Building a Courage Box

These musings arrived in an email the other day (thank you Augusta):

I wonder if the nature of “courage” and “adventure” change as we age: doing things at 20 may be natural…and unthinking. 20 years later, those same things become a terrifying risk.

Can remembering our adventurous selves be as useful as learning new techniques?

Augusta’s thoughts echoed a conversation from a Practical Woman’s Guide workshop I gave a few months earlier, with some wonderful women who’d agreed to be my guinea-piglets to try out some of the Guide’s theories and exercises. We talked about the idea of a Courage Box – a container of memorabilia celebrating your previous acts of daring-do. Something you could peek into when feeling timid, to remind yourself of what you’re really capable of.

Having reminders all over the house isn't quite enough, I need a box, too.

Having reminders all over the house isn’t quite enough, I need a box, too.

Here’s my courage box. Actually, I have stuff all over my house (could it be I need constant reminding?) but my box contains a cow bell found at the first Italian property we ever coveted, a button and a bone carving from my ride across the Mongolian steppes, the sand dollar from Nova Scotia that I took as proof that great good fortune was on its way even as our villa, starved of cash, went up for sale, the Ninja doll that wards off naysayers, reminders of love, and bits of things from my greatest adventure, my daughters. It’s a good box.

It sits on my desk. On top of the box sits a small angel that used to belong to my mother. The angel reminds me that, regardless of the contents of the box, I have learned from a master.

What’s in your courage box?

4 thoughts on “Building a Courage Box

  1. Margo Northcote

    It strikes me that even if you don’t seek adventure, it will find you. Whether it’s dusting yourself off after a workplace “downsizing” or facing family health challenges, we summon up the courage to embrace terrifying situations that were not of our choosing. Surely those experiences belong in a courage box too. To encourage us to choose (since we’ve shown that we can survive) the things that scare us.

    Sent from my iPhone

    1. Shelagh

      It’s never occurred to me to put reminders of crises I survived in a box; I usually want to forget them! But you’re absolutely right, they’re hard evidence of our durability. Great idea.


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