Resurrection / Rebirth!

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The final stage of the Hero Cycle that we are exploring with this year’s themes is that of Resurrection / Rebirth. ‘The End’ is always a New Beginning!  Whether or not you believe in reincarnation (I do), we live out our lives in epic proportions, undergoing many cycles within greater Cycles as we spiral through our life experiences to reach the heights of our aspirations and fulfillment.

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With my research into life path mapping that I have conducted over the last fifteen years, I have discovered there are three primary types of Life Course Schemas or cultural models of a lifetime that are overlapping in our cultural outlook today. I call these Linear, Cyclic, and Seamless Life Course Models. I want to describe the Linear and Cyclic Life Course Models for you here.

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Linear Models are predicated on a long held view of the life course emphasized in developmental psychology and proposed primarily by Erik Erikson in 1950 (Childhood and Society). This model postulates eight developmental stages everyone passes though as they mature. (You can read about this also in Gail Sheehy’s book Passages and in her later, updated New Passages book). Many of us have been conditioned according to this Linear-stages or step-by-step model of a lifetime, but in today’s “post-modern” reality, this Linear model really does not hold up so well for most people. Instead of ‘one education, one job or career, one relationship,’nowadays most of us find ourselves needing to be flexible and to adapt to major interruptions of our plans as we go along.

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The Cyclic Life Course Model accounts for our need to adjust to life’s changes. I have found in my interview research that people who have experienced major, early life disruptions as a child such as from their parents’ divorce tend to have developed a Cyclic Life Course model on their own. Some will say life occurs in cycles like decades, seven year cycles, twelve year cycles or some other periodic cycle. These folks also say they do not experience or worry about “mid-life crises,” because as one cycle ends and another begins, they always have the opportunity to refresh and renew!

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images are from pixabay.com

So how about you? Do you hold to more of a LINEAR model of life, with set stages of development you aim to achieve? Or do you hold a CYCLIC view of life instead, remaining flexible and open to start anew when a cycle ends for another to begin? (BTW, You might hold instead to a SEAMLESS model, believing that life just happens and you can adjust to whatever comes your way.)

I invite you to contemplate and journal about a CYCLIC approach to your life. Make a timeline of major life events to see if you discover any sort of cyclical pattern there. If so, where are you at in your current cycle? Are you ending a minor or major cycle? Starting a new one? Or are you right in the middle of one cycle, giving your all as you develop your talents and relationships?

I welcome YOUR Comments and Story!

The Sea Turtle: Coming Full Circle

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The other day en route to work I listened to an NPR interview with a Chinese man about his experience as a “Sea Turtle.”  In China this metaphor refers to someone who leaves their country and family to travel overseas and then eventually returns. Compatriots who never left will test the returned ‘sea turtle’ to see how s/he has been changed by their exposure to foreign ways ‘across the waters’.  Will they still be loyal and faithful to their own kith and kin?

I like this metaphor, which can have other layers as well as the Chinese associations. The initial journey of the infant sea turtle is fraught with danger and hazards, as only one percent of a group of up to 600 or so hatchlings will even survive the crossing of the beach to reach the Ocean. When the mother sea turtle does return to build her nest and deposit her eggs, it is after from 20-50 years living alone, depending on the species, before reaching sexual maturity and mating.

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The mother sea turtle’s voyage brings her full circle, back to her exact beach of origin. One internet author remarks that the home beach of the sea turtle is “where the magnetic heart is.” Does she return to where she was a rare survivor in evolutionary hopes that her hatchlings might fare as well as she did?

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The Sea Turtle is a  metaphor that applies to my own coming ordeals and adventure as I am set to retire in seven months and I will be returning ‘Back East’ to the conditions I was born to, after nearly forty years ‘Out West.’  I return to bring back lessons and insights from all that I have learned, and will spawn services connected to my book about Life Path Mapping that comes out in March (Your Life Path, see right panel), and to complete additional books in the Life Paths series.

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Are you a SEA TURTLE?  What do you aim to spawn on your Return from your Oceanic journey of experience and maturation? Where is your home beach where you may build your new nest? How can you best provide for your own hatchlings?

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images are from pixabay.com

I welcome YOUR comments and stories!

Fruition!

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Ideation–Goal-Setting—Planning—Development/Learning—Trials/Practice—Implementation—Fulfillment–Fruition!  Such is the process of Creative Manifestation, and I must admit, I love it. There is no feeling more satisfying to me (right up there with sharing timespace with my pets and family and friends) than arriving at Fruition for some worthwhile, service-oriented project.

I say service, and that is important to me.  It is not only a PRODUCT that is generated through a manifestation process that lights me up, but to be worthwhile there must also be a SERVICE brought to fruition. The product must serve the whole in a positive, growth-enhancing manner; that lights my fire!

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My father (bless his Soul, I dreamed of him this morning) used to tell me: “If you’re going to be a ditch digger, then be the best darned ditch digger you can be!” Dad worked his way through college at Ohio State University just after serving as a bomber pilot in the Pacific in WWII by digging ditches for a telephone cable service.

I recall myself similarly working for college tuition over two summers as the sole farmhand for a farmer’s peach orchard and grape vineyards in New York state. Coming home at the end of a grueling, hot day in the orchard or dragging the vineyards on a tractor brought the same feeling of Fruition that I later associate with planning and implementing a seminar or public outreach service for my spiritual organization, and seeing my book, Your Life Path –with deep thanks to my agent, editor and publicist team!!–, going to production this week!

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images are gratefully from pixabay.com

I will be graduating (er, retiring) from full-time academic service as a professor this summer after teaching for nearly forty years altogether, and that will of course bring a major project to fruition.  I have accomplished what I set out to do over the past 25 years at my present post in many respects, and I will go forth still teaching but focusing full-time on writing and related services for a wider field of sharing. I intend for my final blog when I leave this post in Academe this June to be titled:

Mischief Managed!

