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Courageous Mountains

Courage moves mountains.

Courage. It’s what hundreds of people—some even strangers—have told me I have over the last decade.

My grandmother recently told me I had such courage to move to Los Angeles, where I barely knew anyone, at age 22 to begin the life of my choosing. She even went as far as to say she didn’t have that kind of courage but wished she did when she was my age.

I’ve been told how much courage I have to put myself in rooms and networking situations where I don’t know anyone, then make new friends while I’m there.

I have courage to put myself on my yoga mat, which always acts as a mirror, revealing things about myself I couldn’t see before. A yoga practice is the ultimate self-awareness practice. 

I have courage to be vulnerable with people, exploring feelings and finding out truths about who I really am. These conversations shared with close friends may be the most satisfying part of my life.

I had the courage to stand up for myself, hiring legal counsel when I wasn’t being treated fairly in a previous rental situation. I ended up coming out on top.

I have courage to ask for what I need… courage to say no to things that don’t serve me… courage to continually develop patience and watch certain beautiful things unfold in my life.

Where does courage come from? Is someone born with it or does it develop over time (or not develop in many cases)? For me, it came from a very specific moment in my childhood.

At age 6, I went to Disney World for the first time. My mom was involved in an association that had her on the road frequently and my dad and I would often tag along to explore new cities. So, when she had the chance to travel to Orlando, it was a no-brainer that we’d go with her.

On the first day, my mom was tied up in meetings, so my dad took me to The Magic Kingdom. I remember taking a boat ride to get into the park. We went on the usuals: It’s A Small World, Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride, Mad Tea Party, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, and Thunder Mountain. I loved Thunder Mountain so much that my dad knew exactly where to take me next… Space Mountain.

We walked over to Tomorrowland and made sure I was tall enough—I just made the cutoff. As we walked through the line, I started to get scared. Since Space Mountain is all indoors, I couldn’t see what I was getting myself into. I’m the person that reads the last page of the book before starting the book because I want to know what happens at the end (I fully acknowledge that my desire to know how it all turns out might be my biggest downfall).

I started to cry. I didn’t want to go on the ride. My dad picked me up. I thought we were going to walk out of the line but that wasn’t his plan.

“You can do this. It’s the same kind of ride as Thunder Mountain and you loved Thunder Mountain. It’s dark and you can’t see it, but it’s the same. You’re going to love it. Okay?”

I wiped away my tears and said, “Okay.”

We made our way through the line and got on the ride. I didn’t like the fact that I had to sit alone and started to tear up again. My dad was right behind me and promised to keep his hand on my shoulder the entire time. Then off we went. I didn’t cry, rather I screamed with joy. He was right, I loved it.

When we walked out of the building my dad told me that I had a great amount of courage to conquer my fears like I had just done.

That’s what I’ve been doing ever since. Each obstacle I encounter is a Space Mountain. I still have normal reactions of fear; it’s not like I go through life completely fearless… courage and fear are next-door neighbors. I was afraid to get legal with my former landlord, but I found the courage and did it anyway. I still get nervous about entering a room where I don’t know anyone, but I dig deep and find the courage to do it anyway. And getting vulnerable with someone—even someone you know well—often times requires me to take a deep breath and a moment to collect my courage before I speak my truth.

Courage will get you far in life. Courage moves all the Space Mountains. 

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- MARCUS AURELIUS

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