Eps 3: The Human Need for Bravery

Some cool air is brushing along my skin. I hear bicycles passing behind me. By the sound of it the last one had a hipster on it. I can tell. I can recognize the sound of a racing bike and only hipsters ride racing bikes. A smooth beat is coming out of the speakers. I am spending time in the Coffee Company close to my house because I thought writing in a coffee place would give me inspiration. The sounds of Amsterdam soothe me. I see a cool dog in front of me, I am guessing a combination of a German Shepherd and something else.


Life is presenting itself in a pretty smooth way. Then something happens and it makes me think about a dream I had this morning and something that happened yesterday.


This morning I woke up after a strange dream. I was in some sort of hotel and working in the lounge. I stood up to go the bathroom and when I came back the Dutch queen was in my seat, talking to her son, the current king. Some sort of bodyguard tried to keep me away from them but I was able to explain that they were at my table although they were welcome to stay. They were clearly annoyed and ignored me completely even though I was trying to be polite and nice. I remember that I tried to say something thoughtful about the death of her son, his brother. Prince Friso was caught by an avalanche while skiing with a buddy and remained in a coma ever since. He died about a year and half later, in August 2013 at the age of 44. Last Christmas I went on a short snowboard trip with a good friend and we were fortunate enough to have one beautiful powder filled morning on our last day. On the same powder day Michael Schumacher hit a rock while skiing off piste in a resort 25 kilometers from ours.  I thought of him yesterday when I heard he is back home but still very much a vegetable, only with a 15 person medical staff. Today I spoke to an old friend who was once semi-famous and nowadays lives in a clinic for recovering alcoholics.


But I wasn’t going to write about this at all. I was just hanging out in a coffee bar, describing the sounds, partially hoping and partially trusting the inspiration would come if I connected to the present moment.


Then I received an email and for reasons of procrastination I felt an immediate need to open it. At least I wouldn’t have to worry about what to write for a few minutes.


To my disbelief I find an agonizing letter. A friend of mine is writing to her friends from the psychiatric ward of a hospital somewhere in The Netherlands. What she was sharing with us was a horrible story of a C-section that should never have happened that lead to a series of consequences, ultimately causing her to collapse with PTSS (Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome).


Long story short: during her pregnancy of her second child her gynecologist convinced her into having a C-section. But labor had started before the planned delivery date. Even though she already had a cervical dilation of 8 cm the doctor decided to have an emergency C-section. This decision had a devastating effect on her, as we know now. Psychologically it felt awful not to be able to finish the birth that already had started, physically the damage to her body was way more serious than she ever had expected. Pain made breast-feeding very difficult, something she had been looking forward to so much.


It was also a story about not being seen, not being taken seriously, fear, intuition being overruled by so-called rational decision making and a particular cynical side-story of a recent article wherein journalists reveal the ‘pushing’ of C-sections because it is a particularly lucrative surgical operation. According to her current doctor there was 0 medical indication for a C-section in the first place and she could have delivered her second daughter the natural way and without complications if she would have been given 15 more minutes more.


Life can take such unexpected turns and it doesn’t matter if you are born in a privileged royal family, are an amazing F1 champion or have model looks. It brings up many thoughts. Do I live in a meaningful way? Am I spending my time wisely? What if I get hit by a car tomorrow? Did Shumi and Friso tell their wifes and children that they were loved before they went skiing that day? I have no idea; I don’t know these guys. I hope so, though.


I always come back to the importance of being able to express ourselves genuinely. Which has everything to do with overcoming fear and developing the courage to create an intimate connection with our feelings. If death or disaster catches us by surprise at least we can look back on a path of honesty and integrity. And I think honesty is reflected just as much in the little things as in the big things. How different would the world be if nobody would shy away from tenderness?


My friend is suffering from the idea that she betrayed her body and her child by agreeing with the C-section. I feel she wished she had the courage and the clarity to trust her gut feeling instead of letting a doctor cut in her. But she reclaimed her courage by sharing her story. And if I know her well enough she will keep sharing her story and will at one point contribute to the decrease of the number of women having to go through the ordeal she went through. May her wound give birth to a warrior. May her crusade to heal her own heart heal many others too.


To be kind to self and others we need to develop some bravery. Let’s make an effort; life is short.



This is episode 3 in a series of 100 blog posts that will be published daily during the 100 Day Warrior. All posts are written by Atalwin Pilon, founder of Basic Goodness and creator of the 100 Day Warrior, a unique program around physical strength, inner wisdom and meaning. For requests for motivational speaking, in-company workshops, online coaching and mindfulness training click here. If you would like to join our international community of brave and inspiring human beings or just follow this blog and receive updates, please click here of sign up on the right side of the page. Atalwin specializes in coaching smart and creative people, both groups and individuals. If you are interested in a free coaching session click here.

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