Courage

June 6, 1944 Normandy, France. There was a momentous display of courage, one that 75 years later we still look at it in awe. We still owe so much to those young men who sacrificed “their today for our tomorrow”. Make no mistake, there was courage out the wazoo on that beach. Mostly men under the age of 20 storming a beach that was heavily fortified by a very strong military presence. If you believe that they weren’t scared, you are disillusioned or stupid. They didn’t act on lack of fear, they acted despite the fear. They acted because their duty that day was more important than the fear they had. I don’t know anyone who would argue that those men were courageous. This is an example of an extreme display of courage, but it is a display of a specific type of courage that most people will never have to face – in part because of those thousands of young warriors did what they did.

That specific example is an important consideration to make when thinking about courage. There other types of courage, types that we face every day. Most of these incidents do not have the same level of physical danger, or any real physical danger in most cases. This should not, and does not lessen the act of courage, nor should it be compared or judged against the type of courage displayed on that day in 1944. The type of courage I will be discussing is the courage it takes to stand up, speak up, to be who you are called to be. The courage to do the right thing.

courage-is-the-most-important 

This quote resonated with me the first time I read it. So astute, so simple, so true.

The first virtue on most lists you will find of the Nine Noble Virtues (9NV) is courage. This is intentional, I believe. Courage is the foundation of all the other virtues. Courage is critical to living a Principle Centered Life. Without courage to act on the correct behaviors there is no action. Living a Principle Centered Life requires action…you can’t just fake it until you make it – you have to do it; you have to live it. You must own it.

Going against the status quo is not the easy path. It order to accomplish something you have never accomplished you have to do things you have never done. This take on the famous quote by an unknown speaker/author demonstrates a truth that is timeless. Courage is the principle that is the natural law that governs the actions required to step out and do what you have not done before. Most people do not accomplish great things, most don’t even accomplish minor things of importance. This is because people do not have the courage to truly want something different, they are content in with their bread and circuses.

For many people it is easy to make the connection with courage and going against the grain when we are talking about things like starting a business or running a marathon. Again, make no mistake those acts are displays of courage. Do you consider it an act of courage to face the unaccepting world when you are born with a difference from the majority? Is it courageous when the young black woman works to become a fortune 500 CEO? Absolutely! How about when the Autistic boy wants to become a doctor (yes, I stole that one!) Of course, that is courage.

So, when the guy at work introduces you to his husband understand that is courage. Wait, what? Why is it an act of courage for him to introduce you to his husband? When I introduce you to my wife, I would not consider that an act of courage. I have no fear of rejection. This is a normal thing for most people. We need to get to a place where those two men are as accepted as me and my wife. When you find out that Samantha used to be Samuel, that should not be a source of shock, it should be as acceptable as when Judy bought new boobies because she wanted to be a D cup, or when Frank got a nose job. All these examples are people choosing to match their bodies to their identity. Please do not think I am marginalizing any of these choices. I understand the decision to have sexual reassignment surgery is not the same thing as getting bigger tits. I am only bringing it down to the root for a common denominator.

You know what is also courageous? Accepting people for who they are without judging them based on your own paradigm. Remember that golden rule we all learned as children? Well, surprise, it is outdated. The platinum rule is the new, better rule. Instead of treating people how you would want to be treated try treating them how they want to be treated. This requires empathy and understanding other people…this means you have to get to know them. Which, you guessed it, requires courage.

As an end note I want to make it perfectly clear. There are people who should not be accepted. Toxic, harmful, dangerous people are who I am talking about. You should never accept toxicity from anyone (this includes yourself). Those who physically or mentally are dangerous to you should not be accepted, ever. Racist, bigots, and those who refuse to accept the differences in others are also not welcomed. It doesn’t need said but I will anyway; pedophiles are not acceptable. I understand that pedophilia may be their true sexual orientation, but consent requires a person mature/capable enough of understanding what they are consenting to. We must protect those who not capable of defending themselves.

From the words of the Allfather: When evil comes to you do not keep quiet or let your enemy find peace. (Havamal 126 – TAC study version)

I am Back….am I Back?

I’m back

Wow! Over a year since my last post…slacker!

Since I don’t believe in making excuses, because you don’t care, and because it is simply boring, I will not go into why I have taken a year off. I also will not be making any promises, implied or explicit, as to how often I will be writing these posts.

