Thursday, February 23, 2012

Two Kinds of Knowledge, both result in Courage

Last night 17 of us met at The Glass House to enjoy some fantastic wine and discuss Tip #2 for our Year of Courage. An interesting turn of thoughts given that most of our friends are indulging in hugs, chocolate and red candies to make the most of this heart filled month.

We, on the other hand discovered another gem for February. Our subject was that knowledge is key in our performance and peace of mind and I submitted that there are two kinds to embrace.

Practical Knowledge: This is the kind of understand that is deep inside us, gleaned from experience or study. To explain it plainly, think of a nurse who can move about her day without even thinking twice about its rhythm. She has administered a hundred IV's, given thousands of shots, taken innumerable blood pressure readings and for the most part, developed a keep sense of what to watch for and how it fits with the whole of her day. Her courage is subtle in these situation because of her Practical Knowledge. We each use this kind of know how daily based on our vocation and training. More of it in any work situation that seems fearful will result in more courage.

Visceral Knowledge: Ah, here's the one that we need more of and will fill in all the rest of the gaps when the practical knowledge is waning or non existent. It consists of the things felt in the heart and in the soul. I'm not necessarily placing this in the faith category, this is more about the things that give us the ability to keep moving forward. Sure, we have no idea what will happen in relationships, or what life has in store. Things end, people change, illnesses and tragedy take precious things from us. And I would guess that a feeling of fear comes from the fact that we don not have control over those things or their outcome. However, we can KNOW certain things and rely on their soothing properties in times of emptiness -- We know how good the sun feels on our faces after a cold night. We know that a hug from a friend makes everything feel possible, we know that time will pass and bring us either new opportunities or a chance to grieve and heal. We know that the face of a child is a window to heaven, and that the smell of a rose or the feel of cool grass under our feet reminds us that being human is a very special gift.

There is a story about Albert Einstein and his teachers aide who at the end of one semester notices that Einstein was administering the same test that he did the semester before. "Sir, I am sorry to bring this up but this is the same test you gave last year. Won't everyone have an unfair advantage given that your previous students have discussed their experiences with you?" Einstein smiled at the aide and calmy answered. "Yes, the test is the same, but you see, the answers are all different."

And so it is with us, as we struggle to control the uncontrollable, thinking that once we conquer one things it is done forever. Life is not that way, and that is why the Visceral knowledge is so important to courage. Be calm, let each day unfold and tell you her own secrets, which like you, change each day.

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