What brings YOU to a feeling of Fruition or of successful Completion? What service project are you working on Now that will light YOU up again for the good of the Whole?

To me, this image of LIGHTING YOUR FIRE through bringing a worthy project to Fruition is apt: for Fruition lets us tap into that Holy Fire which empowers us to light the world through our service.

I welcome YOUR Comments and Story!

Better Ending Tales of Return

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Here’s a fun practice for this month’s theme of The Return (the eleventh stage of the Hero Cycle as we are framing it this year on the blog site):

Think of a film (or a novel, or myth) begging for a sequel that has not yet been produced. Write a synopsis of the sequel as you would wish it to be!

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One Better Endings movie-sequel tale I have in mind (which will appear in my book to follow Your Life Path, to be called Better Endings), is a sequel for the film Close Encounters.  I call the sequel “Mr. Neary Returns.”  What has Roy learned while away as an earthly ambassador with the alien race that whisked him off into the cosmos at the end of the first film? And what has happened to the earth Roy knew when he departed?

Roy returns, having hardly aged at all, to an earth in great peril of global nuclear annihilation.  He brings a wisdom based on a history of interplanetary species that have survived this great test, while most have failed.  He becomes a global ambassador for open dialogue and forgiveness, recommending a global federation that empowers cultural pluralism for the good of the whole.

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images are gratefully from pixabay.com

Now, writing Better Endings stories is part of a larger opportunity for “revisionist” envisioning generally.  The same “better ending” principle you can use to rewrite fiction or history you can also apply to reflecting on episodes or themes from your own life! (That will be the basis of the book to come…)

For now then, write a Better Endings movie or novel sequel. Try it! Let me know if you would like to share your story!

Happily Ever After

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Certainly one of the greatest elixirs is Happiness. After attaining our worthy goal, we achieve a degree of happiness which we can carry forward with us into the next ordeal and adventure. Probably most people would claim greater happiness—for themselves and for others—as a measure of success, whatever their endeavor.

What makes you happy in the deepest sense? I mean, not only in the moment but long-term? A child (or a pet’s) smiling face (or their playfully wagging tail or purr), a beautiful mountainscape or an Oceanside sunset: these bring a valuable though transitory happiness. They warm the heart and bring a smile. They reveal, I would say, a deeper state of intrinsic happiness. They reveal a harmony of Nature, an innocence of Spirit; breaths of fresh air, a tonic to the Soul!

Still, how can you expand your condition of happiness beyond the fleeting moment?

So I ask again, what could make you Happy in the grandest sense? Is it your job? (Stay then! Take it as far as you can!) Or your relationship(s)? Then Bravo/a to you! Or maybe it is your chosen environment, where you experience At Oneness with the All One? (More cosmic, loving power to you!!!)

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For many people, enduring happiness is yet an elusive goal. Achieving their ultimate happiness shall be a result of fulfilling their most ardent endeavors (or, it may be found in the very practice of those endeavors themselves). Many will gain their enduring happiness by serving others and/or producing good works; by fulfilling, that is, their sense of Purpose and their Mission for this life.

So now, what is your Purpose; what can you claim as your Life Mission?

As a personal example, my life mission inflects on several levels. I have a spiritual Mission, which I do not feel the need to share. On a practical level, I have always sought, in one form or another, to serve the Whole…that is, to embrace and express my own inherent wholeness as well as to serve however I can the greater Whole of the community, family, fencing team (e.g.), and the world in which I live. Like many, I have always strived to make a positive contribution—whether through teaching, sharing in general, through responsible service, or through writing/publishing.

“What difference does it make?”

“It doesn’t matter!”

These were my calls in the wilderness to God, my deep laments through at least the first five decades of this life. So then, I would try harder, work more.

Until, gradually, as on cats’ feet, the Process itself—e.g. of communicating, teaching, contemplating, writing, living—has become fruitful in itself, in the moment of Doing, Being, or Knowing.  I find that I am still very goal-oriented, yet now my goal and the process I engage with to fulfill the goal have merged as one focus; see?

With this transformational shift from a ‘product/goal’ to a ‘process’-oriented mindset, now that I check in with my Self, Happiness has set in!

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images are from pixabay.com

This is not to presume that I am always “happy” in the glib/ surface sense. That has never been my goal. Actually I can sometimes let things bother me now just as much if not more than ever before. This comes from my passion for advancing what is in process. Disruptions or interruptions of this forward arching flow can set me back, but only long enough overall now until I can accept and absorb the lesson (for there is always a lesson!), and move on.

What Is Your Life Mission?

My upcoming book that is announced in the right panel of this blog, Your Life Path, is my best contribution so far to serve the Whole. This book provides a complete/ original Life Path Mapping process with its chapter-ending self-discovery Tools. I have developed and practiced this approach over the last fifteen years, through interview research, analysis of results, producing a previous academic book on the subject, and—more importantly—through developing the embedded self-help Toolkit from applying the mapping and reflection process with large classes of students and with many individuals, as a “life path mapping” coaching approach.  It has been helpful for many and even deeply transformative for some.

The Your Life Path Tools can guide you gradually yet gently to review your past, to reconsider your present with regard to how you have reached where you are in life now; then to explore your values, your inner conflicts and challenges (from an archetypal psychological  perspective), and to reveal your deepest, most integrative goals. It leads you to express and embrace your Life Mission; then to claim your Life Dream and plan a fulfilling future course, beginning here and now, to live into the life of your dreams!

I do invite you to check out this book if it may serve you. You could pre-order using the url address in the right panel, either through Amazon (as a book or ebook), Barnes & Noble, or Indies. I will be offering a preview webinar series on Life Path Mapping by December (I will post about that as it becomes available).

And so, wherever your life path leads you to:

Go For It!

A Te Sante!

Be Happy!

Live Your Dream, Now!

I always welcome YOUR Comments and Stories.

