Living past Mach 1:
When 24-year old U.S Air Force pilot, Chuck Yeager, broke through the invisible sound barrier in 1947, he later described in his biography the drag and push back against the plane in the trial runs beforehand as he approached Mach 1, the speed needed to surpass the speed of sound. The day he broke through, suddenly, he said, on the other side it was “smooth as a baby’s bottom.“ He could hardly believe it. “You could serve grandma lemonade up here.”
At 24, fearlessness and courage may seem easy when mixed with the hubris of what we don’t know. Courage mixed with wisdom can be even bolder.
Your heart may feel mired in turbulence, in the push back and drag around and within you as you approach your invisible and erroneous barriers — wisdom and victory waiting to be claimed on the other side of your Mach 1.
Perhaps it’s time for a new bravery, a fresh courage, a new magic, to examine your heart for who you are now, and what you really want, now.
Our courage gets weary or smothered not so much by the pain of experience and more by the self-judgment that creeps in afterward, the projections we take on from others, the layers of story we attach to it, the erroneous meaning we give it about who we are, the way life is, and what once was.
Your light is bigger than that. Our light is bigger than that.
My boss and the owner of a corporation I once worked for told me, “Shelley is the definition of courage.” Another kindly fired me for being “too creative,” saying, you don’t belong in a place like this. He was right, I didn’t. Kind as they were, neither of those environments could accommodate or sustain what I had to offer and I had a lot to learn about it myself. They felt confining and bored me to pieces.
Mach 1 isn’t about your speed of change. It’s about the voracity of your commitment; your devotion to connect with yourself and your capacities. Knowing there is always something better to come.
It may take a while, moments or even years, to claim your spirit, your fire, back from the painful missions you’ve sent it on—relationships, failures, jobs, bankruptcy, thoughts, dis-ease, self-doubt, conflicts, addictions, trying to save others, narcissists, settling, insecurities, family, injuries—to feel the kind of exhilaration and courage you once did.
Even if you’ve never felt it, it is there. Unbury it. It’s worth it. It’s always worth it.
We are made of heart. As the French root of courage reminds us (cor = heart), courage is the heart’s expression. It’s easy to start living from the pain, as we all do in some way. To tell yourself this is enough, and safe. That the hubris and dare of an earlier courage, or maybe a courage you never thought you had, doesn’t exist anymore. Sure it does. And so does the wisdom you’ve gained since then.
Ask yourself, what would I do if I had the heart for it? Wait and listen for an answer right in that moment, as well as the days to come.
Would you reconcile a relationship? Leave a narcissistic one? Kindle the fire of a new one? Start a new business? Expand the one you’re in? Shift directions? Go on a global adventure? Hire a mentor? Learn a new skill? Take your daughter or son or niece or nephew or elderly neighbor on a date? Take your team on a retreat? Transform your body? Launch a product? Leave a love note?
Your heart is ready.
Here’s to more of You in the world,