Saturday, February 4, 2012

Speak up, speak out, have courage

I deeply believe and try to live by the essence of the Quaker proverb 'Let your life speak', but lately I have come to believe we each need to do more that set a good example with our actions. There are times we must actually speak up and speak out as with the situation that the Komen Foundation created this week. We must be a citizen-activist with words in addition to our actions.

Speaking up takes courage. I know this. Many times I have not had that courage. I remained silent. Many times I have started to speak and stopped, not sure I would sound smart enough, or informed enough, blah, blah, blah.........fill in the blank with any number of reasons.

I only nervously got through my invited presentation last November at The Institute of Medicine by telling myself over and over and over that even though nothing may come from this (grrrrrrr........), this opportunity was my one chance at a national level with 'power-brokers' to share my observations, my ideas, and my concerns (most of which are not considered mainstream ideas and could easily be called impractical, unnecessary, too costly, or even 'radical') in order to help more women have a better shot a long-term survival from breast cancer.

In order to help stop my voice from shaking, I headed up the top of my hand-written notes for my talk with two favorite quotes by inspirational women who have found the courage to share their thoughts on issues of importance to them personally and also to society at large. Instead of studying my notes before I spoke, I read and re-read these words:

"Our silence will not save us"
~ Sandra Steingraber, PhD, Living Downstream

"Speak your mind, even if your voice is shaking"
Maggie Kuhn, Founder of The Gray Panthers

I deeply respect action. I have lived most of my life trying to be active 'behind the scenes' as I'm shy when under the spotlight (yes, that includes the entire 10 years from 1997-2007 when I was constantly on the road speaking around the country). However, time is so short. I now feel there is no time for silence on so many issues where change and compassion are urgently needed for our planet and our fellow travelers on this planet. 

If you have a favorite quote or mantra that you use to give you courage, please feel free to share it in the comment section. I think I will need them all. Thank you. :)

Cultivate your life - you are what you grow - inch by inch, row by row,

Diana Dyer, MS, RD


Maru said...

"What’s being nurtured is our confidence in our own wisdom, our own health, and our own courage, our own goodheartedness. We develop some sense that the way we are – the kind of personality that we have and the way we express life – is good, and that by being who we are completely and by totally accepting that and having respect for ourselves, we are standing on the ground of warriorship."
--Pema Chodron, The Wisdom of No Escape

“We make a living by what we get, we make a life by what we give.”
-- Winston Churchill

"Your life is the answer to someone's prayers."

Anonymous said...

Free your heart from hatred.
Free your mind from worries.
Live simply.
Give more.
Expect less.

Happy said...

It helps me to remember what my mother told me:

Tell the truth.

Do the right thing.

susan johnson said...

when meditating more and 'feeling the pain' etc etc wasn't cutting it for me, i went to a polar opposite that seems to help often forme: 'tough it out!' and 'suck it up', two lines that seem to sum up how some women i have watched ' just did it!' w/ less worry and fear. they do speak, to me, at putting things in perspective.
loving you, kale and your site!

Kristin said...

"Keep going," in addition to what you write!

If you ever have time to write a book about your "radical" ideas (and there's nothing wrong with that word), you'll have plenty of fans lining up to read it.

Elaine said...

I, too, am one who prefers to work quietly in the background. Your courage inspires me.

I have three favourite quotes about courage:

“Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgment that
something else is more important than fear.”
― Meg Cabot

“I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.”
― Nelson Mandela

“Don't be afraid of your fears. They're not there to scare you. They're there to let you know that something is worth it.”
― C. JoyBell C.