Relationship Better Endings

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When I coach people through a Life Path Mapping process, during a reflective phase I ask them to consider how they have managed transitions in their lives.  For each major Turning Point they have identified with their life mapping, I ask them whether in retrospect they wish they would have done anything differently and, if so, what might have transpired.

Most life mappers tend to say they would not make any changes in their past decisions or choices, because of all the subsequent change that also would have occurred.  They have learned from whatever has happened, so why look back?  Yet, those who do entertain this almost taboo thought experiment find it illuminating because it helps them to focus on what really are their core values and long-term goals.

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Significant relationships often bring about Turning Points in our lives.  Entering a new relationship, with another person or with a pet or with new colleagues as you assume a new role in your career, opens many fresh opportunities for growth and development. It is like you have pressed a REFRESH button, although of course soon you are likely to encounter similar situations and challenges you have faced before. How will you approach this similar challenge this time?

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One way to ‘trouble shoot’ fresh relationships is to review your past.  Take stock of the strengths you bring to these new relations as well as the patterns of inhibitions or difficulties you have encountered before.

Here is a Better Endings journaling tool you are welcome to entertain:

Reflect upon a relationship from your life history that was never well resolved or that continues to be troublesome in some respects, or one that ended poorly.  Consider that situation as a STORY.  Now then, change that story.  Imagine and/or journal about and re-write the ending or a better resolution of that relationship. What might have happened or could happen differently?  

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images are from pixabay.com

(After my own reflections today): If you find on reflection that you feel there is nothing about your past relations that you COULD have changed (as that is how it seems they were meant to be), still you can look ahead and contemplate what changes you might make as you approach a new relationship or to improve your present relations.

The more attention you give to how YOU might improve your past relations, the better prepared you may be to go forward with a new attitude, welcoming the new opportunities before you!

I welcome your Comments and Stories!

Into the Woods—A ‘Better Endings’ Revision

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For those new to this blog, or as a refresher since I haven’t looked at this topic directly for awhile here, I am interested in the principle of BETTER ENDINGS.  In fact I have a book in progress about this principle, as it applies not only to literature or mythic constructions but also, and more importantly, to our own lives.

There’s a concept I have learned from Eckankar about working with dreams. If you are dreaming and you do not like what is happening in your dreamscape,  you can change the dream while you are in it as a lucid dream activity; or, immediately upon waking you can rewind the dream and change its ending in your imagination.  This may help you to release the stress associated with the situation encoded by the dream. (I recommend Harold Klemp’s THE ART OF SPIRITUAL DREAMING for many helpful dreamwork techniques.)

But here’s a plus factor: If you can become skilled at changing your nightly dreams, so too you increase your capacity to make changes in your day-to-day life, effecting BETTER ENDINGS! What IF…you had taken that job, stayed with or left that relationship, gone on that vacation? You can re-vision your past choices and attitudes to bring about better coping skills and to realign your Life Path with your most ardent goals.

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Our topic this month of The Sacred Marriage has lots of fertile grounds for ‘better-endering.’  Let me try my hand at a Better Endings rendering for the Sondheim play “Into the Woods”:

I love the play (and movie) Into the Woods’, but I do not like the bitter ending. Why does the baker’s wife have to fall off a cliff to her doom?  The guilty party in confusing her was the philandering Prince, whose charming charisma and political power allows him to believe he can take advantage of any woman in the realm, even forsaking the beautiful princess Cinderella whom he has gone to such great lengths to woo. No, I do not like this bitter pill of an ending, at all!

In my Better Ending for this fairy tale, the Baker’s wife lives on to raise her new baby with her faithful husband.  Cinderella comes upon her charmer of a husband trying unsuccessfully to woo his rival Prince Valiant’s Rapunzel, and Cinderella lets Prince Valiant know what she has seen. The two Princes have a swordfight.     In a final, mutual flourish stab, they pierce each other at the lip of that fatefull cliff the Baker’s wife had been slated for, and they both go toppling over to their deaths.  Cinderella, now freed from this sordid affair, is Queen! She invites Rapunzel to be a story teller for the realm, and together they effect feminist reforms for their Peoples.

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images are from pixabay.com

So, there you have it, a Better Endings retelling for Into the Woods that aims to address the true meaning of The Sacred Marriage.  We marry our values, our integrity. This serves the Whole.

Is there a story about marriage or partnership—either fictional or in your own life—that you believe could benefit from a Better Ending?  Envision it! Write it down! Make the relevant changes!

I welcome your Comments and Stories.!

Revelations Can Carry You Forward

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The last few months I have been focusing a lot in these posts on the trials and descent process necessary in order to embark well on one’s journey of self discovery and fulfillment. Of course that is exactly what is needed. A Quest, to be worthwhile, advances you toward achieving your deepest aspirations so you can express your unique talents and potentials.

This is the High Adventure of the Soul of which Joseph Campbell speaks. The initial threshold guardians, descent and trials are to help you to clarify your Goal, to claim your mission and purpose, and to develop your resolve. You have crossed the first threshold into the adventure itself, but you must illuminate the passage ahead so that your adventure will not simply be wandering through a maze without a centered destination to reach. The revelations from your initial trials are essential. They allow you to refine your goals.

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I think of Castaway as offering an excellent example of the value of trials and revelations. Chuck, once marooned on his island, encounters many failures in his early attempts to escape until the realization after testing a possible suicide ploy that also fails, that he must face up to the immense challenge and strive actively to survive, opens the possibility, this reader would say, of his ultimate success in leaving the island and sacrificing his solitude there to return to his social arena of life. Chuck Noland learned he could survive on his own yet that was not enough to be truly living. The metaphor of the angel wing sail that let him finally overcome the tidal forces imposing his solitude served literally to deliver the character from his prison of isolation even while that isolation itself brought invaluable lessons about the meaning of life itself.

