I’ve been ruminating on this topic for several days.
Encourage. In courage. In – coeur (heart) – age (state of). State of being in the heart.
“Courage” is a bold word. The image that comes to mind is a gathering of forces, a forging ahead no matter what. Although one often draws the strength and determination to persevere from deep within, courage often has an outward quality.
“Encourage” has a much more quiet feel. The image that comes to mind is sitting quietly, and maybe experiencing the laying on of gentle hands. Encouragement seems to invite first a deep listening to the Truth within, a knowledge of the issue or difficulty at hand; a listening with intent to respond, to help, to support, to cheer on, to inspire.
Inspire: in – spire (spirit). “In spirit” is nearly the same thing as “in heart.”
I talked to my husband, as I often do when I’m wrestling with something:
He listened, then looked straight at me and said, “(Encouragement) is what you do for us all the time.”
“Oh.” I said, “hmm.”
His wisdom often makes me stop and think. He points things out to me that are plain to see for him, but that I often miss. I realized that by showing me that I encourage him and our boys, he was also encouraging me to write for you.
Interesting how that worked.
Sometimes all we need are a few little words to keep us going, when we’re not sure how we can ~
“If you feel like giving up, give up on that feeling and give into the realization there are endless possibilities waiting to be discovered before you.”
~ Tom Althouse
Sometimes, the hard part is getting started. But for me, the more challenging thing is to keep going. How do we continue when the obstacles appear, when boredom, fatigue or confusion arise? What will it take to stay on the path when the going gets tough? And when all the challenges come, how do you love yourself through them?
Each of us has encouraged another at some point: a family member, a friend, a co-worker. This is familiar territory. We hold space for another, we speak words that build confidence and remind them of their special qualities, especially the ones that we think will carry them through. We remind them of the small hurdles cleared and the small battles won: a little good news, a positive test result, a promotion, an award. One time, I wrote a whole list of amazing qualities for my son when he was doubting himself and chastising himself quite harshly; I hung the list next to his bed so it was the last thing he saw at night and the first thing in the morning – it helped a lot and is still there six months later.
Encouragement can be like a small precious stone,
one of so many thousands that mark the paths in our life.
Encouragement can also be the light that fills the cracks in the darkness
or the glue that holds together all the broken parts.
How can we extend this same caring and support to ourselves? In what way can we invite the quietude and stillness that will open the space within us to touch our centers, our very own soft hearts?
Realize the connection to that which feeds our Soul, and which connects all. Find strength there.
Know you are loved and an integral part of the whole. Feel the intrinsic value of your being, which extends into that which you most want to do.
“I wish I could show you when you are lonely or in darkness
the astonishing light of your own being”
~ Invitation ~
Notice how and when you encourage yourself, and when you don’t ~ why?
I have asked lots of questions in the body of this post; what is true for you?
I am a wife and a mom, a yogi, an artist, and a writer… but not always in that order! I tend to think in collage and have trouble starting my day without coffee (black). I am a contemplative and a seeker on this wonderful, odd trip that is this human life. I love to have adventures and detest fences of any kind. Dedicated to my journal, I blog part-time at www.vignettesfrommylife.blogspot.com