Courage and Fear are hot words these days. Perhaps you’ve noticed too? My yoga teacher tagged both during savasana this morning - Dumbo Feather dedicated an entire volume to Courage - And political banter is now impossible without Fear entering the bi-partisan ring. Two important words, no doubt.
I suppose we’d claim to know the meaning of Fear and Courage, but in the context of… what exactly? Burning buildings, public speaking, and pickup lines? This inquiry sent me into a vernacular rabbit hole that quickly linked tunnels with other heavyweights like love, curiosity, creativity, passion, and mindfulness. Here I outline a proposed association of these Power Words in the context of Self Actualization; because it’s quite nice to have a roadmap for this crazy game called life...
A quick but critical clarification before we proceed - OK, ripping the bandaid off - I believe the purpose of life is to create and commune in LOVE (gasp, he went there!). Yup, but instead of boring you with long-winded philosophical justifications, consider that Jesus, the Beatles, Gandhi, hippies, and Mother Theresa would all be nodding “yeah, duh” right about now. Love is the most desirable human experience and the universe holds an infinite capacity for it. We each possess unique gifts to unleash new love nuggets for the delight of the world. Our human mission is to discover and leverage these gifts to fulfill life’s Love-soaked purpose. The reward is immense joy. Voila!
The Big Five
Love = All encompassing joyful goodness. A Loving act is any that encourages someone to feel, be, and express their true (divine) self. Adoration for another person is our recognition of their capacity to Create and commune in Love. Same goes for non-human entities like a favorite song, a bangin’ dress, or even a beloved corporate brand.
Hate = The destroyer of Love and humanity’s capacity to create it. We may develop Hate for any force that poses this threat. In a simple example, cross-town sports rivals Hate each other because they compete for the joy, celebration, and Love that rewards one league champion.
Courage = The ability to Create (or preserve) Love in the face of all Fear sources that urge abandonment. Courage is shining your true light brilliantly, no matter the potential consequences. It’s massively Courageous to save a life, as the act literally preserves the entire Love contribution capacity of the survivor. Courage fuels Self Actualization.
Fear = The arch nemesis to Courage. Fear is the crafty work of the devil aka the self-protective Ego. Fear is the doubt, shame, ridicule, excuse, and procrastination that keeps us from Creating Love in accordance with our divine gifts and energy. Fear suffocates Self Actualization.
Mindfulness = Our secret weapon. Mindfulness unlocks discernment between reality and illusion. The Fearful ego haunts us in the mirrored halls of past and future contemplation. Mindfulness brings us into the present moment, disarming Fear, so that we may live more Courageously.
The Self Actualization Journey
Unconscious = The ignorance of, or complete obliviousness to, Mindfulness. The Unconscious individual operates on homogenized autopilot while consumed by looping deliberations of their past and future. Their actions are based on pleasing others, jumping through hoops, and following instructions without question. They adopt life goals such as monetary wealth and illusory status symbols which (often) conflict with their divine purpose.
Curiosity = Clues, signs, hints, guideposts, and serendipity to spur Discovery of divine gifts and true self. All Self Actualization begins by following gut feeling, little birdie, heart tugging Curiosity. A man is Curious about a cute woman across the bar - Courage fuels his blind approach - The pair eventually becomes a happily married Love-Creating powerhouse.
Discovery = The aha! revelations, critical connections, stumbled upon knacks that make life so fun. Discovery reveals our divine gifts. One may rely on a philosophical framework, religion, mentors, or supportive peers to supercharge Discovery - Anything that encourages accommodation and nurturing of Discovered gifts is beneficial to Self Actualization.
Passion = An especially viable way to Create and commune in Love using divine gifts. Passions are actively Discovered by way of a Curiosity spark. Most balk at the advice to “follow your Passion” because said Passion remains undiscovered, or Fear undermines capability to deliver. It takes Courage to jump the rut and (as WeWork encourages) “Do What You Love.”
Calling = The ultimate Passion, or collection of Passions. A Calling represents the avenue to create and commune in Love at maximum scale. We celebrate a laundry list of historical figures for actualizing a Calling. Abraham Lincoln for leading slavery abolition - Prince for mobilizing the masses in dance - John Muir for protecting our lands of natural beauty. A Calling followed with a heart full of Courage unleashes powerful ripples of extraordinary Love.
Creativity = The generation of new Love. Creation is the beautiful Love child of Mindfulness to be present and Courage to act. Thoughtful anniversary plans, a new product concept to bring family members closer, or an amateur painting only ever seen by the proud artist… all is sublime Creation when it leads to Love, even for yourself. In the Christian faith, God IS “the Creator” and God IS Love…. To Create is to Love, and to do so is divine. MAGIC!
Miracle = The result of love based Creativity. Miracles are not limited to the grand and unbelievable. Some are personal. Others are subtle. All new love deserves to be celebrated. You never know if the miracle of a thoughtful compliment may serve as that person’s next domino in the path to Self Actualization.
Self Actualization = One’s life-long journey to maximizing Love generation, therefor fulfilling their divine potential. Self Actualization is not to be confused with in-vogue “productivity maximization.” The former calls for Mindfulness, reflection, presence, focus, and flexibility… while the latter often leads to burn out, FOMO, disappointment, and reactivity.