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A similar narrative framing the import of trials and revelations is found in The Life of Pi. There the psychological drama brings the stranded ocean wayfarer to the point of challenging his faith in the goodness of God, yet at every critical point of facing the likelihood and the inevitability even of death, Pi thanks God rather than cursing his fate, and it is then that new positive opportunities abound. Pi, too, like Chuck Noland, survives to live out his life more fundamentally assured of the love of God and the interconnectedness of life in its entirety.

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images are from pixabay.com

JOURNAL PROMPT: What revelations have you gleaned from your times of trial or testing that have or can carry you forward to fulfilling your Soul purpose in this life?

I welcome YOUR COMMENTS AND STORY!

[P.S. to Readers: I will be traveling until the 25th so will not post again until after that trip, but I look forward to reading your Comments!]

Alternate Futurescapes: A Crossing-the-Threshold Tool

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As Shakti Gawain presented in her excellent book, Creative Visualization, it can be of utmost value to put into practice your divine gift of Imagination when you wish to manifest positive attitudes and experiences in your life. The quality of your consciousness affects your capacity to create the life of your dreams, and you are responsible and therefore free to establish and maintain a positive state of consciousness.

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In my book YOUR LIFE PATH, I will be providing 75 self-discovery Tools you can engage with as a life mapping process that will let you review your Life Story; reflect on your Life Themes, Life Chapters and your archetypal parts of Self; and also engage in future prospecting or what I like to call Future Casting.

One fun Future Casting technique to help transport you via creative visualization to Cross the Threshold into a desirable future is to journal or creatively represent in any medium a set of Alternate Futurescapes:

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Write in first person (I), present tense(from assuming a NOW perspective)about a possible future that is desirable to you because it fulfills your sense of your Life Purpose, Values, and Goals. Describe the conditions you have established in this Futurescape of your fertile imagining. Where are you, what are you doing, what relationships and activities are prominent in this Future dream-come-true. Describe in detail the distinctive features of your Future landscaoe of consciousness. The more descriptive you can be, the more you can assume a perspective within this possible future; the more of a probability it becomes!

Now then, envision a different alternate futurescape, maybe one even more desirable than the first, more ideal. Or imagine where you will arrive if something you need to change currently you do not change. Write several of these Futurescape scenarios, perhaps limiting yourself to one page each.

Later, look back at these Alternate Futurescape scenarios you have described. Are there some common denominator factors that your more desirable futures share? Can you further envision a pathway to bring about the most desirable future conditions you have imagined?

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images are from pixabay.com

If you can conceive of a desirable future you can perceive a path to attain that.

I welcome your Comments and I invite you to share your stories!

Prepare Well for Your Departure

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Every one of the incremental phases of a Hero’s Adventure (click here for the Monthly Topics tab) holds an archetypal Frame of its own, meaning it is embued with a special power by its categorical/ culturally patterned nature. Departure is a ‘thing’ as well as part of the longer process it initiates. So let’s consider here how does one successfully Depart?  I would say from experience that a good Departure requires a mindful, spiritually and psychologically deep approach in order to facilitate a highly successful Adventure.

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Some 39 years ago in 1978 I initiated a Departure from everything I had known. I would take a leap into the Unknown by moving West, from Buffalo, New York to Tempe, Arizona to enter graduate school.  I was leaving so I could study Native American languages and cultures in the Southwest setting so appropriate to that objective. I was to leave family, friends, and all my familiar Eastern environments and weather to go to the Desert and start anew.

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The preparation for departure was quite a long process of nearly two years.  I first took a cross-country bus trip with a dear spiritual friend, Grace. And such an adventure that trip became!  The bus broke down so we were rerouted through Sedona, a mecca of sorts for me at the time as my spiritual group had land there we got to visit.  Plus I met new friends and together we faced the possibility of there being a murderer(signaled by a police woman’s warning) who boarded in Albuquerque, causing me to sink into one of the deepest contemplations of my life—altering my consciousness altogether by the time we arrived in Sedona. (He got off in Flagstaff with his traveling partner, saying: “Goodbye, New Mexico, forever!” To me, when I addressed him after spreading the rumor around the bus as to whom he might be, he had said: “So, how do you feel about YOUR life?”)

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This trip primed me for a love of the Southwest, and I spent the next year in Buffalo preparing for the Big Adventure. I plastered beautiful photographs from Sedona Life magazine all over my office wall.  I asked questions of my Inner Guide nightly in contemplations, e.g.: “Should I really make such a big move?” “Will I be okay?”

Every night then I would dream and in the dream I would be shown an answer to my question. For example one night I asked, “But what about Chela (my beloved Cat companion)? How can she make such a long trip in an overcrowded car with me?”  That night I dreamed I was driving a van across country to Arizona, and in the back, stretched out contentedly on a blanket covering a Player Piano that was musically soothing her, was Chela.

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One morning about six months prior to my departure to the Southwest, I woke with a musical ditty on my mind:

I’m leaving

But there are a few doors left to close

Before I get over there.

For the next six months, that lyric and melody became a daily mantra for me. I came to realize I needed to smooth out some rough edges in my relationships, for instance, and this ditty helped me do that mindfully and with clear intent.

The time came. I packed up my ’66 red convertible Buick Special that my father had gifted me, packed with all the belongings I would carry, and my dear Chela. A friend, Cathy, accompanied us, as she had friends in Mesa, Arizona I would stay with temporarily until I could get situated near the campus at Arizona State University.  We only made one stop along the way, in Colorado Springs at the Garden of the Gods, where I walked Chela and admired the red rocks there which are so similar to the red rocks of Sedona. (Fourteen years later, guess where I moved to teach after graduating with my doctorate? Yes, Colorado Springs, where I have remained ever since.)

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The move to Arizona went exceedingly well. I cried one torrential outpour of tears about two days after reaching there, releasing my pain and fear and grief over leaving everything and everyone familiar to me up til then. But then I met new friends—several of whom I had been shown in those premonition dreams back in Buffalo—and I embarked upon my studies that helped me eventually build a successful, exciting career as an anthropologist.

