Courage Points Toward Resistance (Not Away From It)

The barriers between us and our freedom and fulfillment often look and feel a lot like the exact things inside us that we do not want to face.

We each have within us a compass of sorts, but it works backwards. Instead of pointing us toward our true north, it actually points us away from the things we need, desire, and will benefit from the most. This compass uses fear, resistance, insecurity, justification, rationalization, and a hundred other forms of procrastination and avoidance in order to drive us away from who we are destined to be.

There is a quiet voice inside each of us, our true north, telling us what and who we are truly capable of becoming and how to move toward that. Much louder, however, is the voice that tells us all of the reasons we can not or should not move in that direction. This latter voice, this negative compass, if we learn to recognize it for what it is, is an invaluable tool for finding our way and this is done by simply moving toward that which it points us away from.

By stepping back and listening to, identifying, and acknowledging the things we fear and most want to avoid, we shine a light on the obstacles in our way to becoming our best selves and living our best lives. If we decide that we do not want to know what is on the other side of these obstacles, we can turn away from them and walk back into the shadows. If, on the other hand, we choose bravery, courage, and curiosity, we now know which way to find these in ourselves, and that way is through.


Holistic Budo: As it is in budo, so too it is in life. As it is in life, so too it is in budo.

Robert Van Valkenburgh is co-founder of Taikyoku Mind & Body and Kogen Dojo where he teaches Taikyoku Budo and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, as well as a founding member of the Severna Park and Baltimore Holistic Chamber of Commerce.

Street art photo taken by Robert Van Valkenburgh, artist unknown unless otherwise noted.

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