Return With The Elixir ~ The Quest of Living ~ Post 21

Returning with an elixir, a potion that transforms, is portrayed as magical. This final stage is when the hero brings home the rewards to be shared with the village.

In real life, without a flying horse, a hero’s return looks like this:

Transformed by a tour of duty, the soldier carries the Elixir of Responsibility. The magic potion bottle is the war medal tucked in his top dresser drawer. This symbol of courage reminds him every day of integrity and sacrifice for his family, friends and colleagues.

When a hero embodies the sacred vows “I do,” the Elixir of Love is a gift of security. The potion bottle is the wedding ring, symbolic to everyone of devotion and commitment.

Transformed by grief, a hero brings an Elixir of Grace. This gift of guidance sweeps away bitterness and shows the village a path forward. Mementos of a lock of hair, old photo or worn tee shirt are powerful potions.

Charles Dickens makes classic the Elixir of Generosity in his story, “A Christmas Carol.”

Scrooge waking up (literally and figuratively), rises from the ashes of his cheap and churlish ways, on Christmas morning.

Buying the fat turkey for the family dinner, Scrooge demonstrates his transformation and brings The Elixir of Generosity home. If Scrooge tried to return with the elixir by telling everyone he was generous they would add ‘phony’ to their list of character flaws for him.

The transformation is from effort.

The timeless appeal of Scrooge is … his story relays a truth we know.
With no sprinkle of fairy dust, no twirling wand, no mysterious incantation, like Scrooge, we can transform.

Fictional portrayals of magic, summoning energy in order to transform, are attempts to reveal the greatest story of all time:

The real magic is our awakening to the realization that our transformation is based on summoning our own energy.

We don’t need a genie.

Yes. It’s amazing.

And there is still a couple more things:

So we return to our village feeling the duality of our quest. We are singular entities each on our own journey and yet, we are part of the village. And in any village in the world, we share with everyone the fact that we are each on a quest of living.
Recognizing this shared spiritual blood with all people, the duality is dropped.
Mightier magic than any Merlin is the impact of understanding what the prophets have been trying to tell us – we are one.

And finally –
We return to the village to encourage those with ears to hear truth not evasion, eyes to see courage not excuses, and hearts yearning to experience The Quest of Living. We tell them, “Go.”

Photo Credit: Julius Gwyer,

Note to Readers: As we come to a close on this series, it has been more than a pleasure to have this means of bringing home ‘The Elixir of Courage’ to a village of readers.   

Before I write a final wrap up post, I invite you to email me ( if there is a particular comment or question you would like for me to address.

Yes – I will be writing another series, so stay tuned. In the mean time you might enjoy the stories of noble courage in any of the three biographies I wrote: Eleanor Roosevelt ~ Unleashed, Golda Meir ~ True Grit, Marie Curie ~ A Nobel Life. (Available on Amazon or here on my website)

Resurrection ~ The Quest of Living ~ Post 20 of 24

On the road back, the hero will die.

Like the Phoenix destroyed by fire, will there be a Resurrection from the ashes?

The Road Back catches us unaware and shatters any remaining expectations of what life ‘should’ be.

A Hollywood hero, looking sexy in spite of the sweat, uses his new rewards to overcome a final assault.

Voila! The Resurrection occurs.

Stepping out of big screen glamour and into real life there is no “Voila!” The death scene on The Road Back looks like this:

A whistleblower, with his reward of Integrity, survives the Ordeal of being fired. On The Road Back he finds divorce papers on the kitchen table. His wife wants status and money more than their marriage. Will he rise from the ashes of his home?

A soldier, surviving the Ordeal of war, returns home with the reward of Courage to find the status quo has changed. Adoring children have become independent. Will he rise with his Courage to accept his family?

A parent survives the Ordeal of addiction. On The Road Back she is hit with the attitude of her child. “So what. Where were you the last 15 years of my life?” Will the parent accept this harsh new reality?

There is no inspiring theme song that ensures a happy ending. Social media doesn’t know to make your story viral. There is no applause.

It doesn’t matter if anyone else knows. The power is in the fact that we know our own story.
Overcoming the death blow, the imagery of a rising mystical Phoenix becomes real. It is here we become authentic.

The Road Back ~ The Quest of Living ~ Post 19 of 24

“And they lived happily ever after.”

Not yet.

The Road Back will not be this smooth …

On the road back, Doubt walks beside us and asks, “Was it really worth it?”

Family, friends and coworkers may not welcome the ‘new’ you.
Who will be the butt of their jokes if you are sober?
Who will be their shoulder if you quit the role of appeaser?
Who will be their crutch if you follow your ambitions?

Revenge appears and says, “Take me.”

To take Revenge we must abandon our Rewards.

Drop our Rewards and we reset the journey back to a pointless Ordinary World because we just deserted the point of our journey.

Seize The Reward ~ The Quest of Living ~ Post 18 of 24

We see the immortal characters of Scarecrow, Lion and Tin Man being given their rewards by the Wizard of Oz.
It could be a defining moment, a paradigm shift, if only they will reach beyond their role of comic relief and listen.

A wizard can only honor what is already within you.

Here is a timeless fact in this fictional story, a defining moment, a paradigm shift. If only we will listen.

No one gives us a reward. We can’t be ‘given’ what we already have.

We must grasp who we truly are.
The glory of our existence is being the only creature able to consciously evolve. We human beings have the choice to take being human as far as we can.
Only through the journey do we acquire this Epiphany … again and again and again.
Like young Merlin we must seize the sword …

Bringing us to the paradox of the proverb:
“The reward is the journey.”

The Ordeal ~ The Quest of Living ~ Post 17 of 24

The French town of Calais was under siege by King Edward III of England (1348 AD).

