As the year comes to an end and I fiercely try to protect the time I scheduled for rest, renewal, and some deep thinking, this poem by Milorad Pejić and translated from Bosnian to English by Omer Hadžiselimović keeps coming to my mind and I keep thinking about what it means to rest from our courage.
Many of us dedicate ourselves to causes, issues, ethics, solving problems, and supporting those we love. We strive, struggle, and hustle daily to make a difference and keep taking steps forward. No matter how small those steps may be or how many may seem to take us in the wrong direction, we keep walking. And while we believe in what we are doing with all the fiber of our being, we get tired and we are pulled to rest.
I have friends and colleagues who resist resting because they are afraid of losing momentum or trajectory. Others somehow equate resting with giving up. Yet, if we don’t rest, we will be no use for the effort to achieve the change we want to see. What we need to do in these moments is rest from our courage.
Resting from our courage doesn’t mean turning away or giving up. It means putting our courage down for a moment and resting our selves - renewing all the bits of who we are until we are again ready to take up our courage and keep walking. It is a pause to straighten our backs, unencumbered, and breathe deep before re-shouldering our packs and continuing our journey.
I hope as the year turns over that you take some time to rest from your courage.
Tongariro We are resting from our courage. By Milorad Pejić, translated by Omer Hadžiselimović Hung on a cloud, the cloak of the Tongariro volcano is clasped at the neck with a single round button: Blue Lake. At the bottom of the lake, at the height of the heart, a time bomb is ticking. We try not to think, we try not to know, but its veins like prickly goose bumps are crawling up our spines and are sweating. In the blue lake at the top of the Tongariro volcano there is nothing to eat, nothing but stone. This is known to the strange long-necked birds, but they still, on their way across the ocean, alight on them. Flying high, they have outlived their enemies and are now resting on the waves like on a seesaw. We, too, you and I, are strange long-necked birds who have outlived all their enemies. Coming from afar, we set down our backpacks and wade into the dead water of the Tongariro volcano. We are resting from our courage.