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images are from pixabay.com

So consider, how shall you PREPARE for your DEPARTURE?  Give this pregnant phase of your Adventure all the loving attention and all the time and dreaming you can invest.  Contemplate where your departure can take you. Prepare for the life you are creating for yourself with this golden opportunity.

Then, Go with Spirit, my friends!  Enjoy your most beautiful Adventure!

Say Yes!

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Lawrence: Say yes!

Linda: Yes. What did I just agree to?

Lawrence: Fencing! There’s a ten week class starting at

the Community Arts Center this Thursday.

So, at 17, began my adventure of becoming a Fencer and of meeting a dynamic, unusually talented person who would become a close mentor and a friend for life, the fencing teacher who taught and opened my eyes and heart to allowing adventure, spirituality and love of Life into my world. Until that opening conversation with Lawrence, my life was sheltered and small.

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images are from pixabay.com

This was my Call to Adventure. It opened opportunities and exposed me to ideas and adventures that have shaped my life’s journey ever since.

 

Say Yes! to YOUR adventure, whatever it may be.

 

“Yes I said Yes I said YES!”

(Molly Bloom, from James Joyce’s Ulyssses)

Better Beginnings

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I have written much for this blog about ‘better endings.’ Yet what about better BEGINNINGS? As you set out to realize your goals or to Live Your Dream, how shall you properly prepare to Answer the Call to new adventure?

Last week when I asked students in an anthropology class to write about a favorite Hero Cycle tale, six of 33 of them independently selected Tolkein’s Lord of the Rings.  This fantasy trilogy has a very strong opening in Fellowship of the Ring, which follows after the prequel story of The Hobbit has set the stage.

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Frodo, at home in his 2nd uncle-once-removed Bilbo’s earthlodge within the Shire, receives a mysterious visitor, the Wizard Gandalf the Grey. Gandalf bestows upon Bilbo’s heir a magical object, the One Ring, which comes with a sacred responsibility and a definite Call to Adventure.

Frodo is to be the Bearer of the Ring, to convey it far away through dangerous territory to the cave of Mordor so to destroy it, once and for all!  For a young hobbit who has never ventured outside the Shire, this is an astounding Call. Hobbits, after all, are not known to be adventurous with the singular exception of Bilbo himself, who had never yet returned from his own last departure.

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Gandalf entrusts Frodo with the Ring even more than himself. Frodo is an Innocent, untainted by greed, unaffected by war, at the beginning. Yet already as Frodo reads Bilbo’s unfinished diary and contemplates his own Call, Dark Forces approach the Shire, aiming to take the Ring for the evil Sauron.

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Invisibility is a great device for one who must Depart in order to fulfill a mission so deep and so foreboding that it requires the Removal of the hero in order to draw out the hidden qualities of his/her own spiritual nature. Thus Bilbo disappeared for his final adventure after having briefly returned to the Shire; and thus Frodo must vanish from his home community (ultimately with three compatriot Allies).

Frodo must depart to discover his true qualities of Soul, to fulfill the Quest that only he is innately worthy to accomplish.

Darkness arrives. Frodo, followed and then joined by his Allies, Departs to fulfill their Quest.

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images are from pixabay.com

Now what of you? What Adventure are you being called to?  How best can you prepare to embark?

A New Year of Better Endings

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Endings are new beginnings; I love the fresh breath of freedom released with this awareness.  With this new year, preparing for that launch today, I will expand this blog tremendously and infuse it with lots of new energy and purpose. This year should see the publication of my life mapping book and manual, Your Life Path. As the release date nears I will add more information about that.  Our central content material for this new year will focus on twelve (of 17) monthly phases of what Joseph Campbell presented as ‘the MONOMYTH’ in his famous volume on comparative and personal mythology which I am sure many of you readers are familiar with, The Hero With 1000 Faces (HWTF; 1949).

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The MONOMYTH (diagrammed above from HWTF) is generally referred to as THE HERO CYCLE or as THE HERO’s ADVENTURE. Now then, as the Hero is Everyman/Everywoman; it is YOU!  We are each of us on a mythic Odyssey from the cradle to the grave, and Beyond. We all must heed the Call to Adventure and may expect to encounter Threshold Guardians that aim to waylay our Quest. Then when we do Take the Journey we face internalized or mirrored external Dragons, Shadowy archetypal aspects that can inhibit our deepest ambitions unless we slay (or, tame) them.  We seek truth and to fully express our creative imagination, to accomplish our goals that each of our unique skillsets and talents equip us to Manifest for the benefit of the larger Whole.

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images are from pixabay.com

When I teach a course about Your Mythic Life, I always open the class with a poem. It is the well known “Ithaca”, composed by the modern Greek poet C.P. Cavafy. I have found my favorite version, translated by Rae Dalvin, posted on the Poem of the Day blog (https://ninaalvarez.net/2007/05/03/poem-of-the-day-49/), so I gratefully re-post the poem “Ithaca” below. Read it carefully, for it is an invocation to You, a Call to Adventure.  That will  be our first topic for the new year

Ithaca

When you start on your journey to Ithaca,
then pray that the road is long,
full of adventure, full of knowledge.
Do not fear the Lestrygonians
and the Cyclopes and the angry Poseidon.
You will never meet such as these on your path,
if your thoughts remain lofty, if a fine
emotion touches your body and your spirit.
You will never meet the Lestrygonians,
the Cyclopes and the fierce Poseidon,
if you do not carry them within your soul,
if your soul does not raise them up before you.

Then pray that the road is long.
That the summer mornings are many,
that you will enter ports seen for the first time
with such pleasure, with such joy!
Stop at Phoenician markets,
and purchase fine merchandise,
mother-of-pearl and corals, amber and ebony,
and pleasurable perfumes of all kinds,
buy as many pleasurable perfumes as you can;
visit hosts of Egyptian cities,
to learn and learn from those who have knowledge.

