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  • Writer's pictureHannah Marsh

To Boldly Go

“Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it. Begin it now!"

- Attributed to Goethe*

Flower bud

Oh, to be bold! To go forth into uncertainty without stopping to wonder, "Do I really want to do this? Am I sure? Like, really sure? Oh right, my email! Gotta reply to these!"

You'd think we couldn't wait to begin the things we want to do. Write that story. Sing that song. Redecorate. Try a new hairstyle. Change jobs. Yet doubt, fear, distraction, self-judgement - so many things can stop us. In some ways, this makes sense. Whenever we do something new or different (aka creative), we’re taking a risk. We don’t know the outcome. What if it turns out badly? What if we’re no good at the thing we’ve dreamed of doing? What if we get hurt? It’s a natural impulse to protect ourselves. Not taking the risk can feel safer (although this is a risk, too - the risk of staying small).

So how do we go ahead and do what we truly want to do? How do we make space for our bolder selves?

Perhaps you have your own strategies. Surrounding yourself with bold people who spark your courage. Celebrating your intentions and efforts, rather than putting pressure on an outcome. Taking a playful, exploratory stance – “what might happen if I do this?” Intentionally taking small risks – trying a new sport or class – teaching yourself (and your nervous system) that you can handle risk and imperfect outcomes; perhaps even falling on your face is not as bad as you’d feared. Remembering to trust the small guiding voice inside saying, “yes!” or “no!” (bold can be setting boundaries, unleashing your energies in wiser directions).

There are so many possibilities here. For now, I’d like to spend some time with that small guiding voice. The inner compass that can tell us what we value – what is important, what is it we truly want? This inner listening can cut through the noise – the busyness and distractions of our daily lives – to help locate our deepest intentions. Perhaps it’s an intention to be generous, to offer what you have (your art, your perspective, your kindness) to the world. Perhaps it’s an intention to live as fully as possible during this short time on earth. Perhaps it’s an intention to meaningfully connect to the lives around you. Perhaps it’s something else.

I’ve found connecting to my intentions can embolden me, helping me to let go of small worries and direct my energies where it truly matters. It’s not a magic switch. I need to remind myself over and again what my intentions are - I get distracted or disheartened; I forget them; they evolve and change. So I try to revisit them often.

In our February Mindfulness & Creativity drop-in, we’ll work with intention in our mindfulness practices. We’ll reflect on what really matters to us, and how we might nurture these seeds of intention. We might grow a little bolder - or if "bold" still feels a bit scary, we might encourage ourselves, instead, to blossom.

“And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.” - Elizabeth Appell


*W.H. Murray attributes these lines to Goethe, although he appears to be mistaken. It's at best a loose translation.


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