Many of us, maybe especially we women, are conditioned by society and other forces perhaps, to be a certain way. There are specific acceptable ways within our families and communities that we are supposed to behave. We may not even think of these specific expectations consciously, but we know the rules, and most of us, at least publicly, play by them.
One of my heroes is Henry David Thoreau (born 1817- died 1862). Thoreau always seemed to march to his own drummer, no matter how wildly unpopular he was. Most of us are frightened to death of being unpopular, maybe because we often interpret unpopular as unworthy and unlovable.
Thoreau was jailed in the 1840s after refusing to pay taxes because he would not abide by the government’s Indian Removal Act. “His observations were based not on some philosophy he had read or heard, but on his own direct experience of feeling the outrage of conformity, and seeing the horrors of how Native Americans were being treated by the white man. He knew that the popular practice of removing Indians from their lands was our very own Holocaust.” (Wisdom of the Ages: 60 Days to Enlightenment by Dr. W. Dyer, 113)
It is said that Ralph Waldo Emerson, a great friend of Thoreau’s, went to visit him in jail. Emerson asked Thoreau, “What are you doing in there?” Thoreau retorted, “More importantly, what are you doing OUT THERE?” Thoreau was challenging his friend to be more courageous and to stand up for what he knew to be right.
In the movie Annie Hall, the character Annie ponders how she would stand up against the Nazis. Woody’s character laughed and said “Are you kidding? They would take your credit cards and you’d cave.” How do we as a society and individuals stand up to support others?
I humbly challenge all of you (especially myself) to do at least one courageous and loving thing that you know you must do.
Love and Courage to All of You!
(c) 2007 Jeanine Marie Austin, Ph.D., C.Ht.
Doctor of Life Coaching, Certified Hypnotherapist
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