my face and watery eyes after reading your post. Thank you and have a beautiful Friday! 🙂

    • Thank you, Matthew. It means a lot to me when people say things like this. Wishing you peace and courage, ZD

  3. Can I tell you how grateful I am that you find time to visit my blog? I sit there with knowing that someone as beautiful as you are cares, and let this knowledge penetrate my very Being. When I see that there is still suffering and unopened doors in your life, I want to find a small flower, put it in my son’s little hand so he can offer it to you with its immense healing power.

    With great love,
    To Know Beauty

  4. I found myself at a crossroad this week when I was laid off from my job. I’m not superstitious and I don’t believe in coincidence. So when things and people come into my life, I attribute it to paying attention. Last week, a woman I haven’t seen in several years showed up on my LinkedIn page. I sent her a request to connect. She did, and we were connected the same day I got laid off. When I read her profile, I was reminded that she is a career counselor (I had forgotten that). I called her, left my name and phone number and asked her to call me. When she returned my call later that day, we had a wonderful, warm, heartfelt conversation. At one point, she suggested that I read The Great Work of Your Life by Stephen Cope. I’m reading it and it’s wonderful. You might enjoy it as well.
    -Namaste

  5. Zen, I’m taking the liberty of re-writing your conclusion:

    “What if….? Maybe there’s really nothing stopping me. Maybe, just maybe, it’s time to relax my grip a bit, welcome the vulnerability of spring. Even a last-chance snow storm can’t stop the tide of life and awakening that has begun.”

    What do you think? Doesn’t that look good, feel right and sound so do-able? 😉

  6. Zen I needed this so bad this morning. Yesterday was a day filled with trauma , drama , pain and suffering. I needed to trip through your world for just a minute. Thank you for this post.

  7. “Maybe, just maybe, it’s time to relax my grip a bit, welcome the vulnerability of spring.” – Those words touch me deeply. It’s something that I’ve finally started to allow to myself. Becoming vulnerable, not resisting – and relaxing into being.- I’m also old (approaching 60), but I honestly believe it’s still so much we can do. So go ahead! You have so much to give.

  8. I love your writing, it provokes me to write with more vulnerability, and I love daffodils, they are so optimistic, in a slightly ‘to hell with it’ sort of way.

    • Hahahaha! “to hell with it” beauty and optimism. That’s a blog-post in the making, isn’t it?!

  9. I was born in early spring a long time ago. I’m old too. But even with its mud and onions, Spring is still my favorite season.

  10. Zen Doe,
    Nice writing. Nice daffodils. Happy opening.

    Now my curiosity is up. What the heck could it possibly be? You don’t ( as a person I only know through your writing) seem like a person that lets doors stay shut once you put your mind to opening them. Or in this case, a bud that needs to bloom. I suppose buds simply open when the spring energy dictates.

    Happy spring. Pat those shedding horses for me.
    Alice

    • Well, maybe if I manage to get on with it, it will be something worth writing about. And no, it’s not a tattoo! LOLOL!
      I’ll give the horses a scrudge for you. 🙂

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