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Courage

Taking a leap

Taking a leap

With a nod to Naomi Shihab Nye and her poem, Kindness.

Before you know what courage really is
you must swim upstream
when everyone else is swimming down
because the instinct in your bones
won’t be denied.

Before you know what courage really is
you must grow accustomed to
the sound of your own voice.
You must speak your heart
even when it breaks another’s.

Before you know what courage really is
you must stand in a roomful of strangers
in fancy clothes
who all seem to know each other
and declare yourself worthy.

Before you know what courage really is
you must get yourself out of bed,
continue on through your day,
even through pain,  your companion,
whispers temptations to give up.
You must reach the end of your rope
and find a twist of thread.

Before you know courage,
you must know fear.
You must open yourself to the tender place
of uncertainty and risk.
You must remember your
four-chambered heart:
full, clear, open, and strong,
suck in your breath
and leap.