Courage Quotes

“Moral courage is a truly splendid thing.” – Sally Armstrong, Canadian writer/activist/courageous advocate for Afghan women/girls (at an event about courage, sponsored by Greenpeace & held in Toronto on Feb. 13/14.)

“The paradox of courage is that a man must be a little careless of his life in order to keep it.” – G. K. Chesterton

“The trick is to keep exploring and not bail out, even when we find out that something is not what we thought. That’s what we’re going to discover again and again and again. Nothing is what we thought. I can say that with great confidence. Emptiness is not what we thought. Neither is mindfulness or fear. Compassion – not what we thought. Love. Buddha nature. Courage. These are code words for things we don’t know in our minds, but any of us could experience them. These are words that point to what life really is when we let things fall apart and let ourselves be nailed to the present moment.” – Pema Chödrön in the chapter ‘Intimacy with Fear’ in When Things Fall Apart – Heart Advice for Difficult Times (1997)

Happiness is a form of courage.” – George Holbrook Jackson

“Courage is contagious.”Janet McNeill (yeah, that would be me. ** Couple years later? Turns out I am probably just quoting someone. I thought I was being original!!)

“The courage we need is not the courage…the fortitude, to be obedient in the service of an unjust war, to help conceal lies, to do our job by a boss who has usurped power & is acting as an outlaw government. It is the courage at last to face honestly the truth & reality of what we are doing in the world, & act responsibly to change it.” – Daniel Ellsberg, Pentagon Papers whistleblower, in the documentary ‘The Most Dangerous Man in America

“I didn’t mean to be brave, it just happened when I panicked.” – Piglet (allegedly from a Winnie-the-Pooh story. It certainly sounds very Piglet-ish!)

“Courage is very important. Like a muscle, it is strengthened by use.” – Ruth Gordon

“What would life be if we had no courage to attempt anything?” – Vincent Van Gogh (1853-1890)

“Great things are done more through courage than wisdom.” – German proverb

“May the world’s feast be made safe for women and children. May mothers’ milk run clean again. May denial give way to courageous action. May I always have faith.” – Sandra Steingraber in Having Faith: An Ecologist’s Journey to Motherhood

“Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes courage is the Quiet Voice at the end of the day saying, ‘I will try again tomorrow.’” Mary Ann Radmacher

“There is fierceness at work here. There is no other explanation for the raw courage and heart displayed over and again in the people who march, speak, create, resist, and build. It is the fierceness of knowing we are human and intend to survive. To witness the worldwide breakdown of civility into camps, ideologies, and wars, to watch the accelerating breakdown of our environmental systems, is harrowing and dispiriting.

But immune systems do fail; this movement most certainly could fail as well. What can help preserve it is the gift of self-perception, the gift of seeing who we truly are. We will either come together as one, globalized people, or we will disappear as a civilization. To come together we must know our place in a biological and cultural sense, and reclaim our role as engaged agents of our continued existence. Our minds were made to defend ourselves, born of an immune system that brought us to this stage in our development and evolution. We are surfeited with metaphors of war, such that when we hear the word defense, we think attack, but the defense of the world can be truly accomplished only by cooperation and compassion. Science now knows that while still in diapers, virtually all children exhibit altruistic behavior. Concern for the well-being of others is bred in the bone, endemic and hardwired. We became human by working together and helping one another. According to immunologist Gerald Callahan, faith and love are literally buried in our genes and lymphocytes, and what it takes to arrest our descent into chaos is one person after another remembering who and where they really are.” – Paul Hawken in Blessed Unrest – How the Largest Movement in the World Came into Being & Why No One Saw it Coming. <Pg. 165> More quotes from this book + a review link here

“Healing takes courage, and we all have courage, even if we have to dig a little to find it.” – Tori Amos

“Moral courage is a rarer commodity than bravery in battle or great intelligence. Yet it is the one essential, vital quality of those who seek to change a world which yields most painfully to change.” ~ Robert F. Kennedy, in a speech in Capetown, South Africa, June 6, 1966.

“There is only one courage, and that is the courage to go on dying to the past. Not to collect it, not to accumulate it, not to cling to it. We all cling to the past, and because we cling to it we become unavailable to the present.” – Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh

“I have learned to live each day as it comes, and not to borrow trouble by dreading tomorrow. It is the dark menace of the future that makes cowards of us.” – Dorothy Dix

“The most alarming sign of the state of our society now is that our leaders have the courage to sacrifice the lives of young people in war but have not the courage to tell us that we must be less greedy and less wasteful.” – Wendell Berry, quoted in Depletion and Abundance – Life on the New Home Front or, One Woman’s Solutions to Finding Abundance for Your Family while Coming to Terms with Peak Oil, Climate Change and Hard Times, Sharon Astyk, New Society Publishers, 2008.

“The world shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage.”  – Anaïs Nin

“Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear, not absence of fear.” Mark Twain

“The most important lesson the struggle taught me and my friends is that no one is endowed with remarkable courage. But courage is another name for learning to live with your fears. Now, after eighteen years and the Chilean Truth Commission, courage has again evolved a new definition: the guts not to give in to easy justice. To live within the confinements of reality, but to search day after day for the progressing of one’s most cherished values. Merciless. Accountable.” – Chilean philosopher & activist, José Zalaquett, who served on the Chilean Truth Commission, quoted in Country of My Skull – Guilt, Sorrow & the Limits of Forgiveness in the New South Africa, by Antjie Krog (pg 32). Posting on courage, apathy & evil here

“An individual can resist injustice, but only a community can do justice.” – Sanctuary movement leader

“When the forms of an old culture are dying, a new culture is created by a few people who are not afraid to feel insecure.” – Rudolph Bahro

“Any fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius – and a lot of courage – to move in the opposite direction.” – Albert Einstein

“Be COURAGEOUS! It’s the only place that isn’t crowded.” – Sign in Body Shop “Bored” Room

“When I dare to be powerful, to use my strength in the service of my vision, then it becomes less important whether or not I am unafraid.”Audre Lourde, 1934-92

** A posting here called ‘Courage, Apathy & Evil’