The first time I heard that question, I was attending a women's wellness retreat in Kohler, Wisconsin. The question seemed strange to me, as it may to you as well. Although not exactly insulting, it certainly felt a bit off-putting at the very least. I had yet to put my finger on why...
The woman posing the question was Jana Stanfield. She is a singer, songwriter and guitarist who describes her style of music as "heavy mental". Before posing such a grand inquiry, she first spent some time asking other questions. She asked the packed room of maybe two hundred or more women to recall things about ourselves and our lives. What was our story and how had it been shaped? What had we been through that brought us to that moment? What things had we been afraid to do, or at the very least, were uncomfortable with, but did them anyway? No matter what obstacles had been in our path, what had we accomplished against all odds, either because we had to, or simply wanted to?
After really examining our own journeys through these poignant questions, the light of acknowledgement filled the room. Hadn't we all, in some way, at some point, already been brave? Even if we didn't realize it at the time, hadn't something we'd been through required our own unique brand of courage and fortitude? Weren't we already equipped with everything we need to take the next step, wherever it may lead? Once we all sat in the truth that each of us in our own way, is already brave, something shifted and the world opened up a bit more.
Jana picked up her guitar and through her music, delivered each of us the gift of appreciation of ourselves. Her song blew the lid off the perceived limitations in that room. Faces began to change. Expressions came to life with yearning and remembered understanding. You could practically see the wheels of thought turning. You could certainly feel it. The room had become an energy warehouse, pulsing with the raw emotion of self-discovery. We were bursting at the seams, yet settled into a profound sense of peace. Eyes welled up. It was beautiful.
The question originally felt strange because we already knew the answer. We are brave. I AM brave.
This is MY life. And I choose to start living with the intent to reach whatever potential I decide. I choose not to be bogged down by thoughts of what I CANNOT do. I choose to remember how brave I actually am! Whatever I wish to do, I can...no matter what. So I ask you...if you were brave...what would you do? Oh wait...you already are. So go ahead.... be unsure, feel uncomfortable, scared even...and do it anyway, because you can.
I found this version of Jana Stanfield's If I Were Brave on Youtube. It gave me chills. Please invest the five minutes to listen and watch to the end. You are worth it.