Lessons in Courage
You don’t expect great lessons in courage to come on your morning walk.
Yet there it was.
On the bridge with the waterfall that flows into a babbling, sparkling brook.
I think of it as a sacred spot really. A spot where I pause each morning to check in with myself. And where I feel grateful for nature, and Spirit and the Universe.
It’s got everything; lush green grass and trees, vibrant flowers, chirping birds, ducks, turtles, even the occasional fawn.
I almost missed them today when I stopped; a large, new family of baby ducks and their mom.
She was trying to teach them to jump from the edge of the waterfall into the stream below. The water was rushing. The sun was glaring and the drop is far. She showed them how to make the transition, twice demonstrating how to fly down.
But these little ducks couldn’t fly yet. They’d have to jump through the falls.
The babies shuffled back and forth along the edge of the fall trying to find the right time and place. They moved back and forth from right to left and back, then left again.
I imagined the thought process (clearly projection.) “Oh no, mommy we can’t take that leap. Maybe you can because you are bigger and you’ve done it before. Lots of times. And you’ve been here longer.”
“But we are small. We are new. We have never done this before. And it’s scary. What if something happens. What if we don’t make it.”
Then the mother duck let out one loud quack (as ducks do.) But just one. She otherwise waited patiently and allowed them to figure it out. (Which I particularly appreciated.)
They debated some more. More pacing. Huddled together, then spread out, learning the flow of the water.
Then the first one leapt down and over the falls, bolting for the mother duck when it got down to the stream. It wasn’t graceful, but it worked.
The baby shook a little (an adaptive animal stress response that unfortunately we don’t employ often enough), and then went about floating in the water and picking at vegetation.
The mother duck continued to wait patiently. Her confidence in allowing the babies the space and time they needed, without fretting, didn’t escape me either.
The others continued to observe, clearly nervous and hesitant. The back-and-forth deliberation escalated.
Eventually they took the leap, one by one or two by two. I got emotional when I saw the last two. The pressure of being among the last, when everyone else has already gone and figured it out (more projection.)
“I want to go too. I want to be down there with all of you and our family in the sparkling sunlight. But I’m not sure I’m ready. I don’t know if I can make it. What if…”
Once all the babies were down in the stream, stress shaken off as though nothing had happened, I registered the full sense of awe and inspiration of the metaphor.
It’s not the first time I’ve witnessed this scene at this bridge. And it always seems relevant.
It’s not about being fearless, but about feeling the fear and doing it anyway. We hear this all the time, but still hold back. Feel the fear. Respect the fear.
It’s there as a survival mechanism to keep you safe and protected.
But then take the leap. It doesn’t need to be smooth and graceful. It just needs to get you where you want to go.
End the back and forth and the deliberating and the perfectionism. Once there, you’ll get in the flow and make your way along.
If you’re ready to take a leap in your life, and want the same patience, understanding and encouragement as the mother duck, reach out to schedule your free Clarity Call. Learn more about how health coaching can support the goals and intentions you have for your life.
If you’re ready to take a leap in your life, and want the same patience, understanding and encouragement as the mother duck, reach out to schedule your free Clarity Call. Learn more about how health coaching can support the goals and intentions you have for your life
Disclaimer: This post is for informational purposes only. It does not constitute medical advice, or replace treatment or intervention by a qualified medical or mental health professional.