Always keep Ithaca fixed in your mind.
To arrive there is your ultimate goal.
But do not hurry the voyage at all.
It is better to let it last for long years;
and even to anchor at the isle when you are old,
rich with all that you have gained on the way,
not expecting that Ithaca will offer you riches.

Ithaca has given you the beautiful voyage.
Without her you would never have taken the road.
But she has nothing more to give you.

And if you find her poor, Ithaca has not defrauded you.
With the great wisdom you have gained, with so much experience,
you must surely have understood by then what Ithacas mean.

-K. P. Kavafis (C. P. Cavafy), translation by Rae Dalven

A Better Endings Love Story: An Affair to Remember

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Why do so many people, myself included and maybe especially women, find Deborah Kerr and Cary Grant’s An Affair to Remember (1957) to be such a “classic” and satisfying love story? Apart from the dated elements from 50’s movies depicting men and women being almost different species (!), nevertheless the story still works for many of us today, as evidenced by the annual Christmastime reprisals and several attempted remakes which, however, never quite get the fabric or tonality of this story quite as well as Kerr and Grant did.

Terry McKay/ D. Kerr: “I was looking up; it was the nearest thing to heaven. You were there!”

Nickie Ferrante/ C. Grant: Why didn’t you tell me? If it had to happen to one of us, why did it have to be you?

Terry McKay/ D. Kerr: If you can paint, I can walk… Anything can happen, don’t you think?

(http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0050105/quotes)

I believe the reason this story speaks so deeply to all of us admirers is simple: this is a classic version of a Better Endings love story. The star-crossed lovers are each otherwise engaged to be married in relationships in which they would be ‘”settling,” but kismet brings them together so they can realize true love; a love which supports and strengthens each of their deepest life ambitions.

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 Sleepless in Seattle is the best contemporary version of the same underlying Better Endings love story theme as An Affair to Remember. Of course it is a parable with many allusions that refer directly back to the original throughout. It culminates with Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks meeting on top of the Empire State Building, so bringing to fruition a better-ending retelling of An Affair to Remember wherein McKay and Ferrante do meet up there as promised. And Sleepless in Seattle (along with You’ve Got Mail, which clearly is in the same genre of Better-Endings love tales) has the same classic longevity as An Affair to Remember, showing the universality of this theme; the archetypal character of this story.

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images are from pixabay.com

Click below for your enjoyment: 

Better Endings News!

For regular or occasional readers of this blog: I’m happy to report that a Better Ending story appears to be brewing for my self-discovery/ personal development book, Your Life Path. My Super Agent (called as such in a recent article about her ), Linda Langton of Langtons International Agency, has received an offer from a publisher, and we are approaching a contract! This has been a labor of love for over 15 years in the making, with plenty of final polishing still in process but Whew! Thanks all for reading the blog and I will keep you posted. I’ll put up a widget to announce the book when that is appropriate.  My blessings to all of you and Better Endings to your Life Dreams, too!

What Really Is Love, Part Two: If I could live but only in the Moment

 

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From my Lover archetype persona:

You asked me the other day while driving back from helping a friend pack and move, “What Really Is Love?” I reminded you of that movie, “The Man Eating Tiger,” that we saw on late night TV decades ago. That film had the right idea. When we love we wish only the best for the beloved. “Love is not a matter of belief but demonstration,” as expressed in a book I love by Paul Twitchell called Stranger By The River.

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When we were a teenager you formed the impression (from Me) that “Love is Love.”  There is no true separation between one “form” of love and another. Family, Friends, Pet Companions, Colleagues, Students, Partners, God, Soul, Inner Master: the love we feel for each and all of these, as it is Love, is the same. Love is the essence and breath of divinity Itself. Love is the Life Force of creation, what you call as an ECKist the Audible and Visible Life Current.

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images are from pixabay.com

You thought of love then (still from Me) as a “place” rather than an emotion; as a state of consciousness superseding all others! Remember Dylan’s line: “I was so much older then, I’m younger than that now”? We were wiser, then, about love. Now you may need to relearn all of this.

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Love=Love means you do not need any other to ‘bring’ love or to feel whole. Love is who you ARE; so be Love! Be a vehicle for love to flow out into your world everyday in every way, never asking for anything in return.

 

 

What Really Is Love? Part One

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I’m going to give voice to my inner Lover archetype for this and the next post. We had an internal, “active imagination” dialogue while I was driving from Denver to Colorado Springs last night around the topic of Love.

I mean, really, who am I to speak of love? Apart from spiritual, unconditional love, which I do have abundantly from many decades of spiritual practice and positive relations generally, this is a topic that most would see in the context of romance, marriage and family, and I consider myself “post” relational, except nowadays for deep Friendship with my dog and cats, family, and close friends. I “did relationships…” but I have relinquished that pursuit for over 13 years—as I mentioned in the last post I have a Shadow Lover facet of Self going on…

Anyway then, Part One (this week) as an expression from my Inner Lover to the page is a Better Endings story that She/I like a whole lot and have never forgotten. Part Two (stay tuned!) will be an open expression from my Lover persona archetype about ‘What Really Is Love?’ that we will subtitle: ‘If I could live but only in the Moment.’

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A Better Endings Story about ‘What Really Is Love?”:

One of the best love stories I have ever encountered was in a late night movie I happened to catch some 30 years ago on TV. It was titled “The Man Eating Tiger” (or something close to that). It was about a mercenary sharp shooter during WWII who was hired by an African village to track down and kill a Bengal tiger that was terrorizing the community and had already killed many residents. Now as the story goes, there was also a female nurse serving the village who just happened to be a woman the mercenary had been in love with before his best friend and war buddy had married her instead. She was the person who had recommended him for the job of taking down the man-eating tiger. As a plot twist, this nurse’s husband had gone Missing in Action from the WWII  front lines as an Army infantry soldier, and it had been months already since anyone had heard of his whereabouts so that he was considered to have likely been killed.

