Describing the stages and characters in The Hero’s Journey – relevant to your life: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vY7RcGjPEmw&t=240s
The integrity of our return, uninhibited.
In myths, the hero returns with an elixir that transforms.
In reality, no magic potion, no twirling wand, no fairy dust, no new age incantation will give results.
And yet, we tingle with excitement realizing our transformation has taken place. It is real.
There is no greater story than coming to know your own self.
It’s the greatest story since the beginning of time.
We return to the village to encourage those yearning to experience The Quest of Living.
We tell them, “Go.”
Photo Credit: Julius Gwyer, http://www.thephotographic.com
So we return to our village living the duality of our quest.
Sages will then point out to us:
We are singular entities each on our own journey and yet, we are part of the village.
Worldwide, we share with everyone the fact that we are each on a quest of living.
Recognizing this shared spiritual blood with all people, our differences disappear.
Mightier magic than any Merlin is the impact of understanding what the prophets have been trying to tell us – we are one.
“We are all just walking each other home.” Ram Dass
Greek mythology symbolized the stage of Resurrection with the Phoenix bird, destroyed by fire, rising from the ashes of its enemy …
In today’s version of the resurrection: The hero emerges from a death scene and triumphant music swells in the background. The camera zooms in to show us the confident gleam in the hero’s eye.
The Ordeal, will not be the death of us.
Whether we hearken to the Phoenix Bird or the Cool Black Dude …
We are the rise from the ashes.
“And they lived happily ever after.”
The Ordinary World did not become perfect while we were away on the journey. The neurosis, flaws, habits, desires or addictions (our own or others’) are still there.
The Road Back will not be this smooth …
Family, friends and coworkers may not welcome the new you.
Who will be the butt of their jokes if you are sober?
Who will shoulder their anger if you quit the role of appeaser?
Who will be their crutch if you follow your ambitions?
On the road back, Doubt walks beside us and asks, “Was it really worth it?”
Revenge appears and says, “Take me.”
Except we can’t take both Revenge that inflicts suffering and Rewards that give grace.
If we take Revenge we drop the Rewards.
Drop our Rewards and we reset the journey.
Our story, “Once Upon a Time …” is stalled until the inner journey of character mirrors the outer journey of deeds.
We see the immortal characters of Scarecrow, Lion and Tin Man being given their rewards by the Wizard of Oz.
The timeless fact in this story is what the Wizard of Oz tries explaining to these three characters and the message to us:
No one gives us a reward. We claim what has been ours all along.
It is a defining moment, a paradigm shift, if only we will reach beyond the role of comic relief and listen.
We must grasp who we truly are.
The journey is a means of forging our outer Self while the inner Self rids the dross of pretense.
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 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 that our greatest efforts, prayers and plans are not enough to obstruct 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.
“Either define the moment or the moment will define you.” Walt Whitman
At this crux we are reborn. We define our Self.
P.S. The wife of King Edward III, Philippa of Hainault, intervened and spared the lives of The Burghers of Calais.
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 likely as Santa coming down the chimney.
Is there adversity? Yes.
Characters in our life to cause havoc? Yes.
Natural disaster, economic downturn, disease? Yes.
But no evil power.
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.
Dread becomes leg irons.
We avoid the solitude that nature offers.
Doubt locks doors.
We work rather than attend a celebration.
It’s true … We can be “our own worst enemy.”
Trapped within a cell of our own making.
Courage turns the key.
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 richer with wisdom 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 face our fear and find the answer for the next stage of our journey.
Dare we take responsibility and 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.
Avoid the cave and we are denied the rights and riches of our authentic Self.
Avoid responsibility and we become a bastard in our own life.
“What do you bring to a knife fight?”
A trickster wins by wits not brawn.
If you don’t have a cool cloak, it’s OK.
Eleanor Roosevelt, in her grandma guise of pearls and orchid corsage, is also a Trickster.
An official comments on Eleanor, “Never have I seen naivete and cunning so gracefully blended.”
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 those of us raised with a strong work ethic and we must fight “fair and square” being a trickster feels like cheating.
Get over it.
There are times we need to be a Trickster.
Peter Pan was determined to keep his shadow.
We want 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, and obstruct 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.
Our shadow at inception is Desire.
Desire dares us to experience Creativity, Imagination, Individuality, Beauty, Ingenuity, Expression, Inspiration.
With Desire we are exuberant, full of life.
Our shadow Desire keeps us young forever.