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courage, dear heart

liz lamoreux


Earlier this month, I shared some words about why I've chosen "attention" as my word of the year. Today, here's a little more about the phrase I'm also carrying with me: Courage, dear heart.

“But no one except Lucy knew that as it circled the mast it had whispered to her, "Courage, dear heart," and the voice, she felt sure, was Aslan's, and with the voice a delicious smell breathed in her face.”
- C.S. Lewis, Voyage of the Dawn Treader

The Chronicles of Narnia books have some of my favorite stories of all time. I'm a huge fan of C.S. Lewis and his writings, fiction and non-fiction. I appreciate his honesty and doubt and even cynicism about love until he fell in love later in life. He writes about grief in raw, intense ways in his book A Grief Observed, which is about his reaction to his wife's death. The writing was so truthful and full of questions about his faith that he published it under a pseudonym. I find this all so fascinating.

Lewis has said that Aslan represents Jesus in his Narnia books; I think of him as God. 

So to me, this quote is about faith and reaching out for what is greater than you when you are afraid and being reminded that you must look deep within for courage while also trusting that you aren't alone in whatever is coming your way.

Big stuff.

Last week, while Joni Mitchell sang, I wrote down all that came to mind when thinking about this phrase. Focusing mostly on feelings and words that capture where I am in this moment. I pushed myself to let go of censoring (even if it felt like I was writing cliches) and just write, using a kind of mind map.


courage dear heart journaling


I want to try to do this same practice every month - journaling with "courage, dear heart" as my prompt. There will probably be repetition but it feels powerful to push aside swirling thoughts and hone in on the feelings under the feelings with this phrase as a prompt.

Courage and attention, two words that feel important as we march forward into whatever is to come. I look forward to bringing them with me and using them to keep myself focused and supported as I find my way.

What words are you holding close these days? I'd love to know. 

(print above from Cheerful Ink)