Courage, My Word!

Some weeks back I went to see Augusten Burroughs give a reading from his new book “This Is How” which can loosely be described as a self help book directed at those who loathe such tomes.  The experience itself was quite cathartic for me.  Despite coming from as dissimilar upbringings as two white North Americans who have done time in the advertising world can have, he and I share a similar view on many things and the lecture started a tsunami of contemplation. Burroughs’  central theory is that one is entirely responsible for ones own destiny.  I have always believed that every single thing that happens in life as a lesson and that lessons can by times be very unpleasant.  You can choose to learn from the events in your life, you can choose to ignore them or you can even choose to spend your life in a morass of self pity, railing about the cruel hand that life has dealt you.

I must confess I have indulged in the latter and found it a chronically tiresome place to dwell.  I am endeavoring to excise such behavior from my life and in doing so I have been thinking a good amount about courage.  You can bitch and moan about how much your life needs to change, but until you are willing to actually either proverbially shit or get off the pot, it ain’t gonna happen.  And no one wants to hears about your poo in the meantime.

Which brings me to Stacey.

Stacey is a woman who I was introduced to by a mutual friend.  She is, amongst a great many other things, a TV producer who decided a couple of years back that there was a one woman show living inside her that needed to make its way out.  Instead of lolling about wondering what life would be like if she ever followed this dream she signed up for a workshop, wrote an introductory 20 minute piece and performed it.  Realizing this was not going to quell the desire she assessed her finances, took a huge amount of time away from work and spent about a year developing the story into a 75 minute one woman play which I had the great fortune to see debuted in New Mexico (at the cabaret theatre of a retirement home for the transgendered.  Needless to say, that’s a whole other story).  As she herself will say I saw the framing of a house at that show in Santa Fe.  She has now developed the walls and the insulation and the roof  to include props, costumes, music and movement and she just wrapped a seven show run at the Toronto Fringe Festival.  (And yes, I suck for not having written about this BEFORE the show wrapped.  So sue me.)  She will be taking it to the Edmonton Fringe and after … who knows.  She is a brave soul for following her dream and she is a source of great inspiration for me.

As I cast my eye over the list of people to whom I send this little blog directly I realize how lucky I am to know so many courageous people.  People who have changed the current of their lives, started companies, moved abroad, sought education for new career paths.  People who straightened up, took a look at the horizon and charted a bold course for their own future.  People with the courage to swallow their fear and set out even with the naysayers and the terror and the uncertainty in their faces every day.  I am proud to count myself amongst them and I steal a little bit of strength from each and every one of them.  We should never stop dreaming, and never stop having the audacity to make those dreams come true.

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