Derived from the Latin word “cor”, the root of the word courage means heart. What’s interested to me is the depth of this “cor” across cultures, spiritualities and communities. Not only does it pertain to the word courage. The strength of our core in our body (a.k.a. abs to those of you non-spiritual folks) is essential to our ability to move freely, safely, and more aggressively. Teams within a corporation must be united and efficient to produce a sustainable and successful business. And it can be one simple cord of a song that creates an eloquent melody to a song. Like when we hear a song for the first time and fall in love with it immediately…it connects with our heart, we smile and want to dance like a little kid without worry.
The three simple letters c.o.r. are the basis for strength, stability, love and passion in our lives. Courage is not only an external heroic act of bravery, rather I see it as an inner muscle that exercises stamina and willpower to connect with our body, a team of people, or simply feel the rhythm of the most recent release on Spotify. Learning to define courage in our own way is difficult because I think it gets influenced by society: people, places, expectations, jobs, blah blah blahhhh. It really can be as simple as doing what our heart asks for…and the willingness to be completely and imperfectly ourselves. Most importantly can be connecting the fact that being imperfect is what our heart is asking for. The courage to be brave might be the honest acceptance that we are imperfect and not able to be all the random, overachieving, highly impossible expectations our mind conjures up.
Even more basic than acceptance, I’ve learned after recovering from the harsh depths of illusion, that honesty makes the heart happy. Courage paints the picture of its true meaning, “heart” when we simply are honest with ourselves and those around us. To step back and say, “this is (or is not) serving me right now” takes courage. And it is a big deal to have the courage to say “I love you” and the openness to hear what our heart desires rather than what the mind separates as good and bad. Who the hell gave the mind the power to decide? We sure do not have to!
A majority of yoga can be focused on core (especially this day and age). Earlier in my more competitive days, I was all about core and it’s connection to burning more calories and making me look more fit. But now after enough powerful teachers combined with a number of injuries, I understand that our core is so intrinsically connected to our Manipura chakra (third chakra at the solar plexus, associated with fire, confidence, self-esteem, sense of self). Relating to and igniting our core allows our heart center, our fourth chakra of compassion and love, to radiate and extend our authenticity.
At the end of the day, the basic three letter root, c.o.r. is the reminds us to live with Courage from the heart, be Organic, and Respect Mother Earth, our community and ourselves. From this place of strength, we can protect and project ourselves from a place of love. Simplicity can have the most complex and powerful teachers. And courage can be as simple as connecting to our heart.