The True Meaning of Courage


Shelly Aspenson ~ Living Write

I love stories about courage. Courageous men and women who step forward in a moment of danger and put their lives on the line to save another. Sometimes, I’m sure their actions are based on a decision made in the moment, and others are maybe just an automatic reaction of each of them as a human being. Some freeze in moments of crises, and some are spurred to action.

This isn’t the type of courage I’m talking about today. Not the newspaper headliners, or the interviews on Fox News or whatever, or the kind that gets medals and commendations for bravery. I’m not talking about a moment of courage, I’m referring to a lifetime of it~the decision to be willing to live for and with someone, instead of the “die in a moment of glory” kind.

There are too many cheap relationships today. We fall in love, we do the…

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City of Jewels


Rest quietly for a moment
in the power of your potential…

Feel the irresistible
tug of your heart as it trembles
with the desire
to be set free…

Listen to the whispers
of the thoughts no longer willing
to be brushed aside
as trivial…

Know the tear you cry
is from your soul torn from reaching
into the City of Jewels
where your dreams wait…

For this exact moment
on the cutting edge of Now-
for you to find your courage,
and release your Fire.

Shelly ❤

Eye of the Beholder


I began meditating consistently two years ago to protect myself from the possibility of prison due to involuntary manslaughter…or maybe even justifiable homicide. When I was growing up, I wanted to be a vigilante ~ or perhaps more (like the commercial) The Fist of Goodness, balancing the scales of Truth, Justice, and the American Way It Oughta Be.

For some reason, while I didn’t do very well at standing up for myself, I was awesome at championing others. This would frequently lead to my desire to verbally level the playing field, with my actions following closely behind my desire. I was a super hero for the underdog, but sometimes (probably wanting a noble purpose for my temper) I jumped in too soon, and on the wrong side of goodness, breaking my own heart in disappointment when I realized I’d been duped.

I went from a job two years ago that was so pleasant, and not at all taxing, back into the management arena I’d hoped to never experience again. Being not at all the same person I’d been my first trip through, I had somehow lost my tolerance for what I considered stupidity, poor planning, lack of leadership, and my most frequent thought was:

“Oh. My. God. , are you SHITTING me?”.

I went from La La Stepford happiness into my version of Children of the Corn, or Silent Rage, or hey~Linda Blair spitting pea soup all over the place.

Kids, it was not pretty. I knew I was making myself sick; I was letting circumstances poison and rot my thinking, and in desperation signed up for a 21 day online meditation course. I began to meditate like medicine, the nitro pill that kept the heart attack from killing me, the counselor that helped me begin the day calm enough not to blow by the end of it…usually, and somewhere along the way I was able to see myself before I reacted to circumstances around me.

I began writing again as an outlet for survival purposes, and yoga kept me from twisting heads off in my mind.

I had accidentally created a momentary pause button between my first thought of what needed to happen~and what I actually chose to do. It was amazing.

I realized I wasn’t the evil twin sister I appeared to be, neither was I the white robed bodhisattva I yearned to be. I was a multi-faceted blend of all the parts it took for me to be me. I was the watcher of my ego, anger, and angst. I was the witness to my level of integrity high or low, my compassion or lack of, my judgment or acceptance of myself or whatever existed in my world at any given time.

I was the Beholder, and in the eye of the Beholder, all parts of me were valid, vibrant, and vital. All sides of me, no matter how it looked through the mirror darkly, were to be held, loved and listened to. All of me has something to say, something to share, something to teach.

I learned through the silence of meditation, and the momentary pause of the Beholder, that my Shadow is just as important as my Shine. If I let go of the reactivity and see what the triggers have to show me, then they become gifts of wisdom, yes? And if I hold my anger close like a beloved child and listen to what it says, in what wondrous ways will I change?

Do I still have moments I want to be the Fist of Goodness? Yes, yes I do. But if I throw in the Bodhisattva and a pinch of Jester, I just may have a winner~in the Eye of the Beholder.

Behold your own magnificent self.

One Moment


the moment
you decided to change,
everything inside
shifted to a new reality-
freshly created
from the thought itself,
through your heart
and out into
your new world…

in one instant
your future transformed,
turning your dream
into an intention,
that in the moments after
will become the choices
and the actions
that restructure everything
you’ve been until now…

in one heartbeat,
one thought,
in the quietest whisper
of your never forgotten dream,
you finally realize…
the moment
you decided to change
your eternity-
you did.

Shelly ❤

No Flowers


What if, during these apparently disturbing times of unrest, there was no one willing to smile for a moment? What if, during the storm of what’s coming, raining all over what is, there was no one to point out the rainbow of hope? What if the morning news kept beating us with political screw ups and forgot to share the stories of triumph, hope and perseverance? What if all we could see was the endless desert, blinded from seeing the beauty of the sunrise or sunset, it’s simplicity, or simply became numb to the dreams inspired by the flowers brave enough to bloom there?

I am weary and heartsick of being trapped in the quicksand of pessimism, discontent, and disbelief in humanity that I find myself surrounded with. Fighting against those who perpetuate this only causes their grip to become stronger, and me to sink faster into a depression I am unfamiliar with. It appears to do no good to explain that I can see what is so wrong without dwelling on it 24/7, or that I agree with much of the opinions that fly about~I’m just not willing to rage in a manner that hurts my cause of hope. I wondered just last night what would be expected of me if I were to be diagnosed with a terminal illness and given only a few months to live? Am I expected to weep and wail for the duration of my life at the unfairness or hopelessness of it all? Or would I be supported in any way in my attempts to enjoy and celebrate what time I had left in between my moments of weeping and wailing?

While I can’t answer that question, I can tell you that I don’t want any part of a world without love, compassion, hope, or flowers brave enough to bloom where they shouldn’t be able to. I won’t help create that world, and I’ll have no part in perpetuating it’s existence.  If we are doomed to a world of war, rioting, liars and lack of leadership, then I only have one thing to say:

Leave me alone.

Let me be.

Let me smile and laugh and joke while the fires that can’t be contained burn us to ash. If you’re right and the apocalypse is coming any day now then leave me to my singing, dancing, writing, dreaming, hoping, and loving where I can. Let the last thing somebody sees be my smile before being obliterated by Armageddon, the last thing they hear-my laugh, the last thing they feel-my heart wrapping around them so they know when all is said and done IT WILL BE OKAY.

I don’t want your world, and you don’t know how to believe in mine. That’s fine.

Just don’t pluck the flower that is brave enough to bloom in the desert and grind it under the heel of your anger.

Let the rainbow comfort somebody, even if it can’t be you. Let the flower bloom.

desert flowers rainbow