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  • Mara Elwood

Quiet Courage


Mary Anne Radmacher

Quiet courage, a way to face times that feel dark and hopeless with determination, knowing that things will change, as everything does. Nothing is permanent in this world, not the good, not the bad, not the joyous or the sad. If we can continue to hold ourselves with compassion and courage we can keep on keeping on in a more easeful way to the alternative of getting drawn into the downward spirals of negativity.


Something happened in my family recently that threw a curveball at the way that we have been working as a family, and I was very aware (mindful) that I was angry, hurt, and disappointed, but I also noticed that my compassion practice kicked in and showed me the silver lining in this situation, and my courage helped me to stay calm and trust that things will change again.


We are constantly re-evaluating our lives in light of things that are happening. We can do this by getting angry at ourselves, the situation, or others involved, or we can be mindful of the true nature of what is happening and practice kindness, forgiveness, and compassion to move forward in a more positive way.


There is a wonderful exercise that we do in the MSC program called the “Silver Lining Exercise” in which participants examine a difficult situation from their past in the light of what benefits this difficult situation had for them. Acknowledging the difficulty, and the struggle that was involved, and then asking what realization this may have brought them that they would otherwise not have had. There is no negation of suffering, there is the realization that suffering is part of life, and that even in suffering we may be able to find a silver lining. Also, always keeping in mind common humanity, as there are always others struggling alongside us.


This brings me to talking about the people in our lives that may contribute to, or cause, some struggle for us, but that is another whole topic, for another day. For now, have a look and mindfully observe, what is this struggle teaching me today? Can I be with this struggle and move with it, instead of pushing against it, because this is just the way it is right know and I know it will change, and maybe, just maybe, I will be changed by it in a positive way.


Once you realize this floating life is the perfect mirage of change, it’s breathtaking - this wild joy at wandering boundless and free.

Han Shan from the 9th century

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