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