top of page

The Courage of the Bushido

The Bushido is the code of conduct used by the Japanese samurai. From this philosophy, Stephanie Russell writes a book called One Flash of Lightning: A Samurai Path for Living the Moment. Among many ideas the book proposes, I want to explore what it means to have courage. Is courage the act of doing something death-defying or heroic? Is courage having the ability to do a selfless act? Russell says that the Bushido would exercise courage by “respond(ing) to what is needed, right now... Some days it is all about finishing a dull chore, or apologizing to someone you have injured. These too are among the small acts that heal a piece of the world.”

Based on this perspective, a life of courage could simply mean facing the events of the day. They are not stories told in fables or novels, but actions that make meaningful connections with others. For some, being courageous is simply getting out of bed and making breakfast. For others, it is sending that text message to your loved one and swallowing one’s pride by saying “I’m sorry.” Acting courageously can even mean accepting an apology when it would be easier to reject the person who reached out. 

Regardless of how one exercises courage today, consider where you stand in the experience. Is there a part of you that knows you need to act? Is there a piece of you that holds forgiveness and freedom for the person who needs to speak to you? Can your actions make a difference in your workplace or business you regularly frequent? With this in mind, take a step into courage and take action in healing the world around you.


Lou Lim is a licensed mental health counselor and registered expressive arts therapist (REAT) with a master's degree in Expressive Therapy and Mental Health Counseling from Lesley University. He is a member of the International Expressive Arts Therapy Association and on the committee for REAT credentialing. He has 13 years of experience in counseling and expressive therapy working with children, adolescents, teenagers, adults, and retirees.

Thank you for your interest in our Monday Mental Health Moments. Join our mailing list for a weekly newsletter on various mental health topics, and information about upcoming groups or workshops. No spam, we promise!

Recent Posts

See All

Reducing the Stigma of Mental Illness

One of the biggest barriers to people seeking attention for symptoms of mental illness is the stigma associated with mental illness. Feelings of shame magnify the suffering people are already experien

In Solitude

“In solitude we discover that our life is not a possession to be defended, but a gift to be shared.” - Henri Nouwen. This quote was given to me as part of a set of proverbs to display in my office at

Turn of Seasons: A New Beginning

Even though the transition into fall comes near the end of a calendar year, there’s something about the change in seasons that feels like a new beginning. People are settling into new apartments, send


bottom of page