Hi! I'm Carrien.

On Props, and Courage, and Finding Our Strength

Published 9 months ago • 4 min read


Writer, Parent Mentor, & Coach

When my oldest daughter was 14 months old she finally took her first independent steps. She tottered down the whole length of the hallway, the handle of a plastic bag grasped tightly in her chubby little fist, completely unaware that she was walking independently. She was convinced that the plastic bag was helping her stay on her feet.

She had been capable of walking on her own for quite a while before that. She had the leg strength and the balance and would toddle along confidently if she had a bigger person’s finger to grasp. But she was reluctant to try without someone to hold onto.

That silly plastic bag gave her the courage she needed to step out on her own. It wasn’t much longer before she realized she didn’t need it and walked confidently without anything to hold her up.

Sometimes the things that gave us courage in the beginning no longer serve us, once we are strong enough to go on without them, and we need to let them go.

Last week I tried to do a forearm headstand for the first time. I couldn’t even figure out how to get my arms in the right position. I was so used to doing headstands a different way. (The Yoga analogies will continue for a while my friends, because there’s nothing like training the body to help overcome the limits of the mind.)

At first I thought that maybe my shoulder muscles were too weak. But I played with it a little on my own later, getting used to the placement of my forearms, and what it felt like to be upside down with them in that position. I learned what muscles to engage. I used the wall to give me courage, to let me play with the new positions without worrying about falling over. Earlier this week, in morning practice, I was able to go up into that headstand, with the help of a wall to steady me, and then hold it without the wall for several minutes. Practice makes progress.

A few mornings later our instructor challenged us to try the head stand away from the wall, to trust ourselves and our balance well enough to see what we could do.

She offered us the option of working with partners. My partner has already mastered this kind of headstand, and was kind enough to guide me. She simply placed her fingertips on my hip to steady me, and offered her wrist to squeeze with my calves once I was up. And then I stayed. It felt easy with her there. After a while she left me to get her phone and take a picture. I wobbled. It was harder without her steadying touch. But I stayed.

Finding Courage

She gave me the courage I needed to do my first headstand in the middle of the floor, just as the wall gave me the courage to play with how it felt to be in that pose.

I was already strong enough. But I lacked confidence. I needed something to give me the courage to try my strength, to find out what I could do.

But the day will come when I no longer need a wall or a partner. Just as my daughter, now an adult, no longer grips a plastic bag when she walks, and only holds my hand because she wants to.

Eventually, I will be strong and steady enough that I can leave behind the thing that first gave me the courage to find my strength, to find my balance.

(Both in headstands, and all the other scary things I face in life.)

It would be silly to keep clinging onto it after that, to cling to the things that once made us brave after we no longer need them, when they no longer serve us.

It would be silly to try and cling to the past, to the way things once were, to the things that once made us feel safe, instead of squaring our shoulders and walking bravely into the new future that awaits us.

Maybe we don’t need those things anymore, and that’s why the time has come to move beyond them and to let go, to release the illusion of safety that they gave us, that made us feel brave, and to find the courage within our own hearts, our own abilities, and our own strength.

Some things in life are only meant to be for a season. We give our children a safe place to grow up, to grow strong, to gain confidence, and courage, but they aren't meant to stay with us forever. They won't always need to hold our hand in order to walk.

There are places and people that nurtured us, helped us grow, and gave us courage. Sometimes the next strong brave thing is move beyond them, to go out and explore further, instead of staying where it feels safe.

Is there something that you are clinging to? Something that makes you feel safe? Maybe it’s an old relationship, or place. Maybe it’s possessions, or a former version of yourself, a story you told yourself that isn’t true anymore, and isn’t serving your growth.

What would happen if you let it go?

Do you really need it anymore?

With Love, Carrien

PS. I offer one on one coaching via zoom. If you'd like to book a free discovery call please fill out this form and I'll contact you to arrange a time.

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Hi! I'm Carrien.

I help parents raise resilient children, without feeling overwhelmed, so that they can be brave to try hard things.

I'm a writer, parent mentor, and resilience coach. My passion for helping parents to protect their children and raise them to be resilient has extended to creating resources that have helped thousands of refugee and migrant families on the Thailand/Myanmar border through my work with The Charis Project. - I am also the mother of 6 amazing and rather resilient humans, who have managed to thrive in spite of their unconventional upbringing and being dragged around the world by their parents. - Join me here for words to heal and fill your parent heart and shape the words you give to your children.

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