“What I’m advocating here is something that requires courage — the courage to have a change of heart. The reason this requires courage is because when we don’t do the habitual thing, hardening our heart and holding tightly to certain views, then we’re left with the underlying uneasiness that we were trying to get away from. Whenever there’s a sense of threat, we harden. And so if we don’t harden, what happens? We’re left with that uneasiness, that feeling of threat. That’s when the real journey of courage begins. This is the real work of the peacemaker, to find the soft spot and the tenderness in that very uneasy place and stay with it. If we can stay with the soft spot and stay with the tender heart, then we are cultivating the seeds of peace.”
— Pema Chodron
This week’s quote from Pema Chodron invites us to redefine courage by considering the value of a change of heart. We use this quote to help us reconsider our notions of courage and what is beneficial to ourselves and those around us. Instead of harshness and hardening our hearts, softening and embracing sensitivity requires the strength of vulnerability.
We also discuss the courage involved in breaking the habit of armoring and learning instead to open and surrender. Additionally we can learn to move through the tendency to fight, flee, and freeze toward acceptance with tenderness.
When we invest in the skill of embracing what makes us uncomfortable, we can strengthen our capacity for compassion and gain wisdom about the next step to take toward building peace.