Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Courage


What’s the baseline of comfort and security, even of propriety, decency, and dignity. In some way, all of these define the boundaries of fear. I don’t want to be uncomfortable; I don’t want to be embarrassed; I don’t want to be naked, alone, in some place where my person and material items are vulnerable, in some place where someone might think lesser of me. In all of these, there is a way to feel afraid. And where there is the presence of fear, there is an opportunity for someone to take advantage of me or manipulate me.

In finding these boundaries, I have strangely come upon the boundaries of ego. It's so easy to think of all of these rules, restrictions, and preference as comprising my essence, of defining who I am in the fullest sense, of making some absolute statement of who Mark Weaver is supposed to be. But I'm finding that these boundaries fail as I move through scary situations. I move through them and see the parameters of self change. I hold onto the limited and limiting aspects of ego, and somewhere in the transfer, of the exchange, of the experience, some aspects of myself are lost, and only because I haven't allowed myself to be defined that way.

Courage can be defined in so many ways, but a part of courage is a willingness to let myself and others perceive me as something that is uncomfortable for me. As I write it, it seems so petty and I wonder if it's really an insight. But it is. It is because I know how much it scares me to think of being homeless. It isn't so much sleeping on the street that bothers me, but the boundary it crosses, the redefinition of self that occurs when you become someone standing on the outside looking in.

Those inside may look out at you with hatred, fear, loathing, or pity, but none of these is flattering. It's that very place that I fear being, where I am no longer defined as one of the "proper" aspects of society, but one of the dregs, the shadows, the shameful and embarrassing. Courage in this instance is a willingness to be something that others would view differently than what I prefer. And this fear is one that is used to keep me in a cage, one that consistently has me reconnoitering my plans so that I might avoid transgressing the boundaries of propriety, dignity, and acceptance.

The Universe doesn't care what my ego thinks or feels. She doesn't care about his petty rules and laws, nor the tantrums he throws when things fall "out of order." The Universe cares that who I really am rises above the constraints of this existence. I turn it into suffering, and I might be considered brave for enduring whatever indignities the Universe might toss my direction. But it does take courage because it all looks, feels, tastes, and sounds so real and important, enough that I've spent most of my life selling my soul for dignity, propriety, and others' opinions.