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Courage: Braving Our Own Wilderness

Oct 31, 2020 03:17PM ● By Nicole Zornitzer

Several years ago, I read Braving the Wilderness, by Brene Brown. In my quest for continual self-growth, inspiration and motivation during challenging moments in life, this book and its messages have been a blessing and created a platform for me to share with others the idea of braving our own, internal “wilderness”.

A concept that is introduced in this book is the idea of having a strong back and soft front. Brown eloquently presents the idea of us moving through life in a defensive mode versus an open and compassionate manner; most importantly toward ourselves. The question posed is how can we move through life with strength and vulnerability and coexist in the dichotomy of opposing ideas?

The answer is through courage. It requires courage for us to experience life and feel a sense of belonging in our own bodies, all while maintaining a strong back and soft front.

This courage is not like the typical courage we have learned about as a child, rather this courage is finding the means to express who we are, our truest of feelings and acceptance of the revelations about ourselves without judgment. Becoming the most authentic version of ourselves is difficult, it requires being brutally honest with “all that is”—the good, the bad, the challenges, the joys.  

When we find this ability to confront our greatest challenges, to stand alone with confidence and security, we are exuding this idea of courage. As one of my teachers says, “It is moving through a situation that provides true growth and evolution, we should not avoid challenges; we must go through them all. To do this, requires tremendous courage and compassion for one’s self.”  

This idea can then be related to satya, which is one of the yamas. Satya is one of the covenants of yogic philosophy and translates to being truthful. This challenges us to take bold measures in an effort to find our authentic self, our dharma and our purpose. When one begins to remove the walls of protection that we have created around our energy field, when one becomes vulnerable, when one fully engages in life and all that each new day brings, we are taking appropriate steps to become courageous and exude the true definition of strength.

Braving our own “wilderness” becomes this idea of evaluating our internal and external world. Becoming friends with ourselves and finding the courage at moments to challenge our comfort zone, to broaden our mind, to expand our hearts, to express vulnerability, to admit that we don’t know. Evolving and aging gracefully leads us to ultimately conclude that we are an expansive wilderness, a tapestry of thoughts, behaviors, compassion, love and even forgiveness. How beautiful that is.


Nicole Zornitzer, ERYT 1000, yoga therapist, founder of Niyama Yoga & Wellness Shala, located in Randolph, New Jersey, and Upper Lake Mohawk in Sparta, New Jersey. NiyamaYogaShala.com.





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