Almost two years ago now, in the Fall of 2010, I found myself listening to Jana Stanfield’s song “If I Were Brave” over and over again. I posted a video she made of the song that included photos fans sent in of the brave things they had done in their lives along with a list of the things I would do if I were brave (this is really worth watching for some inspiration!).
A friend recently re-discovered the video and posted it to Facebook, which got me thinking about that old list and wondering how I was doing. I’ve accomplished quite a few of those things in the last (not quite) two years, decided not to pursue others because they weren’t as aligned with my direction as I’d once thought, and I still have a long way to go on some others. Here’s an update on how I’m doing.
Things I’ve done on my original list:
- I quit the job that was killing me. (Which was one of the best things I’ve ever done!)
- I came out and intentionally spent some time connecting with the local lesbian community. (Unfortunately, it turned out that I was not a good fit in that community, so I am now seeking other kinds of community, but I was brave enough to reach out and try!)
- I did become a coach, even though I now think that some kind of spiritual direction or pastoral counseling might be a better fit.
- I have done card readings for others.
- I have become a yoga teacher.
- I did create a business of my own (although it looks like the business I created isn’t quite the one it needs to be yet).
Things I’ve let go of from the original list:
- Although I am a Reiki practitioner, I have let go of the idea of being a healer as I once conceived it. I think my urge toward healing will demonstrate itself more through my words than through energetic healing modalities.
- I’ve also let go of my desire to become an herbalist for similar reasons, although I do play with homemade herbal remedies now and again for myself.
- I have not yet learned to draw, but I have created jewelry and crocheted items that I designed and made myself that I now have for sale on Etsy. This has been a creative outlet for me in place of the drawing for now.
- I’ve also chosen not to pursue dancing or rock climbing for now. There are just too many other things that I am more interested in.
Things I have not yet done that I still want to do:
- Write a novel.
- Take voice lessons and sing in public.
- Become a spiritual leader of some kind (but this may be the spiritual direction/chaplain/pastoral counseling idea mentioned above).
- Write a spiritual memoir (although I’m playing with this one).
- Learn photography.
- Get my piano tuned and start playing again.
- Buy woodworking equipment.
The ones I’m working on but still want to make more progress on:
- Standing up for myself and refusing to allow myself to be treated badly by others.
- Expressing my emotions and boundaries without apology.
- Stop worrying about whether others like me, approve of me, or think I have value.
- Becoming my authentic self.
- Loving myself—just as I am.
All in all, that’s pretty good progress in less than two years time. Out of the ones that are still on my list, I’m actively working toward the writing projects, and I think photography is my next project to tackle once money allows for a purchase of the necessary equipment. I’m also actively working on clarifying the question of what kind of ministry I feel called to (if any).
However, that final list of ongoing work is where my focus really lies right now. If I were brave, that’s the list I’d deal with first because without those things holding me back, I would have so much more energy to work on the other things on my list! I suspect that last one—loving myself just as I am—is the key to all of the others. And even there, I see small signs of progress. It helps to see how much I’ve managed to cross off the list so far (and several of those are really big things too). I’m braver than I give myself credit for sometimes.
If I were brave, I’d take bigger steps on that pathway. I think this moment is as good a time to start being brave as any other, so I need to get busy!
What would you do today if you were brave?
A Note on Comments: A chrysalis is by nature a fragile and vulnerable place to be, so I am committed to keeping this a safe place for me and for my readers. Comments sharing your own journey, even if your experience is different from mine, are always welcome and encouraged. Expressions of support or encouragement are also welcome. Comments that criticize, disparage, correct, or in any way attempt to undermine the validity of another person’s experience or personal insight are not welcome here and will be deleted.