Courage: A Journal Prompt for Heart-led Action

If you follow me on social media, you might have seen my pictures from the Brunch Series I went to last month. To give a bit more background, the Brunch Series is a day-long event promoting self-care and cultivating community among women in cities all over the U.S. My idea for Rising Rooted had blossomed just a few months earlier, and I knew this event was completely in line with my goal to support women in nourishing their bodies, minds, and souls. I signed up without a second of hesitation when I saw Danika and Billy (and Kingsley!) would be making their way by RV to ~The Land~

*click to scroll through for a recap of the event!*


We chatted, we journaled, and we ate. We laughed, we shared, and we listened. There were even a few tears that came with realizing how similar someone’s past (or present) looked to our own. Majority of the group came alone, but everyone left feeling a sense of connectedness as a product of our willingness to be open to seeing others, and being seen by them as well.

That’s all we want at the end of the day, right? We all want to be seen and accepted as we are, where we are, and with what we have. So, why is it so hard for us sometimes? The answer lies in our will to be courageous.

Merriam Webster defines courage as “mental or moral strength to venture, persevere, and withstand danger, fear, or difficulty.” The latin root cour (also seen as cor) refers to the heart, or the central part (think core of an apple, cordial behavior, or The Supreme Court). Corazone, Cuore, Coeur...if you’ve studied a romance language, you might have just had a little light bulb flash above your head after realizing this connection.

There is an assessment tool used in the field of Positive Psychology called the VIA (Values In Action) Strengths Finder. VIA ranks 24 globally recognized strengths to identify “chief symptoms” of being emotionally well. I geeked out over this test the first time I learned about it and my love for it is completely renewed since having it reintroduced to me in my IIN curriculum as a tool for clients.

When I first took this test, my “weakest strength” that was shown in my results was, wait for it- courage.

“Oh hell no. I’m no coward,” I thought to myself. By the dictionary definition above, a lack of courage to me seemed like someone who was not mentally tough, strong in their beliefs, or one who ran from challenges. What I know to be true about myself didn’t seem to match the assessment's findings. Or, so I thought…

While listening to a lecture for my coaching program, I heard another definition of courage by Mastin Kipp, inspirational speaker and author of Daily Love.

Courage: heart-led action in the face of uncertainty.

Ah-ha. Courage by this standard looks a lot like that thing I love to avoid—vulnerability.

If I’m being honest, I spent far too much of my college experience caring what other people thought. ICYMI, I'm a bit of a thinker. While my affinity for knowledge and understanding is something I've learned to love about myself, my first two years in undergrad were spent focusing a lot more on ME than WE. I don't regret being who I am, but I do regret letting my insecurities be a roadblock to meaningful connection. I don't drink much and, because of that, I declined opportunities to go out and have fun because I was worried what people would think of me. 

Embracing yourself is damn tough when you are afraid people won’t accept you as you are. But, after hiding, questioning, and wondering ad nauseam if I'd ever "live up" to expectations of others, I eventually got tired. What is scarier than stepping into a vulnerable place is the alternative—stagnancy. 

In yoga, there is a concept called Asteya, or non-stealing. It suggests that we must not steal, or have the intention of stealing, another's property through our thoughts, actions, and words. Writing, posting, and sharing is my practice of asteya for all of you.

Asteya also suggests not stealing from ourselves.

"All demands and expectations that we place on ourselves steal from our own enthusiasm... And all the ways we put up fences, whether real or imagined, around our physical belongings or around our mental idealisms, we put up barriers that steal from the full expansion of our lives." –Deborah Adele from The Yamas and The Niyamas

When we stick to “tried and true” ways of doing things simply because they feel safe or acceptable, we rob ourselves the experience of carving an authentic, unique, thrilling path for ourselves. Rising Rooted has been my way of chipping away at my fear of being seen, and courageously letting my heart lead with the intention of serving something bigger than myself.

One thing most of the ladies at the Brunch Series have in common is the desire to paint a beautiful life for ourselves. Maybe you can relate—you have an idea of the career you want to have, the relationship you want to be in, the friendships you want to pour into, or the trips you want to take… All of these things are possible, but not necessarily certain. Crafting a fulfilling and meaningful existence requires heart-led action in the face of uncertainty. It requires taking down the fences we put up around ourselves, and letting our hearts be seen.

Today, the group met in the Metroparks for a hike. Below is the journal prompt I created for us to begin investigating what it might look like to take down our fences and lead with our hearts. If you are looking to paint a new image of your own life and are feeling hesitant in some way, I encourage you to take some time to journal through these questions as well. Don’t have a journal? Any blank sheet of paper will do. Also, the notes app in your phone will serve the same purpose. As will a word document or, my newest friend, Evernote. 

1. What is the story you tell yourself lately? –this can be about yourself, about a relationship, about a situation…any thought that has been popping up for you lately.

2. What is the product of that story? Is it holding you down or helping you rise? –It could look like a lack of self-confidence, feeling closed off from others…or maybe you have a good story going and you’re feeling an increased sense of happiness or relaxation, noticing you’re spending more time in community with others, or that you are making more money. Don’t be afraid to contemplate this one for a while.

3. How is it contributing to your overarching goals for yourself? –maybe you are looking to enter a new relationship, take a trip, lose some weight, get a new degree, etc. etc. Not sure of what your goal is for yourself just yet? Back-pedal shamelessly and start there!

4. How will you show up for yourself this upcoming week? Energy flows where intention goes. Commit to a thought, a way of being, or a definitive action that supports your highest intention for yourself.

Affirmation: My heart-felt intentions are guiding my path.