what courage means
In 2012 I was taking little steps towards clearing out the apartment of my hero; my dad was dying and I was terrified of living in this world without him. My dad was a graceful and humble and truly good man. He was an activist, a Native rights and land claims lawyer who worked relentlessly as an advocate for Indigenous Peoples for over thirty years. My dad wasn’t a “stuff” guy; he lived simply.
While cleaning out the kitchen in his little apartment, I sorted pottery plates and bowls from my childhood into boxes. I stood cradling his 1970’s teapot, looking out the window, in absolute shock with the notion that my dad would never come home from Hospice to stand in his kitchen. We drank tea together from this teapot. Oh, the stories this teapot had listened to.
On my way out the door that day, I plucked a single fridge magnet off the door of the freezer. Only one magnet; only one word, “Courage”. I carried that magnet around in my pocket for months. It became a puzzle and an answer; it became a conversation with my dad.
While I moved through the grief of losing my dad, I went into deeper exploration of what courage means to me. I read somewhere the root of the word stems from the Latin word, cor: heart. In one of its original forms, the word courage meant “To speak one’s mind by telling all ones heart”. Courage also speaks to the ability and willingness to confront fear, danger, physical pain and hardship.
But perhaps my favorite definition of courage came when I asked my then nine-year-old daughter what she thought courage was. She said, “It’s having the strength to do what’s right”.
At Courage Consulting, rather than associate courage with monumental heroic acts, we believe courage begins with small gestures and humble acts of humanity. It takes great courage and willingness to have difficult conversations and ask the tough and awkward questions. Courage Consulting guides clients through this dynamic terrain into new territory where we can put the pieces back together.