Recently I have found myself connecting to a prayer. I used to never pray and I am still not sure what I believe in. But like I have talked about before, I do believe in something greater than myself it is just not defined in my mind, heart and soul (yet). But this prayer speaks to me daily, 
"God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference. " 
This is referred to as the serenity prayer, I also like to call it the peace prayer because it gave me piece of mind and peace in my heart during difficult times. What I failed to see in this prayer for a very long time was the word COURAGE. After some time it became easier for me to accept the things I could not change in my life, especially people in my life and their actions. However, I never gave much attention to the COURAGE to change the things I can. I have come to realize that really the ONLY thing I can change in my life is MYSELF. As a mother I contemplate what this means. And I recognize many places it applies but mostly it is with my behaviors towards my children. It takes courage to not yell, to let things slide, to put your foot down calmly....all these things take way more courage to conquer a fear than we think.

     I spoke to someone the other day who was talking to me about courage and she told me that the word comes from a Latin word meaning "whole-hearted" and when I heard this I couldn't have been more struck by the truth behind that definition, it made this word even more powerful to me. It caused me to stop in my tracks and think about what that it really meant to have courage. Courage = Whole-Hearted. Which to me means an incredible amount on strength to step out of a comfort zone that is SO comfortable! 

       We get very complacent in our lives without even knowing it especially for me when it comes to parenting. When we have a desire of wanting to do something new and different our instincts tell us to back off and that it is dangerous territory. And it totally is dangerous territory to our psyche because it is unchartered, scary territory. Remember like I talked about the other week how fear can truly hold us down and keep us from taking steps forward. So when we have the strength to even LOOK for the courage within ourselves to step into that unknown place that is frightening it is really an amazing accomplishment, even if it is just a tiny step. It without a doubt takes a WHOLE-HEART to muster up that courage to take a new step in an uncomfortable direction. For me when I want to try a new thing with my children or STOP a behavior that is not benefiting myself or my children I always meet much resistance in my head and my heart.

       So what the heck is a whole heart? Yea, most of us physically have a whole heart but when we refer to it in a non-physical form it is so much different. To me it means putting your all, your everything, your fears and loves and desires out in the open, to share, to give, to be aware of others feelings. To be aware of your own feelings and to listen to those feelings and to honor others'. To feel that you deserve everything you want in life and to go after it. To believe that you have gifts that the world needs to experience and to take steps to share them. All of these things, to me, are part of a whole heart and a courageous mind.

     I am writing about courage and a whole-heart because we all have it within us and most of us use it daily, especially mothers - without even knowing it. We have to be resourceful and prepared and aware of what comes at us on a daily basis. I think that even when we do a very small thing that makes us nervous we are taking a courageous action. Many times you don't even notice that you are doing it. It could be trying a new sleep routine with your child or experimenting with a new food, or reaching out to a friend that you need a little help. These are all little steps of courage we take. I find that when I notice them and give them attention they grow into bigger and more courageous actions. As mothers we constantly surprise ourselves with what we can handle on a day to day basis. It's pretty awesome.

       I invite you to take a look at the things you do on a daily basis that cause you discomfort and find some peace in the fact that that discomfort means that you had to find COURAGE within yourself to do that thing. Take pride in that and be happy with yourself that you took a step towards growing as a person. Not only does that improve your life and make you feel good inside but you are naturally showing your children what it means to be brave and have courage. It doesn't mean conquering a mountain it means using your whole-heart to move forward and become a better you. 


Love & Light!
Julie Bel