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Living Courageously

The human experience itself takes courage.

As souls we made an agreement to come to this beautiful 3D earth. We signed a ‘contract’, and I believe that part of that contract was to harness and learn about our courage because without it, we are unable to navigate the human experience with joy and with ease.

We learn to tap into our courage and lean into the full experience. What does that mean? It means surrender; it means trust; it means alignment; it means intuition. Living alongside those four things is not your traditional “in the box” type experience that society tells you is the way to go. It’s not spoken about outside of ‘spiritual’ circles.

I am a storyteller and so I’m going to use a story to share with you my experiences and reflect back to you what it looks like to live courageously.

I was born in Zimbabwe, Africa and I lived there for 15 beautiful, wonderful years. If you have ever been to Africa, it is the most wonderful place. It has such a beautiful, spiritual heartbeat. It’s just got this energy. Unfortunately, due to political conflict, there was a lot of violence and corruption. Long story short, we were forced to flee, and we lost everything when we had to move. My parents and I went into hiding for a year and we had to apply to move to Australia. Australia wouldn’t accept us as refugees, so we had to apply for citizenship, and it took a year for that paperwork to go through. We eventually got in and here I am today.

I knew who I was, and I didn’t know any other way of being, but as we grow up, we have this very biological human need to fit in. I realized at some point that I was different to everybody around me, that I wasn’t acting the same, and that I wasn’t thinking the same as people around me. And I didn’t think there was anything wrong with that until people started to tell me that I was weird, that I was different. At that young age, I started to mold myself into what I thought was palatable and acceptable to those around me.

There’s nothing wrong with this. It’s a very, like I said, biological human need to fit in. It takes courage to stay true to who you are, stay in alignment with who you are, and to lead from that very grounded and true space that may look different to those around you.

At that age, I made this conscious decision to become a version of myself that I thought everybody liked. It was kind of like the stage play where I was the lead actress.

I didn’t pick up my courage because I couldn’t find it. And I tossed away the truth of who I was to a very dark corner of myself to gather dust and to be ignored. We moved to Australia and I became popular. I was exotic because I had an accent and I had curly hair. I was just this person that people wanted to be around.

But I drank too much. I partied too much. I slept around too much because I wasn’t comfortable with this version of myself that I was being in. Those things that I was doing were a way of coping. I drank too much because it numbed that feeling and intuition that was screaming that I was out of alignment.

From there, it took an act of the universe giving me a nice, big backhand and saying, “Girl, you got to wake up. You’ve got work to do. You’ve got people to impact. You’ve got stories to tell, and you can’t be behaving like this anymore.”

So what happened? I got a degree in criminology from university, and I was climbing the corporate ladder in the railway at the age of 23.

But deep inside, I was so unhappy. I didn’t even know it. I was so numb to myself that I didn’t even realize it.

I ended up getting sick, and I basically had a spectacular breakdown and was diagnosed with PTSD, chronic depression and major anxiety. I had a nice tripod going on and where I come from culturally, this isn’t something that’s spoken about. Mental health is not something that you discuss. You don’t air your dirty laundry in public because that’s weak. You don’t speak about it.

I was just having this massive internal argument because I thought I was broken, but I wasn’t broken; I was just misaligned. I eventually agreed to go on medication from my doctor because of the way she explained it to me, that asking for help in the first place takes courage.

I realized: there is nothing wrong with me. I’m strong and courageous and a leader, and that I can do anything, which I can, but there was nothing wrong with asking for help, which was something that I had to learn.

From there, I got a casual job working in a not-for-profit organization, doing the rostering system for people with brain injuries. I got made redundant a week before I found out I was pregnant. I tried to get a job and nobody would hire me because I was pregnant. I could have lied in my interviews and not said anything about the pregnancy knowing full well that I probably wouldn’t get a job, but that didn’t feel aligned to me. I’m not one to hide the truth, so I courageously told them. I obviously didn’t get a job.

And that was when I thought, “You know what? Screw this.” That was the last straw for me. I was so sick and tired of living my life that way. That was the bottom point for me to remember who the hell I was and to find my courage again.

We must be brave enough to stand up for what we believe in, what we think, how we feel and to make scary choices. We must lead by example, and all those things take courage.

So how do we do that? I think for me, learning to surrender was one of the hardest things, and also learning that surrender is not giving up. It just doesn’t look like we expect it to look a lot of the time.

So surrender dear one for we are not in control. Leap and you shall be caught.

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