In my upcoming book, When They Cheat, Recovering Your Power and Purpose in the Face of Loss and Uncertainty, the idea of reconnecting to our sense of courage is explored in many ways through the wisdom presented to us by great minds from the past and present. Here is a snapshot of a humble yet mindful practice – observation of our fear whilst creating some distance to do so.
When we are searching for ways to be more courageous, finding advice is as simple as typing your query into a search engine on the internet. There are a ton of coaches and therapists providing practical knowledge surrounding the idea of tapping into our courage. Much of what you might find has very little to do with the process of being gentle – in my opinion anyway. We find articles suggesting that we can manipulate our thoughts to ward off fear, and although cognitive approaches have somewhat of a proven track record, the aggressive and rather unyielding approach of manipulation seems harsh and unrelenting. We manipulate steel, chemical compounds and sometimes other people to get what we want. So, this begs the question for me, do we need to see our truest self as something that needs manipulation so that we achieve the outcome we so desire – finding courage? I don’t think so.
Some authors boldly proclaim that preparing for the worst possible outcome is the way to go. I also find this unsettling since as an anxious person myself, peering into the future whilst expecting the worst can only achieve one thing; up the ante on my anxiety, leaving me entirely out of the present moment. In truth, we are looking to tap into our courage right now – not sometime next week or next month and certainly not at the last minute when the worst does show up on our path. As far as many of us are concerned who are experiencing the pain surrounding the subject matter of the book, the worst is here and there is absolutely no time like the present. After all, it is in this present moment that we are suffering with the news that our loved one has cheated on us.
So, what is this gentle path I am speaking of? As we explore many ways of holding our pain throughout the course of the book, here, the notion of simple, mindful observation of anything that plagues us, I am going to argue, is the most rapid path to healing we can take.
Imagine this: what would it be like for you, courageous reader, to simply observe your fear as if it were an entity standing far across a large room from you? This entity is not attached to you in any way and it is far enough away in this moment to cause you no harm. You can see it clearly. Perhaps with your imagination, you can see how it is dressed, the expression on its face, the subtleties of its body language and whilst you rest in the knowing that in this moment it has no power over you, you simply observe it. I fully understand that this might be a difficult thing to imagine since most of us experience our fear internally. But as an exercise, a very mindful one, imagine being able to take on the scenario fully.
How might it feel? Is it possible that you would feel a sense of power knowing that you are safe? Would you stand in recognition of that fear and have a completely different experience if Fear were completely detached from you? This type of observation is in direct alignment with the kind of gentle observation I have begun speaking of here. The very nature of being gentle means that we are actively not making this experience harder than it already is.
Now, it’s time to take a breath, a very gentle one, allow what you have read thus far to find a space to rest inside you and if you are ready, continue your journey in the knowing that you are whole and complete and have your own answers.
This article features an excerpt from When They Cheat: Recovering Your Power and Purpose in the Face of Loss and Uncertainty, Copyright © DW Long 2020, all rights reserved.