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Tuesday, July 31, 2018

the crazy ones.

I was recently introduced to Joseph Campbell and his model of the hero's journey. (Let's not dwell on how I made it this long not knowing who Joseph Campbell was but just in case you've been living under this rock with me: here you go).  The hero's journey outlines the common cycle of events that occur within the singular human experience we all share over the course of a lifetime.  

It might be easier to think of it as what it means to be in charge of our own adventure.  This might sound obvious, but Campbell points out that we are all responsible for our own adventure and we have no one to blame but ourselves for the outcome.  But choosing to be our own hero?  That part is not quite so obvious and at first sounds like a whole lot of responsibility...but it is up to us as well. 

Highly recommend the documentary 'Finding Joe' (thank you Mrs. B)

It would be fair to say I am currently in the transformation/transition stage of my own journey.  I am, even as I write this, still discovering, still putting together the pieces of what I've learned, and cautiously peeking my head out of the cave to prepare for what lies ahead.  My greatest teachers these days seem to be fear, courage, pain and love.  The current relationship I have with these four powerful emotions looks something like this:

Fear:  It's okay and normal to be scared.  It's what we do with our fear that matters.

Courage:  Courage is knowing what to do and doing it.  Lack of courage is knowing what to do and not doing it. (Joseph Campbell said this, but I feel like I wrote it with my heart a million times before hearing his words).

Pain:  The uncomfortable and often dark experiences that create change and teach us the most.

Love:  The reason.  The "why" behind every choice we make. (*Note: this includes love in every form including self love - not romantic love only).

Lately I have been paying careful attention to living in a way that feels courageous.  Not wrestling a mountain lion level courage.  More like being brave enough to make choices that feel honest and accepting the results.  Making sure I am the hero of my own journey by having the courage to make complex and sometimes hurtful (or unpopular) decisions.  The courage to be in charge of my own adventure.  I have known for some time that this is what I was doing, I just hadn't found the right words for it.

Joe found the right words for me.

So if the hero's journey is so challenging and uncomfortable why would anyone choose that path?  It is human nature after all to desire security and comfort in the reality we create - and there is no shame in that.  The problem lies in wanting that security so desperately that we're not willing to consider if the reality we exist in aligns with our truth. What if the daily life we use to comfort ourselves is actually false comfort?    

Then what?

Well, then we have to do some hard work and take some chances.  We have to enter the cave.  It means seeing ourselves through an honest lens and making change accordingly.  It means honoring our fear but being brave enough to take that incomprehensible first step on a more awakened and thoughtful path.  Many of us open one eye half way, assess our options and decide ---

Screw that.   

And that's fine.  Our lives are our gifts and we have the good fortune of deciding how we choose to spend however much time we are given.  However, the magic that enters when we elect to start living in the light makes closing our eyes again unthinkable - because we don't want to miss a single second of what our life has become. 

I don't claim to have it all figured out friends, but what I am sure of is that the power and peace we give ourselves when we live in the light is more than any fortune could grant us. When we dismiss the opinion of others, own our choices, and stand in our truth there is no telling what a person can do.  With power like that anything and everything becomes possible.

Disingenuous words get lost before leaving our lips.  Relationships that fill our social calendars but leave our souls empty fall away.  As the golden version of us rises to the surface things that aren't serving us in a healthy and authentic way begin to sink.  Suddenly, Laurel from the movie Jerry Maguire makes perfect sense when she claims to be "incapable of small talk". 

Preach Laurel.  

This is where our contribution begins.  This is the part of our adventure where we take what we've learned and share our experience with the people whose lives we touch.  We share ourselves in a way that feels generous and supportive, not judgmental and forceful.  That is our hand written thank you note back to the universe for giving us the opportunity to grow and live an awakened life.  That is our legacy and the marker of how we spent our time here. 

And sure, we may run the risk of sounding a little crazy.  I'm comfortable with that.

The alternative is to turn our heads, close our eyes, and walk in the opposite direction when life is trying to point us toward our truth. And, well...I just can't think of anything much crazier than that.

So in the words of Steve Jobs, "Here's to the crazy ones".

Here's to you and your hero's journey.

Here's to all of us finding the courage to follow our bliss.

...and to the great adventure that is a life lived fully alive.

xo - juli

Brian Andreas for the win (as usual).