Tiny Moments of Couraging: Developing the Habit of Showing UpJan 31, 2024 11:00AM ● By Deb Beroset
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Sometimes, I can be so small, so stingy. Like the time I was on an elevator at the end of a long-ish day. I was hungry. I glanced down at the phone in my hand and noticed a text message I hadn’t answered yet. I was feeling a little overwhelmed.
On the sixth floor, the elevator doors opened, and in came an older gentleman who had the best hat and smelled faintly of campfire smoke. He seemed a little sad. Was he? Who knows, maybe his face in repose just looks like that. But he did seem wistful, somehow. Lonely.
I noticed him, I had a thought to say something—and I said nothing and looked down at my phone. He got off the elevator and walked off into the world, and I’ll never know how his day or his life were going—whether he was sad or disappointed or supremely content.
But what I do know is this: I had one of those tiny moments where we’re given a choice to either expand or contract, and I contracted. Was it a big deal? No. But did it provide anything, did it have me being true to who I am at my best and most expressed? Definitely not. And so life went on, ho hum, per usual.
Now contrast that with what happened when my friend, I’ll call her Lynn, walked into the restroom at her office and encountered a woman she sees frequently. She started to scoot past her with no eye contact or words exchanged, but then things took a different turn.
This time, the other woman turned to Lynn and made some comment about how dry shampoo is the best thing ever. What ensued was one of those mutual OMG moments where the stranger you’ve been sort of avoiding becomes a kindred spirit.
“The minute she said something to me, I perked up and became this different person, all talkative and outgoing. We spent a couple minutes celebrating the miracle of dry shampoo, and when I walked back to my office, I felt happy,” she says, waving her glass in a swoopy maneuver to underscore the profound nature of the interaction. “And now when I see her every so often, it’s like, oh, there’s my Restroom Bestie!” Lynn looked around the restaurant, then at me. “It made me wonder, you know? How many moments do I let pass by where a tiny gesture on my part could have totally made the moment?”
It made me think as well. Sometimes simply witnessing ourselves in action—or inaction—is the most important gift of the moment.
“Courage is like—it’s a habitus, a habit, a virtue: you get it by courageous acts. It’s like you learn to swim by swimming. You learn courage by couraging.” ~ Marie M. Daly
In my work with clients, something that inevitably comes up at some point is the discomfort of showing up. More to the point, it’s the anticipation of discomfort that seems to trip people up. “What if I say the wrong thing and look stupid or desperate? Who am I to speak up? So many other people would say something more important or clever or meaningful…” Blah blah blah. Yet we are often surprised and tickled at what ensues when we do choose to say something.
I love the idea of learning courage by couraging. Building the habit of looking for where I can sprinkle a little wonder and love will have less attention on boring, always-too-much-to-do me, and more attention on the gifts I’m able to give here and there.
Like the other morning in Whole Foods, the woman standing in line in front of me was rockin’ the most spectacular specs I’ve seen in a while. As she moved to the next open register, I called out, “Those glasses are awesome!” She turned her head, looked a little surprised, then flashed a megawatt smile that lit up the whole damn store. “Thank you!” she said, and she threw those shoulders back a bit and drew some admiring looks from the shoppers around us.
I like to imagine she carried that moment with her throughout the day like a fab new accessory. I felt just a bit more alive and fabulous myself out of choosing to give that small gift instead of withholding it. Opening our hearts and taking the time to speak up can have a profound impact on some fellow traveler in this big ol’ world of ours.
Deb Beroset is a creative muse, shamanic coach, spirit guide and mentor of delight who specializes in supporting women in journeying to the center of what they truly want, putting their dreams in motion and living full-tilt-boogie lives. Services include mini-workshops, group programs, retreats, private coaching and mentoring and an online community, Club Moxie, designed for soulful women who want to connect with their magic and each other. The Flight Project—a four-month adventure for women ready to soar—is now open for registration at ItsTimeForMoxie.com/the-flight-project. See ad, page 12.