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Now then, the plot thickens as the Mercenary is once again stricken with feelings of love for the nurse, his missing best friend’s wife that he now sees daily but only for so long as he will stay at the African village to complete his mission and take down the Tiger.  He becomes deeply conflicted—as does she but less so—about whether to act on his feelings in his friend’s absence (and probable death). Should he proclaim his love?

The scene I like so much and that I will never forget from this story involves an evening walk that the Mercenary takes with an Indian woman he has befriended, also a nurse in the village. He is able to open up with this wise Indian woman about his deep feelings of love he has for the Nurse and how conflicted he feels about being in the village without being able to declare his true feelings. He WANTS her; he sees the condition of her missing husband as an opportunity to have what he most desperately wants in his life: Her.

But the Indian friend speaks to the Mercenary about the true meaning of Love.  She tells him she has observed Americans and other Europeans to have gotten the reality of love all mixed up and topsy-turvy. She points out that to Europeans, what they—including the Mercenary—think of or speak of as love is much too often little more than possessiveness. They pursue one another by wanting to possess the love “object.” That is wrong. Instead, if they truly were meant for one another, if they truly held genuine and authentic love for one another, they would want ONLY that which would be the very BEST for their beloved. They would be willing and happy in fact to LET GO, to detach from any relationship less than fully conducive to the total freedom and happiness of their beloved.

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images are from pixabay.com

Maybe I shouldn’t tell you the rest of the story as it was portrayed in the movie. I will tell you that the husband does come back and that in the jungle whilst the Mercenary is about to catch up with the Tiger, his MIA friend shows up (not yet having arrived at the village to present himself to his wife) and the Man Eating Tiger is about to pounce on him! What do you believe the Mercenary will do? Will he shoot the Tiger and save his rival friend? Has he yet learned what Really Is Love?

Can you relate to this story metaphorically?

I welcome your Comments and Stories!

WHAT DO YOU WANT TO BE WHEN YOU GROW UP?

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When I was young, I remember asking my sister this question one day. We were in the kitchen. I was about 10 and she was 6.

“What do you want to be when you grow up?”

(pause, deep thought, and then) “I know! A Bunnyrabbit!”

What a great image! And do you know, my sister did grow up to be a bunny rabbit, in her way. She is very active and holds a lot of responsibility that helps a lot of people. Plus she has a tremendous group of very active friends, and most of all for the last several years she has been our family’s primary caregiver for our 89 year old mother who suffers from late stage Parkinsons at a nursing home near to my sister’s home.  My sister’s home has become, because so near to Mom, the nucleus for our family visits. So, she is always hopping!

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How did or might you have answered this question while you were young:

WHAT DO YOU WANT TO BE WHEN YOU GROW UP? (You may print this out and use the space below to journal in.)

 

 

Now  then, WHY (did/would you have answered this way)?

 

 

 

 

 

I have found an interesting pattern from asking this question, and then following it with: “How would you answer that same question today/ What do you want to be now when you ‘grow up’ (and, ‘Is there a difference between how you would have answered as a child and now/ Why?'”).

The way people answer this question reveals something about the dominant ARCHETYPE influences they identify with. Here’s a list of The Twelve primordial persona archetypes identified by the late Dr. Charles Bebeau of the Avalon Archetype Institute (as adapted by Debra Breazzano, MA/LPC) :

ELDER LEADER  ARTIST  TEACHER

LOVER  IDEALIST  COMMUNICATOR

WARRIOR  GOLDEN CHILD  HEALER

NURTURER  DESCENDER  MYSTIC

For example, I have found that people holding a childhood dream of becoming an Aviator or an Astronaut show when they complete the life mapping process I offer that they have a strong IDEALIST archetype orientation.  People who say they wanted to be a Superhero (a common childhood ‘fantasy’) later often show a strong WARRIOR archetypal persona. And those who wanted to become a veterinarian, for instance, tend to embody and gravitate to the HEALER mode, etcetera.

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Which of these twelve persona archetype figures do you recognize as primary personas within yourself?

People (Adults) often say the difference in how they would have answered this question as a child, and now, is that now they have “matured” to accept more “realistic” limitations. To the extent that some of these early archetypal influences may be less strong in later life (many are still present but expressing in more subdued form), some of these archetypal impulses could be suppressed or repressed. That is why it is good to renew this question and see how you FEEL about pursuing your ‘childlike’ Dream from here forward.

You can still BE that Superhero; you still ARE that airy-fairy inner Explorer/ IDEALIST. It can help to get in touch with all of your inner “parts of Self” that relate especially to the significant Themes in your life (e.g. Parent / Teacher/ Lover/ Spirituality oriented/ Artist, etcetera).  Jung would say it benefits us all to attend to and to INTEGRATE these various sub-selves, to orchestrate them, I would add, in pursuit of our Life Mission and goals.

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images are from pixabay.com

This month, October, is associated astrologically with Libra and the LOVER Archetype.  This is an opportunity to call your own LOVER forward to partner with you this month.  Get to know your LOVER persona. How does S/HE express in your life? Is S/HE in Strength mode (positive outlet) or in Shadow (if so how/ why?) What does S/HE, your Inner LOVER part-of-Self, want of you or for itself? How can you include your Inner LOVER in your outer life more fully? These are some questions you might explore.

I invite your comments and stories!

 

Health Related Better Endings

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Why is it that so many novels, plays and films about persons afflicted with illness end with that person dying? For that matter, folks, what really is a “terminal illness?” Okay, yes, of course there are medical conditions that will be more than not likely to terminate with a person’s passing. (That condition applies to us all, “in the end.”) But there are many “better ending” scenarios that could be focused on instead of mainly spotlighting the loss and grief associated with transitioning from the body or losing a loved one. For this post I choose to focus on the many possible BETTER ENDINGS facets of such conditions.

