Writing my way through the A-to-Z blogging challenge, I’ve tasked myself with throwing open the cabinet of curiosities and wondrous things I call my brain and leading you on a tour of what actually resides in there – all through the lens of unusual, obscure, or simply charming-to-me words.
I is for…
impavid – (adj) not afraid; fearless; undaunted
Isn’t that a fabulous and inspiring word? I’ve been thinking a lot about fearlessness, bravery and courage lately. I’ve been watching friends and clients proving they are impavid journeyers in lives that often ask much of us.
I have some things I wish to create and accomplish that require me to dip into the impavid energy stream as well.
I always wear an armful of bangles inscribed with various bits of poetry to inspire me, and on one of them is written this quote from Mary Oliver:
“I want to be improbable beautiful and afraid of nothing, as though I had wings.”
Yes, I want that!
I’m always a bit of amazed when perfect-fit songs get stuck in my head, and yesterday I heard Be Brave by My Brightest Diamond, which is really a project of Shara Worden. I hadn’t heard it a number of years and there it was popping up in perfect timing, making me wonder how I could have forgotten it in the first place. I really do love the official video which you can view here – I delight in Shara, and you get to see her in costume and with masks, besides hearing her gorgeous-to-me voice – how does it get any better than that?
But if you don’t want to take the time and watch here are a couple of lines from the song (written by Shara Worden) which I think are relevant:
"I am a bird in water
A whale on the sand
I am the flood, the fire, the oil spill
I am feeling scared and I am overwhelmed
And so I don my mask and finger bells
Sh-sh-sh Shara, now get to work
Sh-sh-sh-sh-sh Shara this is going to hurt
Be brave, dear one
Be changed or be undone"
That’s sort of one of the important things I think about bravery, about courage – that the very action changes you. It pushes you outside your edges.
To step off into the unknown, even if it’s reluctantly with less-than-delight in your heart, feels very much like bravery, courage and daring, and definitely worth celebrating. Particularly in this world where deviation from the norm and the more widely known is not often embraced with jubilation.
I don’t believe all acts of bravery need to big newsworthy things, and in fact think it’s the day-to-day acts that matter a great deal – a wearing down of the stones of resistance by water, rather than a nuclear blast. I absolutely agree with the wisdom in this admonishment by Clarissa Pinkola Estes:
“One of the most calming and powerful actions you can do to intervene in a stormy world is to stand up and show your soul. Soul on deck shines like gold in dark times. The light of the soul throws sparks, can send up flares, builds signal fires, causes proper matters to catch fire. To display the lantern of soul in shadowy times like these — to be fierce and to show mercy toward others; both are acts of immense bravery and greatest necessity. Struggling souls catch light from other souls who are fully lit and willing to show it. If you would help to calm the tumult, this is one of the strongest things you can do.”
I do believe showing up as our authentic soul selves is immeasurably important, and yet there is an ordinariness about it that makes it seem less significant than more showy acts. And I think we need to be careful of that. I think we need to encourage, cheer on, and celebrate ourselves and those around us as fully as we can, as often as we can. We could all use more recognition and love in our lives.
People often think that the opposite of love is hate, but that’s not my understanding at all. I think the opposite of love is fear. We have the opportunity in every moment to choose love over fear.
And remember when we’re choosing love over fear it’s possible we can reframe some of the situations we think call for bravery when maybe they just call for more love. Let’s go with that, why don’t we?
I like to believe that however we navigate this world and our lives we can always opt to lean into grace and joy. So keeping in mind my intention to be “improbable beautiful and afraid of nothing, as though I had wings” AND given the fact that my name Deborah means bee, I’m pretty sure I could benefit from having a bee costume. Don’t you agree? And seriously, who wouldn’t want to be part of a hive with these beauties.
The image is actually a rubber stamp that was created from a vintage photo, and it delights me immensely.
Let’s spend more of our lives living as impavid alchemists creating change, creating magic, creating our own brands of wonderfulness
What about you? What’s your relationship with fearlessness? Celebrating someone who is a perfect example of it? Love costumes? Want wings? Do tell – you know I love to hear.
