Diana Winston recently offered a guided meditation on the topic, “Mindfulness, Courage and RBG” in honour of the life of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg of the US Supreme Court who died on 18 September 2020 at the age of 87. RBG was a popular figure admired for her intellectual prowess and fierce determination to support the rights of women and native Americans. During her tenure as a Supreme Court judge she tirelessly opposed gender discrimination and supported the right of women to have an abortion. She changed the course of the American legal system through her dissenting judgements including her influential role in the development of the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009.
In her meditation podcast, Diana portrayed Justice Ginsburg as the epitome of courage – displaying “strength of heart” in the face of powerful opposition and ongoing difficulties and challenges. Despite being daunted by the task ahead, Justice Ginsburg pursued her convictions over a lifetime and took each step towards realisation of her goals even in the face of fear. Although she was a “tiny person” she was a very deliberate and articulate person who had a “commanding presence”. These characteristics were lauded by Judy Cohen and Betsy West, filmmakers and directors of the 2018 film on Justice Ginsburg’s extraordinary life, simply titled RBG.
Diana begins her courage meditation podcast (at the 5-minute mark) by encouraging relaxed breathing and a body scan followed by a focus on sounds. She uses these initial processes to help you achieve grounding in the moment.
Diana then asks you to recall a moment when you displayed courage in the face of strong opposition, challenges, and difficulties. Your display of courage might involve a single event in your life or a protracted effort to achieve some level of justice, equity, or recognition. It might have occurred in a work context, within your family environment, in a not-for-profit endeavour or in a sporting context. Diana suggests that if you cannot think of when you displayed courage in your own life, you might reflect on the courageous life of Justice Ginsburg.
In the latter stages of the meditation, Diana asks you to capture what it felt like in mind and body to display courage and resilience in a challenging situation. This reflection could generate both positive emotions (e.g. a sense of achievement/contribution) and a challenging emotion such as resentment (for the opposition you experienced). It is important to be with these emotions and capture the whole-body experience of being courageous.
Once we have captured what it means to be courageous in our lives, it is worth reflecting on what things/issues/ideals motivated us to be proactive in the face of challenging odds. As we grow in mindfulness and self-awareness, we are better able to tap into what provides the energy for us to initiate and/or sustain courageous action. We can gain a greater insight into our life purpose, our innate creativity, and our capacity to make a difference in our own life and that of others.
By Ron Passfield – Copyright (Creative Commons license, Attribution–Non Commercial–No Derivatives)
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