The Profoundly Courageous One Degree Shift


By Faye Bird, Guest Contributor

Your body is the ship, and your life is the journey.

Now, I know sometimes you feel lost. I know sometimes you wonder if the waves that beat against your sides will ever release your from their tumultuous path of destruction. I know sometimes you ask yourself if it would be easier to simply let the crashing tides carry you far, far away from here.

I know sometimes you fear that you’ll live forever in this in between, this life of solitude on your ship as you ceaselessly grasp for tethers, trying to escape from this world where you feel you cannot be reached, or loved, or known, or saved.

I know sometimes you question if the currents will ever guide you home.

What if I told you that the answer was not in the keeping your eyes locked onto the violent waves of your sea, for you already know the pain they are capable of.

What if the answer was not in learning the damaging nature of your tides any longer, for you have learned all you have to learn from them just by surviving into the present, right here and right now.

What if the answer was simple? What if the answer was clutching your wheel with white knuckles, with the ocean’s cold salt water permeating into your bones, and steering your self, your ship, your body, and your life just one degree?

And what if I told you that after many many thousands of miles, after many many thousands of breaths and days and rising suns, that your ship would be somewhere so vastly far from where you had always expected it to be destined for?

What if it is in this one degree shift, that you can save your own life?

See, our lives, our ships, our bodies and minds and souls, are all exactly where they are, in any given moment. The minute we lie to ourselves and pretend we are somewhere far from where we are is the minute that we are overcome with a storm of darkness, of discord, and of disconnection with our truth.

We must realize that it is in this very moment, no matter what storms plague us, no matter how relentless the barrage of gales may be, no matter how cold and exhausted we undoubtedly are, we still have the courage to shift our ships just one subtle yet profoundly courageous degree.

I have thought long and hard about what this degree of mine will be, and have come to the realization that my degree is in the letting go.

The letting go of the belief that no longer serves me, the belief that keeps me stuck in the who-i-used-to-be rather than the who-i-am-yearning-to-become.

The belief that I deserve to hurt for every second that I am alive; the belief that my life is a worthless mistake that must be compensated for and punished.

So, I grasp my wheel. I turn my eyes from the crashing dark waves that lulled me into hopelessness for too many nights, and change my course.

I leave this belief to rest, and instead I believe I am real, I am a soul filled with wisdom and sacred truth, I am a window into infinite wonder and change, and I do belong. I belong here, alive, free of this old thread of darkness that has stayed woven into my heart for much too long.

And yet even with this shift I am not anywhere yet near calm waters. My ship is still reeling from unrelenting walls of surf, I am still fearful of the waters below. But, I am no longer headed for a continuation of that old darkness, I am setting a new course.

Degree by degree, we change our endings. With time and patience and an unending fight, we build our new harbors and tether ourselves and our ships to a life we have never before known.

Degree by degree, we leave our past selves behind and embrace the truest selves we can be; the beings we are when we hold both our present and our future selves with the utmost grace, while still carrying with both pain and gratitude the lessons our darkness has bestowed upon us. When we are integrated, when we are whole. Whole, just as we have been all along.

So, my dear friends. The time has come. What is the shift you know so wholly in your heart that you need to bring about?

What is the belief that is still stealing away your breath, leaving you incapable of moving forward?

What is the piece of your darkness that you need to relinquish? What is the piece of your darkness to which your soul cries “let go”, “let go”, “let go?”

And how, today, will you begin that shift? How will you being the turning of your ship, your being, and your life, to use this small movement to bring about the beginning of the truest freedom?


About Faye Bird
My name is Faye; four letters, a single syllable, but I am on a journey to become so much more. I am 20 years old, living in the California Bay Area, and after many dark years lost in the depths of anorexia, from which I did not believe I could ever survive, I am now a soul rediscovering what it means to feel whole, to find worth and purpose, and to accept my whole being as all that I am. Through words, yoga, art, volunteer work, and connection, I am cultivating the pieces of my being once again, and am so honored to have the opportunity to share my words here today. Keep on keeping on. Always. 

Read more of Faye's brilliant writings on her blog, The Art of Becoming.