The Courage to Be Fully Alive


What takes the most courage? Parachuting out of a plane or choosing to be exceptional at work even though you don’t feel like it? Driving over 100 mph on a winding highway or reaching out to the person you would rather not, and saying “I’m sorry”?

Through my experience of guiding thousands of people into self-love and purpose, I would say the latter choice in both cases. I find people are ashamed to admit that it takes courage to be fully alive in their own life. But there is no reason to be ashamed. Showing up fully for yourself, in your day, at your work, and in your relationships IS a daily courageous choice. Fully showing up for wiping someone’s snotty nose, being kind to your co-workers, taking care of your body are all acts of heroism.

It’s in the everyday ordinary life that we must have the courage to fully live.

If we’re comparing ourselves to the heroine in the movies, we may think courage is performing some bigger-than-life feat. But most of us are not going to end a war, climb the Himalayan Mountains, or save the planet from aliens. It takes consistent courage to get out of bed the morning after a loved one dies, to forgive ourselves, or to show up fully in the “hum drum” of life…. when we really feel like crawling into a hole.

For me, it took great courage to heal from my past on the next level. The violence and abuse held in my body tissues needed my attention, and it was quite terrifying to face. It took courage to forgive the attackers who, like me, needed more love, not less. I didn’t save a species from extinction, or rescue a drowning person… but what I did do, was provide a living example that love can win in the face of hate.

It takes great courage to simply be ourselves. We are told messages that our body size, bank account, or profession (or lack thereof) defines our worth. However, all these things can be taken away. Saying “No” to family or societal messages about worth and value takes great courage. Many people would rather fit-in than be truly free. It is often scary to shine. Like anything, it’s a muscle that needs to be practiced and built-up over time.

Shedding the little personality to let the real you express takes truckloads of courage. The key is to desire to know and express the real you (meaning the “you” God/Creation made you to be) more than needing others’ approval. You will come to know that your own approval is the only approval you ever truly needed.

Believing and acting as if our lives hold value simply because we are living them, rebels against our consumerist culture. Cultural assumptions influenced by power-over models (patriarchy, industrialism, and materialism) affect our ability to know that our ordinary everyday life… is enough. Finding God in flowers, in gender equality, or in valuing animals as sentient beings, means letting go of societal power-over models.

It can be very scary to the self-created personality that bases worth on stuff, status, and producing to connect deeply to nature, others, and animals. Honoring the sacredness of a fellow animal as an equal means that I must see the divine not just in all things, but as all things. Boxing animals or genders as “below” or beliefs that the natural world is only valuable if it has a “use” keep a false sense of superiority and separateness thriving.

“Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us”. Marianne Williamson

Practically, we can feel our power by feeling our oneness. “Oneness” means feeling the intrinsic connections to others, life, and all of nature as one fabric. Connecting deeper into a relationship, opening to communing with the natural world, and listening deeper to our own body are the practical steps to feel oneness – to feel the Universe/God as you. “The Universe/God” are those everyday connections. It is here right now, in this moment.

As you feel the innate connections, the false personality gets very scared. Fully open your heart to your friends, lover, self, and animals means letting go of defenses and false ways of finding your worth. This is why we are scared of the light. We are scared to let go of our current perceptions of self.

This is normal. All humans do it. It takes tremendous courage to fully live your life right now. Anxiety is just a signal you are trying to do it all on your own through your little personality.

Remaining separate and alone is the known. Opening to the moment within the context of your life now means embracing uncertainty. You have probably heard many times “happiness is not outside of you.” But in some ways, it is! If you are not yet living a truly happy life, then happiness is outside of your current ways of connecting and your perceptions about yourself.

Loving yourself as you already are, and opening to deeper intimacy with people, nature, and animals is not a weak act of submission but a radical act of faith.

It also takes great courage to let one’s self feel into life as it is. I once had a client say to me that he would rather go back to war than heal the grief of his divorce. I think many of us would rather face that larger than life issue than courageously let ourselves be vulnerably alive, feeling our feelings in the moment.

You can practice opening up through a smile. Smile (even as you let yourself feel pain), and you will release tonic healing hormones into your bloodstream. As you open and feel the webs of connection, you can feel the Universe/God. Real confidence comes in this courageous choice to open and engage. As you open, you feel how the real you is far bigger than the issue or problem. There is the energy of Creation waiting to back you. That energy IS you!

Honor yourself for choosing to live each day. It is more than enough. You are more than enough. Your current life could “transform” just by you being more fully in it. Honor the courage it takes to be vulnerably alive and the strength it takes to choose to connect deeply to others and nature. As you hold these choices as sacred, there is an increased likelihood that you will make it a way of life. Respect all of life, and life will respect you back.

In your next breath…. open. It takes a hero’s heart to show-up and open to ordinary everyday life. This is a lifelong practice. In the ordinary, you discover the extraordinary because you open to the ocean of love waiting to help you. Show up and smile even if you’re in a rough situation. Let life love you through the hard times. It’s when you need it most. Right?

I’d love to support you on your journey in an individual healing session or retreat. Love, Barbra White


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