“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.” – Theodore Roosevelt, the Man in the Arena. Delivered at the Sorbonne (Paris) on April 23rd, 1910.
Sometimes in our lives, moments will come when we have to step into the arena and show up despite our fears. As Brené Brown shares in her book Daring Greatly, being brave and courageous leads to authenticity and being true to ourselves, which leads to more sincere relationships, deeper connection with the world, and more happiness. But it means bravery. It means showing up in the arena. It means blood, sweat and tears. It means facing the other, and facing yourself.
For me, one big step into the arena and being real in my life was this blog. A friend asked me a few years ago, when I was heading to Iceland and Scotland if I would keep a blog to post pictures of my travel adventures. I wasn’t sure I wanted to–this seemed time-consuming, daunting, and a little outside my comfort zone. I decided to give it a whirl for that vacation. I set up my blog just before leaving (I might have even been at the airport already) and simply called my blog Away in Autumn, because it was quite literally October and I was going away. The name has stuck and the blog has continued. Now I write about travels still, but also many other passions, including intentional community, creativity, running, sweet & savoury, animal love, lifestyle and daily inspiration, and a new topic, to be announced soon.
For all you bloggers out there, I encourage you to keep going. It takes courage to write about who we are in honest ways. It takes risk to ask others to read along with us, and participate in our stories–our raw, personal, and sacred stories. It takes incredible patience to build an audience and to keep wondering, is anyone out there? I have been so encouraged by those who follow me and send me words of affirmation and comments on my blog stories–thank you! You have no idea what this means to me.
In the words of Brené Brown, “vulnerability isn’t good or bad: It’s not what we call a dark emotion, nor is it always a light, positive experience. Vulnerability is the core of all emotions and feelings. To feel is to be vulnerable. To believe vulnerability is weakness is to believe that feeling is weakness. To foreclose on our emotional life out of a fear that the costs will be too high is to walk away from the very thing that gives purpose and meaning to living.” (Daring Greatly, pg. 33)
To fully live and transform ourselves into authentic people means to be vulnerable, and being vulnerable takes courage. Thank you for following along with my blog, and I hope you find the courage to follow your dreams wherever they take you. In the meantime, if you are interested in following my blog, or receiving a free giveaway of this amazing book, please keep scrolling down.