Allies Along the Way ~ The Quest of Living ~ Post 11 of 24

Lion, Scarecrow, and Tin Man – A classic portrayal of Allies for the Hero
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And yet …
Lion is having another meltdown.
Tin Man needs oil again.
Scarecrow is on fire.

Good grief this is annoying.
You are on a journey and it’s important. So, do you …

Tell Tin Man, you’ll help him when you return.
Warn Scarecrow he should carry his own damn bucket of water.
And for tearful Lion, you just shouted at him, “Get over it!”

How we treat allies is often our blind spot.

The ends does not justify the means.

The delusion of the finish line being the purpose of our journey will be our downfall.
The secret Holy Grail, for a hero’s journey, is character. Anything else is a mirage.

Personal note: However, it’s lovely when Allies bring dark chocolate to share.

Meet the Mentor ~ The Quest of Living ~ Post 10 of 24

In fairy tale stories, Jiminy Cricket is a mentor.
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In reality, mentors are often hidden in history. Three examples worth knowing:

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Standing up to Russian officials this Polish father lost his teaching job and a home for his family. This man, singular for the 1800s, supports his daughter to study science. You won’t recognize his name, Vladislav Sklodowski, but you know his daughter, discoverer of radium and 2 time Nobel Laureate, Marie Curie.

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This is a stepmother who defied her husband. His son loved books and time to read. But the father, cruel and demanding, said ‘no’ to his son. Lucky for us, the stepmother stood her ground to let her stepson read and learn. We know her stepson … Abraham Lincoln

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This teacher encouraged an insecure teenage girl to reach beyond her comfort zone and to challenge the status quo of society. The teacher, Mademoiselle Souvestre, is obscure in history. The world will know her student, Eleanor Roosevelt.

These are each mentor stories. They simply did what was right without knowing the historic outcome yet to unfold.

Here is the third category for our “Meet the Mentor.” No need to look far. In fact, no need to even look around.

It’s you.

We aren’t children needing a Jiminy Cricket pep talk. We can support our own dreams and the efforts of our journeys.

There is a grace that comes with simply doing what is right. Heedless to fame or glory, we become the mentor.

Tests in the New World ~ The Quest of Living ~ Post 9 of 24

Remember the Wizard of Oz? Dorothy is almost to the Emerald City, where she will get help. While crossing the Field of Poppies she succumbs to a spell and falls asleep.

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We aren’t Dorothy crossing a field of poppies. Instead we ‘fall asleep’ watching reruns on TV or surfing the web. The surrounding comforts of our life lull us into complacency.

You must stay conscious for your journey. The tests in the new world are training to be alert.

Tests are not meant to support who we are but to remove the masks we are wearing.

The challenges ahead touch on areas we have protected and resisted changing. (Which is what makes it a ‘challenge’ to change.)

So if you catch yourself in a grouchy mood and grousing, “I don’t have to deal with this.” … ahhh you are in the right place.

An example of a test for me in the New World of being a widow: I wanted to learn how to play cello as a means of settling into this world with new rules. Here’s a description of the beginning lessons:

The muscles in my arms and hands are taxed holding the bow and cello, elbows pointed outward, the concentration of balancing and holding a bow against the strings, all the notes are in the bass clef (which I don’t read as easily as the treble clef), and fingering down the neck of the cello is going up in sound not down like on a piano (which I am accustomed to) and where to put your left hand fingers on the neck, there are no fret marks (like my guitar) and a fraction off either way is the wrong note … drawing the bow across the string with just the right pressure, keep the bow at the proper angle in both relation to the the strings AND the bow hairs on the string need to be at a certain angle … by the time I have done all this, my right hand that is holding the bow is cramping and I am being told by my teacher to hold the bow loosely, don’t grip AND to relax my shoulders.

I haven’t even played a note yet.

This doesn’t include carrying my music books and cello into the music shop. I sit with 6 kids waiting for their lesson.

I am 58 and I feel like an 8 year old.

Yes, this is an outer experience and the outer growth would be me playing beautiful music on my cello. For inner growth, I thought it would be ‘learning cello filled new gaps in my life.’