What an extraordinary word Deborah! Thank you for your post, always encouraging us to take that leap and reminding us that Love is the opposite of fear, not hate.
I’d rather not be undone by fearfulness – I don’t know if I am fearless. A few friends think I am mad or just plain stupid to go long distance driving on my own as I do every now and then; or driving on my own at night – imagine being ruled by fear? No thanks, not for me .. to me, it’s perfectly ordinary to hop into my car when I feel like it
The excerpt from Shara Worden’s lyrics are lovely and I will watch the video when time permits. Estes’ words are also sublime .. as are yours.
Thank you Susan, as always, for your kind and thoughtful words. May we never be undone by fearfulness!
I’m not sure if I’m afraid exactly, maybe just too cautious sometimes. I need to be a little more impavid and take a few chances sometimes. Love that stamp of the bee ladies!
Any place that feels to tight and limiting, as being too cautious can be, is always an invitation to expand. I hope taking a few chances bring you great delight Janet. And I knew you’d love the stamp – isn’t it wonderful?!
Mary Oliver is one of my favorites! I am full of fear, but people perceive me as brave. I don’t like to be called courageous because it wasn’t my choice; it was forced on me. Dealing with serious illness and death require putting one foot in front of the other and moving forward, taking one hour/day at a time; I don’t see that as courage, more like momentum. I don’t stop living and enjoying what I can, which is, I guess, a form of bravery.
I’m not sure I would define courageous acts as being a choice the way you do Margaret – I think life often asks things of us, such as dealing with illness and/or death, that require more of us that we’ve previously known how to give.
But regardless, I’m glad you find ways to enjoy life, including the poetry of Mary Oliver. What a gift she was!
Fearless? LOL. No. Not at all. But working on the fear. It’s harder for some than for others.
Absolutely Liz – it’s always amazing to me how utterly unique we are and yet we’re all human. Love it!
I love this word! And I love the excerpts that you’ve chosen. Thanks for the dose of inspiration on my journey towards ‘impavidness.’
Stay inspired Karina, and thanks so much for stopping by.
“Impavid” is a marvelous word–and inspiring ideal. Just about 3 weeks ago, I left my home of 33 years in Chicago and moved to a small town in Colorado. I am feeling like an adventurer. But I can’t say that I’m fearless, but I can say that I don’t let the fear stop me.
I love the snippet of song by Shara Worden–and all your other quotes, too. But I’m familiar with those feelings. Thanks for sharing–and good luck with the rest of the A to Z challenge!
As Susan, you are indeed an adventurer, and I wish you endless discoveries that bring you joy!
Thanks for visiting, and best wishes with the challenge as well.
What a wonderful, thought-provoking post! As a Pisces Wren, I know all about birds and water. Although my Bangkok life often has me more as a fish out of water, something I mostly celebrate with wonder. I love my wings for sure! Thank you for joining me in Bali!
Wonder celebration is the absolute best Wren! Thank you for stopping by, and I must say it’s a delight to wander with you. April’s A2Z takes us on so many delicious journeys doesn’t it?
Your words are so soothing and I am soaking in your soul shining through your words to help light mine a little bit brighter. I have a long way to go in this journey of growing wings and lighting the lantern of my soul, folks like you help me along the way.
Such kind words Namy – thank you. I believe we all shine brightly, just sometimes we need another person to remind us of it. So my wish for you is that you never forget.
Impavid – what a fearless word! Your series I love, there is so much to learn and to do…
You are right – the opposite of love is fear. Fear restricts us.
I try to be fearless and brave. I try to give strength to people around me when they need it.
I did not know Deborah means bee – nice bee costumes. I am sure honey must be your favorite 😉
Thank you for your kind words Kislaya. Trying to be fearless and brave is a noble undertaking I think, as well as trying to give strength to those around in need. But it’s always good to have folks around you who can give those things back to you when you’re in need as well. It’s beautiful when we can do that for each other – supporting and being supported. It seems everything is always looking for balance doesn’t it?
And yes, LOL, honey is indeed a favorite of mine.
Fearless. Showing respect for danger. Both can occur. Something I’ve been learning.
I believe this is true Beth. And I also believe that humans have a long way to go in learning to give the respect that they so often demand others give them.