Friday, 21 July 2017

The Cowardly Lion of Oz - Learning The Courage To Be Yourself

The Cowardly Lion Of Oz

This post is part of the results of a course taken at The Recovery College
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The Cowardly Lion

Bravado living:
Put 'em up. Put 'em up. You
Stay away from me.

I couldn't let people get too close.

They might have discovered me. Ripped of the masks I wore and found a creature I believed deformed, despicable. I couldn't bear that they might learn that my exterior manner of the mild mannered preacher, the smiles and a way with words that led some to wish I was ordained, hid a soul whose pain could not be alleviated through the platitudes and fine words of the Jesus he preached.

I couldn't let them get too close.

They might have forced me to discover myself.

They might have forced me to face all that I feared about myself. All that I had been taught to loathe.

So, apart from a rare few, I kept them away. I preached peace, a sound mind. And self harmed three times to get myself through the service. I spoke of God's love. And spent my days hiding the hate I thrust upon myself.

As a preacher I looked to the wizard in the sky to transform me. From sinful creature to child of light. From a man of unclean thoughts to one whose whole life was wrapped up in God.

It was only when I began to look away from the sky wizard that the transformation began.

Jesus said the kingdom of God is within, Christ is within, the very core of life and being is within.

I looked within.

The wizard waited there.

Hidden. Buried. Cast into the deepest oubliette. A forgotten prisoner.

I looked harder. Heard her screams and released her.

She said to me, “I do not grant you courage. You have it already. It took courage to look within for strength and answers. You, child of god-light, you are courage.”

I accepted her word.

I accepted the woman I already was.
I accepted what I'd been told for years, that I am autistic.
I accepted that I am a creative.
I accepted spiritual possibilities and in so doing walked away from the faith path that had been my meaning.

Every day is astonishingly difficult. Autism and my mental health conditions combine. Every day they present me with an almost impenetrable barrier. Every single day.

I am tempted to faint. Tempted to give up the yellow brick road to my own promised land, the emerald city where all dreams are possible and where life, love, and fullness of being are celebrated and experienced.

Sometimes I succumb to temptation. In despair I weep.

Healing and anointed wisdom are not grasped in a day. Perhaps that would be too easy. Perhaps we need to learn through failure and struggle just how beautiful we are.

And I forget. Often I forget. Though the goddess within spoke “You are courage,” I forget.

Often I still live in fear. And sometimes I give in to it.

Often I live in anxiety and panic too. That's part of the nature of mental health conditions that I still bear.

One day I will be the restored lion. I will cease to say “Put 'em up.” Instead I will say to all, “You are welcome in this place. Come, let's celebrate our inner god kingdoms together. Come, I am willing to give you space to discover your own inner god and the passion that will lead you to your fullest life.”

One day this cowardly lion will roar so loud that the world will see her, rejoice, and learn to roar too. One day this cowardly lion will show others that there is a water of life that will slay all the wicked witches we needlessly carry.

Is this bravery? Or is this revelry in ecstasy?

It doesn't matter.

Come, walk the yellow brick road of inner courage with me.

Look inside to the darkness and the light. Accept it all. Especially that which you call shadow.

Look inside and in the core of your being I promise you this:

You too are courage.

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