What's the Consistency of Courage?

How a soft approach can overrule resistance

Do you wrestle with consistency—whether at work, with writing, exercising, or some other aspect of life?

Consistency is not contagious. It’s outrageous. Not quite, but it’s hard when your inner resister rebels against the mainstream advice that “success requires consistent posting, blogging, sending, writing.”

Commitment. Discipline. Self-management. All good, no argument. But I consistently resist consistency. I won’t even consistently practice the mantra I made up: “I desist persisting resisting my highest good.”

There must be a way to reframe consistency. So I began to play with the word.

Does it take courage to be consistent?
How can our courage emerge consistently?
What is the consistency of courage?

Years ago I took a Level 2 workshop in Healing Touch for Animals from founder Carol Komitor. She wanted us students to become aware of how, with a soft approach to our energy presence, we can affect the balance and clearing of the energy system at a deeper level. She demonstrated how people tend to interact energetically, whether with hands-on healing or rushing in to fix and save or advise or rescue or simply interact with enthusiasm. We go in hard. We barge in.  We jump in. We’re abrupt.

She gave us an experiment to try. Add about a cup of water to two cups of cornstarch. Mix it up until it’s thick as molasses.  Tap your fingers quickly on the surface and notice that it’s hard, nearly impenetrable. That’s how an animal (or a person) might react to your abrupt or enthusiastic energy.

Now soften your intention and allow your fingers to sink in softly. In they go. Like the surface tension melted magically.

This is called Thixotropic!

DO TRY THIS AT HOME! (Just don’t pour it down the drain when you’re done!)

Wikipedia says of thixotropy, “certain gels or fluids that are thick or viscous under static conditions will flow over time when shaken, agitated, shear-stressed, or otherwise stressed. They then take time to return to a more viscous state.”

I know I don’t write well, or easily, or consistently when I feel agitated and otherwise stressed. The sheer pressure of the consistency dictate is enough to freeze me in place.

Britannica says viscosity is a measure of a fluid’s resistance… a quality expressing the magnitude of internal friction…resisting or opposition to flow. The reciprocal of viscosity is called the fluidity, a measure of the ease of flow.

Consistency craves that state known as Flow. We strive (as writers, creatives) to get into the Flow, as humans to Go with the Flow. When the call for consistency creates too much pressure, perhaps we need to go with the Ebb?

Lauren Sapala, author of The INFJ Writer, spoke on a webinar recently to a crowd of curious, intuitive, introverted writers. She talked about the importance of honoring the ebb as much as the flow. Especially at times when your harsh inner critic (and society’s norms) yell at you to just get it done, sit down, and do it, dammit. Especially, too, at times of life shifts, such as grieving a loss or tremendous change. As if to reinforce the message, the universe ensured I saw or heard the phrase “ebb and flow” six times the same week!

In my experience, creative courage requires the consistency of cornstarch and water, or the sand at low tide.

When the ebb tide has flowed so far out it reveals a vastness of sand to explore, new things will appear. Starfish to find. Tide pools of treasure. Unwritten sand, blank as a canvas, or smooth as ganache poured over a torte before adding sprinkles.

Allow your inner creative tides to recede. Tides vary with the moon, but go in and out at least once a day and shift through the seasons. Women have moon tides. One woman-author of childrens’ books once told me she knows to write when her body is waxing and releases all worry about writing as she wanes. Remember, tides always turn.

Courage consists of heart, head and hands coming together to take action despite anxiety, fear or resistance. As Mary Ann Rademacher says, “Courage does not always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, ‘I will try again tomorrow.’”

Can creative courage be thixotropic? Perhaps it requires a softening of your fingers and an intention to melt the resistance, gently, in pace with your own cyclic tides.

#REFLECT:  What’s the rate of your internal friction when it comes to being creative? What creates more resistance? What melts it for you?


Join me and Sarah Averill, MD for a virtual 90-minute workshop at The Examined Life Conference. We’re presenting “The Courage to Write” on Thursday, October 21 at 2:30 Central time, online.  You can register ala carte for only $15, or sign up for the entire conference and enjoy many other amazing workshops over several weeks.

Also see two workshops with Mukta Panda MD, author of the first book by Creative Courage Press, Resilient Threads: Weaving Joy and Meaning into Well-Being. Register at The Examined Life website here.