Firstly, many people with “life-threatening” illnesses either do not succumb at all (live out a normal life span) or they survive much longer than was at first or is generally anticipated. In such cases, such ‘illness’ conditions offer the person many tremendously positive opportunities for growth, improved health, and greater spiritual awareness or empowerment. These outcomes can be beneficial regardless of the progression, or reversal or remission, of the health condition leading to such positive results.

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Carolyn Myss, in her well known 1996 book, Why People Don’t Heal and How They Can (https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00DTEMVYW/ref=dp-kindle-redirect?_encoding=UTF8&btkr=1#nav-subnav) , looks carefully at  some possible cultural or ‘energetic’ aspects of health conditions as well as healing. She asks why it is that sometimes a person might “hold onto” an illness condition, choosing to continue with “unhealthy” behaviors rather than choosing to make some possibly health-improving changes.

As a Better Endings theme, I invite you to think of some health-related story you are familiar with that “ends badly” (to you) or perhaps is too predictably about a character’s eventual decline and their loved ones’ loss and adjustment.

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Steel Magnolias (http://stageagent.com/shows/play/705/steel-magnolias), for example, is a movie I cannot even watch fully through a second time because it caused me to sob throughout the last scenes and for probably an hour afterwards when I watched it for the first time. M’lynn’s daughter Shelby (played by Julia Roberts) suffers from a severe diabetic condition which she dies from while giving birth to her son after marrying the man of her dreams. Shelby’s mother (played brilliantly by Sally Fields) tries to persuade her daughter not to bring her pregnancy to term, knowing the dangers.  Shelby risks these dangers to bear her husband a child and she dies as a consequence.

A Better Endings scenario might have found Shelby and her Louisiana born and bred husband Jackson (played by Dylan McDermott) deciding to adopt rather than to risk Shelby’s life in this manner. It could have been about the joy of adopting a child from China or Nicaraugua, for instance, and the joy that child brings to all in the community rather than spotlighting the loss and grief M’lynn and the rest of the family endure.

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Please all, I am NOT saying that death and bereavement are ‘bad’ occurrences in themselves or that they are by any means often ‘unnecessary’ or avoidable.  All I am getting at here is that illness or other heavily impactful circumstances are opportunities for positive growth and reflection, whatever the outcomes. We can celebrate all the potential GOOD that might come about from our positive responses to these conditions in our own lives or others’ rather than stigmatizing or even sometimes marginalizing people ‘afflicted’ with such challenging life conditions.

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images are from pixabay.com

I welcome your comments and stories.

Create A Golden Child Vision Board   

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Now that August is waning it is a good time to harness the Leonine energies of your Golden Child part of Self. I invite you to create a Vision Board of your future aspirations from the perspective of your Golden Child viewpoint.

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An easy way to compose a Vision Board with your computer is simply by going to a graphics site you like (I recommend pixabay.com, as all its images are free to use online; or you could use clip art or simply Google Images).  Create a blank Word or Publisher page, set up in landscape mode.  Next, Imagine! Assume the perspective of your Golden Child persona, that part of You that is bold and adventuresome and often even gregarious. What does THIS You wish to project into your future with regard to any situation or with regard to your Life Dream as a whole?

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Your Vision Board will be an image collage representing various aspects of your future (or, situational) Vision. All you need to do is to copy and paste from images you find online onto your ‘blank page’.  For example, if you see your future self living in Hawaii, find an image that evokes Hawaii for you and copy and paste it onto your page. Assemble your Vision Board collage by simply adjusting the size and shapes of the images you gather and arranging them in a meaningful way on your collage Board.

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I always pilot every self-help Tool I develop first for myself before inviting others to utilize that Tool. So below is the Vision Board collage I created a few days ago to channel, as it were, my Golden Child vision for the future of our imaginings. Needless to say I won’t explain my images here; your vision is private. You can share it with others but be careful not to dilute its energetic force for you by explaining it overmuch to others. I can share that without even intending it as such, the little writer-girl image I placed on the bottom right of my collage does portray my Golden Child persona very directly.

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I invite you now to create and compose your own Golden Child Vision Board. Be sure to use images of what CAN BE and include images that portray your means of manifesting your Dream!

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all images used above are from pixabay.com

After you complete your Vision Board, I encourage you to save it on your computer Desktop but also to print it out in color and place it somewhere important to you where you can see it often. Let your Golden Child Vision Board remind you of your Dream, of your Vision and of your CAN-DO attitude.

I welcome your Comments, Insights, and Stories!

See Your Golden Child in the Mirror

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Here’s a fun technique for bolstering your self-image: See Your Golden Child archetype (part of Self) in the Mirror!  Your Golden Child is that part of you that is bright and outgoing, full of charm and generosity in (her/his) most positive expression.

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Look your Golden Child in the eyes in your mirror (outwardly or inwardly).  Notice her or his shining expression and gleaming smile, maybe with a bit of mischief in the eyes. Let her or him speak to you, too. What is your Golden Child telling you? What is s/he asking you to do TODAY in order to allow this important facet of your Self to express itself through your thoughts, words and actions?

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Feel free to print this post out and write out a dialogue with your Golden Child in the Mirror space below. Just as an example, here is a brief version of my own Mirror Conversation with my Golden Child today:

GC:   I SEE YOU!

LW:  Ahah, I remember that from Finding Dory and from Avatar too.

GC:  But, do you get it?

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LW:  Sure, “I SEE You!” And since you are ME, too—

GC: Well, a “part” of You as you soooo like to say—

LW: OK, as you are an important part of US, thank you for Seeing Me, and for Being Here!

GC:  Go get’em Tiger!

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pictures are from pixabay.com

LW:  Excuse me?

GC: You know what I am saying, now FEEL IT. BE IT. The Bengal Tiger you were when we were on the Buff State Fencing Team, right?

LW:  You were with me a lot back then…

GC: You bet I was/am! Time is an Illusion, remember? So, ET LA! EXHALE! LUNGE!!!

   I invite you to write YOUR OWN Golden Child dialogue or affirmation in the MIRROR:

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