So maybe a little updating is in order. I have gotten more involved with The Asatru Community (TAC). I became the Arkansas State Ambassador in January. In April I accepted the Lead Ambassador assignment for the South-Central Region. This includes Alabama, Arkansas, Kansas, Texas, Tennessee, Missouri, Mississippi, Louisiana and Oklahoma. Right now, we are restructuring a bit. We have three ambassadors (2 of them are in the same state). So, we are working on getting new ones trained and operational.

I have set a goal to focus on/explore one of the 9NV each month. To spend the entire month with a daily reflection on that virtue. I post a quote in our regional FB group and journal about that quote. Some of that journaling may end up in these posts – again there will be no promises made.

To tie in with Pride Month I am focusing on courage this month. Courage is the foundation of a Principle Centered Life and is what those in LGBT+ community need to be who they were born to be. I was privileged to be born a straight male and blessed with finding my soul mate and best friend. I do not have the perspective to truly understand what being born with the sexual genitals that do not match my gender, nor do I understand what it is be attracted to someone of my same sex. I have no basis to understand what it is like to live in a world that is unaccepting of me because of how I was born.

However, because I have been blessed with the privileges I enjoy, I choose to be a friend to the community. To use my (the little I have) influence to help people like me have a little more empathy and to seek to understand as best we can. My sphere of influence is relatively small, but I have a little audience (my readers – both of you) in my role as ambassador for TAC. Since my primary role is in the Asatru/Heathen community I have focused my work on this task in this area. My daily courage posts are dedicated to those in the LGBT+ community.

Another focus I have dedicated myself to is being grateful, showing and expressing gratitude. I am not good at this. Sure, I am good at telling someone “Thank you” like my mother taught me. I am good at being polite (when I choose to). What I suck at is being grateful for my life and the blessings I live with. The opportunities – earned and gifted – I have been given and the results of the choices I have made. I write three detailed and specific gratitude, blessing, humbling experiences or something I am proud of in my journal every day. This is my plan to switch my thinking and behavior to become more grateful in my life. I believe that lack of gratitude is the source of why I not allowing myself to choose the better path. I am choosing to be depressed and angry – to be an asshole.

That is where I am now. I am back – at least for this post.

P.S. If you are interested in TAC – http://www.theasatrucommunity.org

Hamingja

When I started this blog, I envisioned becoming some type of guru about the application of the Nine Noble Virtues in daily life – for Heathens and everyone alike. So far, I have made five posts and barely hint on the 9NV. The ancestors had a concept we know as Hamingja – essentially luck but way more complex than simple luck.

In most tales the Hamingja is a guardian spirit that blesses a person based on their intent and actions in life. The more good a person does the stronger their Hamingja can become. Of course, luck can be inscrutable, and a blessing may not look to be that on the surface. For example, I have been blessed with a creative imagination. I can see fantastic images in my mind. I can see exactly what I want something to become. There is a disconnection between that imagination and my ability to apply it. Have you ever seen a beautifully decorated cake in a picture and tried to recreate that? Then end up with something that is edible, probably quite delicious, but you just don’t want to look at it? Well, that is my daily life only the picture is in my head.

This is what I am experiencing with this blog. I can see where I want it go and want I want from it, I just don’t know how to make that materialize, yet. Writing has always been something I want to get better at. I am an avid reader and one of my dreams is to write something that affects someone the way that my favorite authors affect me; that I could transport a reader to a different reality. The blog is a stepping stone in that journey. Here I can write something and publish it to that world, eventually I will get feedback – maybe confirmation that I am doing it correctly and hopefully some critique to help me improve. Mostly, though, the blog allows me to practice. It gives me a media in which to strengthen my Hamingja.

Part of the concept surrounding Hamingja is the ability to pass on the spirit to my descendants. I want to have a strong spirit; a mighty Hamingja. A person with a strong Hamingja can lend their blessing to others. When we wish a friend to have a safe journey home from a visit or when they go on a vacation – this is sharing our Hamingja to strengthen their own. The beautiful thing about this? When we do this, it doesn’t diminish our own Hamingja, but strengthens it.

I believe it was my Hamingja that showed me the Daily Prompts to give me an excuse to just write without the restraint of a specific topic. I will continue my research on the 9NV and I will write more on them, this is just an inscrutable interlude. The Daily Prompts are also a blessing that gives my blog exposure to an audience I would not have otherwise.