“Nature loves courage. You make the commitment and nature will respond to that commitment by removing impossible obstacles. Dream the impossible dream and the world will not grind you under, it will lift you up. This is the trick. This is what all these teachers and philosophers who really counted, who really touched the alchemical gold, this is what they understood. This is the shamanic dance in the waterfall. This is how magic is done. By hurling yourself into the abyss and discovering it’s a feather bed.”
― Terence McKenna
This is one of those extended quotes (actually, an excerpt from a short talk) that I come back to a few times a year, and it always seems to reveal something important, and worth appreciating.
Courage is one of those qualities that is often confused, and conflated with it’s closest cousins.
But courage need not be something reserved for those special souls who do something unusually heroic or newsworthy.
When I read the late great Terrance McKenna’s wise words, it reminds me that courage is really another word for trust.
The trust that if you do decide to hurl yourself into the abyss, it’s not jagged edges and hard landings that await; Instead, it’s the support of something invisible and unseen, waiting & willing to cushion your fall.
I’ve had a lot of crazy, hazy and unusual experiences in my life.
Many starts and stops, ups and deep downs, failings, flailings and far too many skinned knees to count.
But as I look back at the dubious decisions, the odd (and occasionally exotic) adventures into the the unknown, and the many wild, weird & often wonderful encounters with strange souls along the way, I’ve never felt particularly courageous.
But I’ve always felt the trust.
That if I simply showed up for myself, and believed there was a mission, a message, a commitment or a cause that was calling me to jump – that somewhere on the way down, that feather bed would appear.
Showing up for ourselves isn’t often easy.
Life is hard.
It’s easy to be distracted by the disappointments, to gather our grievances and grudges, and shrink ourselves in the service of a smaller, safer story.
That our best days are behind us.
Close your eyes. Trust.
It’s scarier to stand still than it is to free fall into the abyss of uncertainty. And be willing to believe that if you stand a bit too close to the edge, a feather bed will appear.
Teach what you know. Do what you love. Wake up the world with your work.
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