But the inner growth was ouchingly more. I had to recognize that I am set in my ways. I protect who I have become and I really don’t like not knowing how to do something – especially in front of someone. I struggle with the critical voice in me that is telling me I look and sound – clumsy and stupid.

Being conscious of the struggle, I can shed old preconceptions (mask) of who or what I should be at ‘my age’ and to dismiss a kind of confidence that cuts me off from learning. This is where I pass the ‘test.’ It’s not about playing cello.

My example, or whatever example you might have, is merely a test. An ordeal is coming that makes the test look like a warmup exercise.

But first in the New World there are classic characters to recognize; Mentors, Allies, Shapeshifters, Enemies, Shadows and of course, a Trickster.

To the Readers: As I write these posts, I must be engaged in my own internal journey or the blog becomes flat rhetoric. Writing another biography or having a teenager in the house again would be so much easier.

Crossing the Threshold ~ The Quest of Living ~ Post 8 of 24

Cross the bridge or Traverse the threshold in front of you.

Make a decision, take the step. This is the Quest of Living.

What propels us forward?
Poverty … Power … Pride

Crossing for higher causes … justice and truth. No drama is pushing you.

This decision requires blind courage.

A force rises up from your being, energized by the moment of truth to answer, ‘Who am I?’

Like magic, results will materialize. There is power, wonder and glory in knowing we hold our own key.

In fiction this alchemy is symbolized as a wizard.

In life this alchemy is a leader.

CXR59R Abraham Lincoln 16th President of the United States

“Halt! Who Goes There?” ~ The Quest of Living ~ Post 7 of 24

The Beauty of Trolls

“HALT!”

A troll stops us from going any further with the simple question, “Who goes there?”

“Who” being the key word.

If you don’t know ‘who’ you are, you aren’t going anywhere.

It’s a shame we don’t see Trolls popping out from under a bridge demanding we answer this most basic question.

“Who am I?”

“Who would cross the Bridge of Death must answer me these questions three.”
The Keeper of the Bridge, Monty Python and the Holy Grail

Yes, a hyperbole but the point remains. The ‘Bridge of Death’ is forewarning of what is to come.

In our Quest of Living, the old Self will die.

Refuse the Call to Adventure ~ The Quest of Living ~ Post 6 of 24

Your phone rings. The caller ID shows “ADVENTURE.”

You don’t have to pick up. It’s a “Call” not a “Demand.”

Adventure won’t leave a voice message. No number is listed to call back.

Stay in the comfort zone … quell the searching spirit.

A journey is stalled while the questions “Who am I?” and “Why am I here?” are merely rhetorical considerations to be mulled over as you drink your morning coffee.

You can always keep thinking about life options, but you will always just be thinking about life, not living life.

And … If the answers came from staying in your Ordinary World, you wouldn’t still have the questions.

When “Who am I?” is a burning question and “Why am I here?” keeps you up at night … now is the shift to existential. For the sake of our existence we must seek the answer.

Two Points to Remember:
1. Leaving behind the Ordinary World is an easier choice when that world is full of pain. What is tough, is to leave an Ordinary World where we are comfortable and yet it no longer serves our ever expanding Self.

2. There is no impatient line behind us pushing us to make a decision. We think we have all the time in the world. We don’t.

If you previously didn’t answer the Call To Adventure, don’t worry, the call will come again.

Wait. I hear something.

Is that your phone ringing?

Call To Adventure ~ The Quest of Living ~ Post 5 of 24

When a “Call To Adventure” arrives, it’s a choice to say, “Yes.”

Realizing our old T-shirts from “Been There” and “Done That” don’t fit, Temptation suggests refusing the call.

Thrust from an Ordinary World, we are caught unaware, scanning an outdated map.

Recalling triumph in younger years, Self-Reliance reinforces its wall of security, while Confidence dictates that nothing will catch us by surprise.

Think again.

Walls block out the adventures that strengthen us. Walls prevent the expansion of our life. Walls make our living a coffin.

And implementing our own self-imposed challenges is a “Plan to Adventure” not a “Call.”

