Sally Kempton (Swami Durgananda), says the following about courage in her article “Finding Courage” from “Meditation for Life”:
“…the English word courage comes from the French coeur or ‘heart.’ The Sanskrit word for courage is saurya, which has the same root as the Sanskrit word for ‘sun’…courage comes from the very center of being, the heart, the organ that most directly resounds with the pulsation of life.
Like the heart itself, courage is a lotus with many petals, all of them associated with qualities that even the most ironic of us celebrate. Here are a few facets of courage: bravery, strength, steadiness, trust, self-reliance, faith, integrity, love…
…cooked courage, ripe courage, contains discipline, wisdom, and a quality of presence…ripened courage seems to rest on profound trust in something greater than your personal self-interest–trust in the Self, trust in love, trust in the divine, trust in the power of your own awareness, trust in the stability of your own Center…out of that trust, a person with ripe courage can often surrender both the fear of losing and the desire to win, and act for the sake of action, even for the sake of love…
…The grace-based path to inner courage comes from radically opening into love…and from trust in the power of your divine source.
…The more we are in touch with the center and the source beyond it, the more we are able to touch that courage that doesn’t just rise to handle a crisis, but that also allows us to keep getting up in the morning and facing our interior darkness or buried grief, hanging in through the mud-slogging grind of transformative practice, standing up for what is right again and again without bitterness–or at least only a little…
…A text of tantra called the Stanzas on Vibration says in a famous verse that the heart of the universe, the pulsation of divine power, is fully present in moments of terror, intense anger, or absolute impasse, ‘while wondering what to do.’ The secret of discovering that power is to turn inward, toward the center of your fear or confusion, to let go of your thoughts and emotions about the situation, and allow the energy at the heart expand. That’s where superhuman strength comes from. It just takes courage.”
To see the full article, visit
I’ve been trying to find a child psychiatrist to work with Wes and am still looking. Mass General — “the place to get help” for someone with Wes’ challenges is not accepting new patients, Children’s Hospital Boston only sees patients on a medication basis…I’m waiting to hear back from our pediatrician to see who is in his arsenal of child psychiatrists that may be able to help. And, this is done with the awareness that I may have to take Wes into town (Boston or Cambridge) for appointments.
Today, I began the search for an advocate. For someone who would be in my ring, on my side when I “go to the mattresses” and change Wes’ IEP to include more services that will better serve him. The first place I visited today left me in tears and in disbelief – $600 retainer fee plus $100/hr, or I could purchase a yearly membership for $25 then pay a $400 or $500 retainer (I don’t remember which amount it was) and $80/hr.
I don’t need a lawyer, nor do I want to pay the equivalent of lawyer’s fees. All I want or need is someone who will fight with me to get Wes additional services – no easy task in a school which prefers to severely downplay his challenges and do what will save them and cost them the least amount of money.
With the disbelief comes an awareness of the imbalances for families of children with special needs – those families who may have only one parent working, while the other takes care of the child(ren), bringing them to specialist appointments, social skills groups, etc. all so they can learn how to function in society; or may have one parent working a full-time regular job while the other parent works a variable schedule at a part-time job; or, in my case one parent who works a variable schedule part-time job in service to others, and in service to her children. Where do these agencies think the money for these services – advocacy, special schools, after school and summer care – is supposed to come from? Is equal opportunity and “no child left behind” to be available and accessible only by the wealthy?
Fortunately, I had three other organizations on my list to contact and try to find an advocate. The second organization was much more helpful, more understanding, and referred me to three people in the area who have considerably more reasonable fees. The next step is to call, meet with them, and determine which is most likely to be a good fit.
What, you may ask, does all of this have to do with courage? Everything.
It takes so much heart/coeur, strength, steadiness, trust, and love to keep going, keep following what I believe in, to overcome impasse after impasse, to dig down deep inside my Self, to trust that all will be alright. There is also a great deal of surrender which also takes sheer courage, surrendering to this path, surrendering and trusting in the Universe, surrendering to the Universe having a different path for Wes than what I, or what any parent, may want.
During those challenging moments, with each exhale and at times with each tear, I release a bit of fear. I release a bit of who I was a moment before. I offer my love and trust. And with each inhale I breathe in who I now am. I receive more love, more trust, and more beauty.
And, I take a moment to offer thanks from my heart: thanks for the courage, love, and light in my life; thanks for those who have walked the path before me; thanks for those walking the path beside me; thanks to everyone striving to make a difference in this world, to everyone living their own Truth; thanks to family; thanks to friends whom each in their own way offer their coeur, their heart, love, support, and light – and I feel full/connected. These seemingly daunting tasks become part of the tools, part of the process to help me step more fully into who I am. For that, for everything, I am grateful. And, I thank you.