King Edward offers to spare the starving French village if their leaders, the Burghers of Calais, will surrender themselves for execution.

Auguste Rodin, immortalizes the scene …

The Burghers must walk out from Calais bringing the keys to the city and wearing nooses around their necks.

An Ordeal alters the course of our life. We aren’t sure we will ever laugh, love, or live again.

An Ordeal can last months not minutes.
Ask the patient who has suffered with a long-term illness.

An Ordeal doesn’t just shake us to the core. It rips the core from us.
Ask the teenager who saw his friend die.

An Ordeal punches Justice in the face and cracks her jaw.
Ask the mother who must allow the abusive father his visiting rights.

It doesn’t matter we were playing by the rules of the game.
It doesn’t matter we were humble and never taunted the gods.

Crushed to concede our greatest efforts, prayers and plans are not enough to thwart an ordeal that devastates our life, we slump to our knees.

Anguish wrenches from us the scream, “That’s not fair.”
Deep in this Cave of the Ordeal, those words repeat, repeat, repeat.

This is not an echo, but the primal howl of ancient heroes, the death cry of our hope for what life ‘should’ have been.

Stripped of expectations, our naked Self will survive.

“Either define the moment or the moment will define you.” Walt Whitman
P.S. The wife of King Edward III, Philippa of Hainault, intervened and spared the lives of The Burghers of Calais.

Facing the Enemy ~ The Quest of Living ~ Post 16 of 24

This enemy …
Or this …
Walls rise, doors lock, shackles clamp down.
The enemy traps its mark.

Have we faced an enemy with these black arts?


A Diabolical Force plotting our demise is as probable as a basket from the Easter Bunny.

Is there adversity? Yes.
Characters in our life causing havoc? Yes.
Natural disaster, economic downturn, disease? Yes.
But no evil power.

So …

Is there an enemy?

How are we bound by walls, fetters and doors?

Distrust raises walls.
We pour a drink rather than pour out the truth in our heart.
Doubt locks doors.
We work rather than attend a celebration.
Dread becomes leg irons.
We avoid the solitude that nature offers.

It’s true. We can be “our own worst enemy.”

Trapped within the cell of our own making.

Our answer to “Who am I?” is the key.


Approaching the Cave ~ The Quest of Living ~ Post 15 of 24

We know we must enter.

In a movie, the hero looks up at the sun before entering the darkness.
In a movie, the hero stumbles forward into the unknown.
In a movie, the hero emerges wiser and ready for the next stage of the journey.

This isn’t a movie. This is real life.
The cave is inside us.
Deep within is where we find the wisdom for the next stage of our journey.

Dare we enter?

Or do we
resist dark challenges when the light from past experiences won’t apply.
stall with an array of excuses for why we don’t need to do this.
stop the quest of living before we are dead.

It’s our choice. No one is pushing us.

Forgo the cave and our dimension of authenticity dissipates.

Forgo the cave and we become an actor in our own life.

Tricksters ~ The Quest of Living ~ Post 14 of 24

“What do you bring to a knife fight?”
“A gun.”

A trickster wins by wits not brawn.
Traditionally we think of the Trickster as a type of enemy. However, ‘tricks’ as a tool of the good guy are a good thing. And if you don’t have a cool cloak, it’s OK.

Eleanor Roosevelt, in her pearl necklace and orchid corsage, is a also a Trickster.

An official comments on Eleanor, “Never have I seen naivete and cunning so gracefully blended.”

Trickster tricks:
Cut down an oversized ego ~~~~~~~~ Point out hypocrisy ~~~~~~~~~~~ Win with cunning
Exploit a shortcut ~~~~~~~ Tug on a mask ~~~~~~~~~~ Provoke authority figures
Challenge the status quo ~~~~~~~ Unapologetic for tactics

Do we dare to use this bag of tricks for the good of our communities? Can we thumb our nose at superficial social mores designed to keep people in their place? Point out hypocrisy? Exploit a short cut?

For anyone raised with the prevailing “fight fair and square” ethic, using the tools of a trickster is new territory.

We need to be a Trickster.

Shadows ~ The Quest of Living ~ Post 13 of 24


Peter Pan was determined to keep his shadow.


We like to keep our shadows too and respond, “That’s just the way I am.”

Being attached to our shadowy quirks will hamper, frustrate, impede, prevent, obstruct, and thwart our ability … to grow up.

Like Peter Pan, we don’t want to grow up.

And we add, “Everyone has a shadow.”


However, in the Hero’s Journey of coming home to our authentic Self, that Self has an original shadow, which is not akin to sin.

The shadow is Desire.

Desire dares us to experience Creativity, Imagination, Individuality, Beauty, Ingenuity, Expression, Inspiration.

Desire entices us to feel exuberant.

Desire keeps us young forever.


Shapeshifter: Spotting the Con Artist ~ The Quest of Living ~ Post 12 of 24

Conned, deceived, or bamboozled.

Shapeshifters create confusion.

The ‘Good Guy’ shifts to the ‘Bad Guy.’ And we didn’t see it coming.

How does that happen?

It’s not magic.

Look at the above photo.

The naive hero, believes the sham. Snow White, trusts that the apple is a gift.

The switch occurs. See it?

The apple shifts from gift to bait and Snow White backs away.

But a naive hero doesn’t want to see a sham and Snow White takes the apple anyway.
Until she ‘sees’ there will be lots of ‘apples.’

And before we get angry with Shapeshifters and say, “How could they do this to me?”
Let’s look at the ‘me.’
We see what we want.
If we really are that lion – a Shapeshifter won’t come near us.

It’s that simple.