For Scrooge, the visiting ghosts announce his Call To Adventure.

In one night, not leaving his house, Scrooge changes the order of his life.

Scrooge could have said ‘No’ and there would be no story.

We can say ‘No.’ There will be no story.

Accepting a Call to Adventure keeps life authentic. It is the Quest of Living.

Meet the Herald ~ The Quest of Living

Meet the Herald
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Out of the blue. Unprovoked. Facts arrive.

A Herald delivers a message afterwhich life will never be the same.

Stop the Herald? Don’t bother.

A paradigm shift to your journey has already occurred.

An event:

A natural disaster:

A spiritual experience:

Silence. A frenzied brain rewires information.

Rant. A frantic reaction shouts, “That’s not fair!”

Scramble. A frightened ‘aha’ realizes, “My map is useless.”

How to live with the new precedent?

Resistance strikes a motherlode of excuses. Evasion digs a living grave.

Or … in the aftermath of the Herald …

Call for Integrity to burn off the fog of confusion.
You will see a compass.

Demand Courage to disband clouds of doubt.
The North Star is revealed.

“All growth is a leer in the dark, a spontaneous unpremeditated act
without the benefit of experience.” Henry Miller

Hero Life or Moment? ~ The Quest of Living ~ Post 3 of 24

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The media story of a hero is usually an heroic moment. The moment makes for a great 30 second clip on TV. Except …

The majority of us, especially as we get older, are not called to run into a burning building, shield a child from gunfire, or search enemy territory for a wounded soldier.

And even if we had that moment, it is only a speck within the millions of minutes we live.

So …

If we are hoping for a catastrophe in order to have an heroic moment, here is a quote by Henry David Thoreau:

“Most men lead lives of quiet desperation and go to the grave with the song still in them.”

We feel the clock ticking with a meaningless life long before we are dead and yet we know our human existence is the echo of the ever expanding cosmos.

How do we stave off Desperation without a constant feed of drama to give our day direction? We don’t want to go to our grave with regrets.

This Catch-22 is resolved with a mirror.

In our worthy dream to make the world, our homes and families a better place we gave priority to outer growth. We left inner growth (which is also the harder journey) relegated to a backburner.

If you have no inner journey, your Self becomes lopsided.

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The outer image of achieving new heights must reflect an equal inner image of reaching new depths. This balanced duality is the essence of having a hero life.

Feelings of ‘quiet desperation’ we can gratefully thank. This is the warning that we have simply strayed from our inner journey.

The glory of life, which seems earmarked for only the young, is truly for everyone at any age.

We don’t have to go to our death with ‘the song still in them.’ However, to pull the song ‘out’ of you and to live the song, you must revive the inner journey.

Helping us on this journey, a Herald shows up with a message.

“Meet the Herald” is next.
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Comments: And I would argue with Thoreau over the word ‘quiet’ desperation. Raucous, loud, obnoxious seems to be the updated version of adult desperation.

Your Ordinary World ~ The Quest of Living ~ Post 2 of 24

An Ordinary World is familiar and brings assurance.

And yet … our heart is restless.

Repeating the past is not only impossible, it’s pointless.

Ordinary Worlds of college, career, or kids have ended. Relics of the starry eyed teenage stage collect dust.

A new job, another cruise, or the French Cooking Class give only distraction, not direction. You are living the life you wanted, but a restless dissatisfaction is … palpable.

And when that person at the gym gives you another ‘think positive’ pep talk, this time you will respond, “F*** off.”

You are not suffering with depression and you don’t need a ‘midlife crisis.’

A shifting wind is stirring from an untold direction and you don’t have a map.

Returning to the well of existence you peer into the darkness. There is your image shimmering in the depths.

Listen.

Eternity is singing the ancient undersong.
“Who am I?”
A new chapter is starting. Only you can turn the page.
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Coming to this foreign vista is unsettling. It feels deserted at best, godforsaken at worst.
Good.
That’s how a new journey starts.
You can’t outgrow the Hero’s Journey.

Photo credit: Valiunic