Courage – A Desert Wisdom Card

Mission San Cayetano de Calabazas

Crossing the Threshold © 2013 Bo Mackison

We gain strength, and courage, and confidence by each experience in which we really stop to look fear in the face . . . we must do that which we think we cannot. ~ Eleanor Roosevelt

When experiencing disappointment or loss, it is natural to seek a counterbalance, a positive action to balance the negative.

The counterbalance of fear is courage. Crossing a threshold into a dark unknown space can evoke fears. But even in the darkest of spaces, we have an ability no one can take away. The choice of how we react, what we think, what we choose to say.

The courage to imagine the otherwise is our greatest resource. . . ~Daniel J Boorstin

Even in the darkest of spaces, we can imagine a star-filled universe, the constancy of waves sweeping a sandy beach, a window with a view of a fruit-filled orchard. We can appreciate the light because we have an understanding of the dark.

Courage and perseverance have a magical talisman, before which difficulties disappear and obstacles vanish into air. ~ John Quincy Adams

COURAGE offers questions/reflections for journal, art prompts, and calls to action:

  • Crossing a significant life threshold takes courage. When the choice is happily anticipated, enthusiasm for the change lessens, though doesn’t alleviate, fear of the unknown. When crossing a threshold brings about unwanted or unplanned changes, courage and determination help balance our fears. Consider thresholds you have crossed – a job change, new responsibilities, a birth, a death, a move. How do you respond to changes in your life?
  • Once fear is identified as a limiting factor, action can defuse this emotion. Courage is answering the questions: “Why am I afraid?” “What can I do to face my fear?”
  • Though John Quincy Adam’s refers to the invisible “magical talisman” of courage and perseverance, it is often helpful to have a physical object as a reminder. One of the simplest talismans to create is a small rock inscribed with a message. Examine your environment for small rocks until you find a rock that feels right. Paint it a bright color or leave it natural. Use a permanent marker to inscribe the word COURAGE on its surface. Carry it in your pocket or place in your work area or bed side table as a reminder.
  • Practice courage in small doses by doing an activity that is not routine. Take a different route to work or the store. Shop in a local market rather than your nearby mega-grocery store. Eat a sack lunch on a park bench instead of eating from a fast food drive-through. Say hello to strangers, meet them eye-to-eye, and smile. These small acts may not seem courageous, but by moving out of your comfort zone, you will stretch the muscles that feed your courage.


Bo Mackison is a photographer and owner of Seeded Earth Studio LLC.  Bo is creating a deck of Desert Wisdom Cards for self-exploration and discovery using her photography and the Sonoran Desert theme – its myths and stories, cultures and history, and the desert’s remarkable natural beauty and resources.


About Bo Mackison

I'm a photographer, book-artist, traveler, naturalist, and creator of the Contemplative Creatives Journey, An Online Workshop and Community and Desert Wisdom Cards and Workshops. Though often not well known, I find the desert a welcoming place - a healing space. Its mysteries and gifts transformed me several years ago. Since that first encounter, I return again and again to fill my well in what most people think of as a desolate region. I'd love to share my desert discoveries and wisdom with you. Please subscribe to receive my five part mini email course The Gifts of the Desert. It's my gift to you.


  1. When fear so often guides me – reading this gives me the courage to take one step forward. Thank you for this today!

    • Bo Mackison says:

      Thank you, Marcie, for your comment. We all walk with fear, a part of the human condition, and the practice of courageous baby steps is a daily practice, but a most worthy one.

  2. Words to ponder, concepts to soak in. Thank you so much, Bo.

    • Bo Mackison says:

      I am learning so much by creating these cards, and I am so honored that others might find them helpful, too. Thank you, Debi.

  3. Lovely and courageous thoughts. I feel inspired just by reading it. Thank you for this.

  4. As you know, I’m crossing a huge threshold right now (one I didn’t think I’d be crossing, to be honest) so this is most welcome. Thank you. 🙂

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