I'm John, founder of CouragEndures. Over the years that I've thought about this cause, it has evolved from something that was an outlet for my story to being an outlet for displaying, promoting, and encouraging the courage of others. It is my sincere hope that, as we grow, we are able to create a community that is supportive of each other throughout the struggles that life brings. Together, the ups and downs won't be easier, but we'll help each other find the strength to pull through our darkest days. Our courage will forever endure.
John's Journey: Post 1
Courage has become my mantra over the last couple of years. Early in my life I didn't feel that I had any. Call it a confidence issue or a lack of understanding of who I was or who I wanted to be. I remember in middle school being compared to my older brother, who was so very smart and very disciplined and I was just the opposite -- I was a shitshow! I felt stupid and unattractive, and no matter how I searched for my courage, I couldn't find it. So I faked it! Here is just one example: I remember being compared to my older brother by a math teacher. Of course she said, "why are you not as smart as your brother?" or something close to that, and I don't think I ever got over it until I had the courage to release my own ego and pride and after I had figured out who I am. I didn't truly start to release my ego and pride until I walked out of my doctor's office on November 30, 2011. I knew at the moment that it was up to me, and that I had to make changes -- I wanted to live! Not only did I want to live but I wanted to thrive. I wanted to be honest with myself and ask tough questions about myself, because living a life without courage wasn't working and in fact, I would argue that it was actually killing me. I started asking myself “what do I believe?” and “what do I want? Not what people want me to believe or what they think I should want, but what do I believe and want? After a ton of reading and soul searching, I came to my first belief: there aren't any guarantees in life, and life is difficult and a struggle.... I'm okay with that. I know what it will take and I will start with telling myself no lies! I started putting in the work and imprinting this belief into my core, and I reminded myself daily to stay awake with myself -- which is a constant struggle. It's interesting that the more I work on this, the more it fuels me to push my boundaries.
My second belief: I must be in movement to be living. I must create movement in my mind, my soul and my body because my goal is for all three to work together. I want to be aware when I’ve achieved that rare moment of movement and let its success give me power and energy to keep moving -- JB be awake! I have always loved physical exercise, but my body was always heavy. I wanted to be lighter to do more, which would allow me to get out into nature. When I'm moving in nature and see and feel the greatness of the natural world, I see God! That's what I want, so it was time to get to work and grab it.
The third belief is to achieve balance. To feel the feeling of balance, my mind, body and spirit must work together, even if it is for nanosecond, because I know that life is movement. The push and pull of movement will always create an imbalance in life, so I want to be aware enough to enjoy that nanosecond of equilibrium and know when I need to tweak it to regain my balance. I must take inventory of those moments of balance in my soul and remember them.
November 31, 2011: I was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes. I was not awake. I was blind to what I was eating and drinking. My blindness and fear were killing my body, and I had developed Type 2 diabetes, like my father and mother and maybe even my grandmothers on both sides of my family. So after my diagnosis, I knew that I need to drop some serious weight. JB chooses life. So I searched the internet and read many different books and articles, advertisements -- you name it I read it. I searched things like "How to cure diabetes?" and "Can I reverse diabetes?” just to name a few. After my research, I realized that to achieve success, I would have to FOREVER change my diet and add movement such as walking, running, going the gym and yoga to achieve my goal of playing outside, in God's playground, and that's the best movement of ALL! The old saying of everything in moderation is complete bullshit -- that's a lie that I told myself. With my predisposition for diabetes, guess what? The reality is sugar does't work for me! So I went cold turkey on a Friday and started following "the Diabetic Solution" by Dr. Bernstein, and by Monday I started seeing immediate results. I began testing my blood sugars three times a day, every day! I still do this at least twice a day. Now, more than four years later, my blood sugars are normal through constant work, and this keeps me honest. Through this awakening, my philosophy of “Courage Endures” was starting to form! Movement of the mind -- to make decisions -- has become the fuel of my core beliefs. Soon, my body wanted to move and was able to move more and for longer. My soul was also starting to move. I started reading Lama Surya Das's book and well as Thich Nhat Hanh's books. I like their books because they gave me the power to say "NO" and mean it. My family and friends helped me so much in overcoming the idea that I was a going to be fat forever and die soon. I also accept and understand this life is a marathon and I will fight for my life and I will work hard to be the best I can be, because that juice is worth the squeeze. My happiness starts with movement of the mind and movement of the body, so the decision to live was made!
The hard part is to have courage and to demonstrate an enduring form of courage that will power me into the future on a daily basis. The act of seeking courage is so important to me. When Andrea (an old girlfriend) and I were dating, she would often engage me in some beautiful conversations. She would ask my questions about what I believe and she would ask me about my own living philosophy that she had been witnessing me trying to deploy. So I was talking with her and we were discussing Courage and how choices are made...I said basically, you either choose to live or you choose to die, but it is my choice.
I had chosen in the past not to live honestly with who I am and who I wanted to be. Then, in a moment of being able to clearly express my thoughts to her about life, death and courage, I said this, which is with me everyday of my life and I mean it. (Andrea wrote this down): “Courage is walking out the front door and having no idea what comes next. Courage is being afraid – really afraid – but taking baby steps to overcome it. Courage is doing the opposite of what you think you are ‘supposed to do.’ Courage happens every day. It’s not always big gestures. Sometimes courage is just opening your eyes and deciding ‘today, I’m going to live.’ Because you know what? There are no guarantees that you are going to wake up tomorrow.” --JHB 2/3/13
Little did I know that in Feburary of 2012 I had to get ready to face my biggest challenge of my life. I would need to muster all my courage and to control my fear. Frank Herbert said it best in Dune…"FEAR IS THE MIND KILLER" (maybe the body killer as well!). More to come.