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Virtuous thought, words and behavior result in a natural ability to:

  • Think wisely, be grateful and feel joy,
  • Live with inner peace and faith,
  • Have reverence for all peoples and all life,
  • Be motivated by the desire for purpose and meaning,
  • Forgive injury and, most of all,
  • Laugh and find humor in this very imperfect life on Earth!

Read the Courage Scroll and  notice the relaxing effect.

How to Use the Virtue Scrolls

Life is not a problem to be solved, it is a mystery to be lived.
-Soren Kierkegaard

READ THE SCROLL: When we nourish our thoughts with the best, we can develop new and better habits of thinking, speaking and behaving. For effective cognitive restructuring, you can use the descriptions in the Virtue Scroll to learn what your thoughts, words and actions look like when you are true to a virtue. Read the Virtue Scroll for at least a week or a month daily – in the morning and before sleeping.

RETROSPECTION: In the evening, read the Virtue Scroll and then think backwards through your daily experience. Holding the virtue in mind, for example, Patience. Observe when you had an opportunity to be patient. Consider how patiently you responded to people and experiences in your thoughts and words and actions that day. Did you express patience? Could you have been more patient? Are you more or less patient than you had thought you were? How do you feel when you’re patient?

LOG THE DATA: Jot down a plus or minus on your Virtue Log for each event in the day. Do this without judging yourself—judgment and criticism are usually not constructive. Be accurate, keep to intelligent observation like a scientist taking data in an experiment. Over time, you will see permanent improvement.

MAKE NEW HABITS: As each day comes, you will find yourself becoming more conscious of your possible choices to think and behave with the virtue you’re studying. With some days of practice, you will move from awareness into acting on your new insights and ideas and the virtues will naturally become second nature for you. You will usually gain a sense of power for good because you made the choice and decided on the action.

As you think back through your day, place plus marks and minus marks in your virtue log or your journal for the day.
Read a Virtue Scroll twice a day for a week and watch your pluses increase and your minuses decrease!

INSTRUCTIONS: To practice and gain a virtue, read your scroll once in the morning and once before sleeping for a week. For synthesis into your thoughts, feelings, words and actions, use each scroll for at least 21 days. Email Heather for the other 11.
You are invited to copy and share these scrolls.  The Courage Virtue Scroll is dedicated to Linda Willer.


Courage is trusting my strength . . . with good cheer.

Courage is acting in accord with my integrity.
I stand up patiently for what is right.

Courage is making decisions and taking action for what I know is right even when I don’t want to or when I’m afraid. I become tenacious and resolved. I choose wisely. When I am confronted, I remain quiet and relaxed. I observe their concern and discern their anxiety. I use reason to respond with the best words or actions. I don’t let myself get ‘hooked’ by fear, by self-doubt or by a need to control. My courage ensures that I focus on understanding and resolution. Courage keeps thoughts clear and focused. Guilt and shame deplete me. Even when someone I respect criticizes me or confronts me, I remind myself that I am not mean, I am simply a good person. I am true to myself and my values. I may need to change my behavior. I am willing to consider that.

I am courageous and wise when challenged.
My courage calls me to act from integrity.

My inner strength doesn’t desert me. I act in truth and honesty. My integrity is there even when I feel alone or lost. I face my fears and sorrows with nobility. I feel strong when I stand for what is right. I am willing and cheerful. Even when I’m tired, discouraged or frustrated, my courage keeps me from giving up. I remain firm. I stand tall. I can always take the next step. I can always smile.

I face my fears with nobility.
I am willing and cheerful.

When I am ready, I take action to improve myself. My courage serves me best when I need to redecide. Like the noble person who says “no,” to the next delaying tactic, snack, cigarette, scathing word, or depressing thought, I say “no” to the old habits that I want to extinguish. As I sense the internal impulse to reach for a crutch, to strike back with an insult or to dwell on a negative thought, I stop. My courage calls me to act from my integrity. I choose the high road.

My courage impels me into positive change.
I respect myself and others.

When I examine my patterns, I logically look at my humanness. I am strong and honest enough to acknowledge the old patterns I want to end or replace. Courage allows me to know and accept my shadow side. Wisdom helps me understand my direction of learning and expansion. I maintain a positive attitude with determined morale. I am courteous. I act and think in ways that express respect toward myself and others.

I patiently stand up for what is right.
I am true to myself.

©1995 by Heather Carlile    214-636-5889


Heather has written a scroll for each of the Twelve Great Virtues. Contact her if you are interested in receiving other Virtue Scrolls, a Virtue Log or scheduling her to teach them individuallly or to a class.

The Twelve Great Virtues: Charity, Courage, Devotion, Discernment, Patience, Forbearance, Humility, Kindliness, Efficiency, Precision, Sincerity, and Tolerance.

At the request of the 113th Combat Stress Control Unit in Afghanistan:

Download: Mini Courage Scrolls for Your Pockets

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with love from Heather


  1. I am thrilled to receive this request from an Army soldier in one of the CSC (Combat Stress Control) units:

    “Hi Heather,
    I was one of the social workers on Col. Rabb’s team when you presented your brief.
    I have been using your grief model a lot and was wondering if you had a website I could access some resources?
    Also, we pass out a lot of your courage & were wondering if we could get some to pass out to soldiers?”

    Yes, Captain Schlaudecker, I am honored to help you in any way. Here is the Courage Scroll in several formats for you to print.
    Go to the Grief Recovery page for the Grief Model.
    Let me know if there is anything else I can do to give you more materials.
    I always send you my kindest wishes,

  2. Heather,
    I want to thank you again for sharing your Twelve Virtue Scrolls. Since I first saw them 14 years ago, I have used them in my life and my practice. Instead of making the traditional New Years Resolution, I will choose a virtue as my growth “focus” for the year — ha!
    Once I had to use Patience for two years in a row!
    I also use all the scrolls as assignments or encouragements for my client.
    Your gifts of the scrolls have truly made a difference in my life and my clients’ lives.
    Many thanks,
    Barbara Armitage, LPC-S
    Plano, TX

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