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.