Heroes

Heroes travel on the wind, as we all do.  What is it that makes heroes heroes?  They are courageous, able to choose love even when fear and pain surround them.  They know who they are, can sense their mission, their purpose, even when all seems dark and cold.  They may stumble and lose their way, they may forget and they may doubt.  Yet when the road is darkest, when all seems lost, they find their way.  They stand up, walk on, continue.  When the world becomes dark and quiet, then they can listen, then they can see.  They rise again, and again, and continue on.

We are heirs of a mythical past, and guardians of forgotten truth.  The world calls to each of us, over and over again.  Some are waiting for the call, intently listening for it.  Others are awakened suddenly by it.  Still others resist, ignore, deny the call.  The tapestry of the future is woven all the same.

We are the chosen ones.  That is why we are here.  We would not have been born if we did not have a unique, irreplaceable, powerful purpose for being here.  The universe does not waste space, does not make mistakes.  Do not fear over-reaching; you cannot.  Do not ask if you are worthy of the path you see before you; you could not see it if it were not meant for you.  You are divine, an immortal at play in a human world.  Ride the wave that moves between your humanity and your divinity, play the part you long to play.  Embrace all the facets of your starlit soul.

You will always be given the tools you need, once you begin the quest.  Such is the way of the world, always and without fail.  Even your failures will provide the key to your freedom.  Such is the way of love.

What Women Want

There is a story that answers the oldest of questions:  what do women want?

A young and handsome knight of Camelot, named Gawain, set out to find the answer to save King Arthur from losing his throne.  It sounds perilous–an entire kingdom dependent on determining what women want.  But for a true knight, all things are possible.  Answers always present themselves to those who honestly seek them.

For Sir Gawain, the answer presented itself in the guise of an old woman.  She appeared in the forest, withered by age and sickness, and asked him for food.  Being a kind as well as noble knight, Gawain made a place for her by the warm fire and gave her his food and drink.  In gratitude, she told Gawain that she knew of his quest and would give him the answer he sought, if he would take her back to Camelot and make her his wife.

This was a harsh fate for a strong, handsome young man, the prize of the court and the favorite of all the beautiful young ladies.  But Arthur’s kingdom was at stake, and so Gawain could do nothing but agree.

Upon his promise to marry her, she told him the secret of what all women want–to have their own way.  But the story does not end there.

Gawain and his promised bride returned to Camelot, and the entire court grieved at seeing the young man bound to a haggard old woman, wise though she might be.  But the wedding was duly planned and celebrated in lavish style, and that night Gawain joined his new bride in their wedding chamber.

When the court had retired and the couple were alone, a miraculous thing occurred–the wise woman was surrounded by glowing light, and then her form shifted and changed into that of a stunning young beauty with flowing blonde hair and cornflower blue eyes.

“I was cursed by an evil magician,” the lady said, “and forced to walk the world as an old woman before my time, until and unless a knight of Arthur’s court would make me his wife.  But I am afraid the curse is not completely broken, and a choice is before you, my husband.  You must choose–would you have me be beautiful by day, when all the court could see me, or at night, when we are alone together in our bedchamber?  What, my husband, would you desire?”

“I cannot decide,” Gawain declared, after a moment’s thought.  “You must choose what is more pleasing to you.”

“And now,” cried his lady, “the curse is well and truly broken, and I am free to appear as my true self at all hours of the day, for you have given me what all women wish for–the ability to have my own way.”

It is not only women, of course, who long to have their own way.  For what does it mean, to have one’s own way, but to be one’s true and authentic self, at all times and in all places?  This is the gift of love that breaks all curses, and sets us free.

We Find What We Seek

The world we see conforms to our expectations, our hopes, our fears.  When our minds and hearts are open, everything is possible.  When we are determined to see what we expect to see, the world obliges us by fulfilling our demands.  Our fears are realized.  We prove ourselves right by finding the evidence we need.

Do we need to be right?  There is so much to explore, so much to discover.  There is so much we do not know.  Nothing is finished or perfect, including our understanding of the universe, of where we are from, of where we are going.  And that imperfect understanding means there is always more to discover, more to learn, more to be.

Endless joy.

Nevertheless

Maybe I’m right, and maybe I’m wrong/Maybe I’m weak, and maybe I’m strong/But nevertheless, I’m in love with you.

Maybe I’ll win, and maybe I’ll lose/Maybe I’m in for cryin’ the blues/But nevertheless, I’m in love with you.

Somehow, I know at a glance, the terrible chances I’m taking/Fine at the start, then left with a heart that is breaking.

Maybe I’ll live a life of regret, and maybe I’ll give much more than I’ll get/But nevertheless, I’m in love with you.

–Nevertheless (I’m in Love with You), Frank Sinatra, Nice ‘n’ Easy (music & lyrics by Harry Ruby and Bert Kalmar)

To love is to risk.  To open to another is to dare.  It is because we cannot know the outcome, that we are not assured of success, that choosing love is an adventure.  To love, nevertheless, is to face life with the strength and the courage of heroes.

And to give much more than we get–may we all be so lucky.  Because that is the secret to love.

I learned that from my father.

Happy Birthday, Dad.  I love you.

Decide That What You Have Is What You Want

Peace and happiness can only be found where you are.  They don’t exist in the future or the past, because right here and now, neither of those places exist.  What you have to work with, what you have to create with, is this.  Wherever you are.  Whatever time it is.  Whatever mood you’re in, however you’re feeling.  This is it.  And one simple way to make whatever it is even better is to decide that what you have is what you want.

Not someday.  Not if only.  As it is.  Start by finding something good, even something small.  If you’re single, you have time and space for yourself.  If you’re stuck in a dead-end job, you have an income.  If you don’t feel well, you have a body that’s telling you to rest and nurture yourself.  If you have no idea where to go or what to do, well, then anything is possible and the adventure is about to begin.  Start small, and grow from there.  Start by pretending, if you need to.

You may find, to your surprise, that what you have actually is what you want.  When you stop judging yourself, stop looking to some imagined ideal of how life “should” look or how things “should” be, you may find that what you have is exactly the right life for the unique person you are.  Try to see things that way; question the truth of what you think you don’t want.  And then make the decision that will lead you back to peace.

Another post selected by herfuture.com!

Another one of my posts, The Art Of Deciding, was selected for herfuture.com‘s BlogsWeDig!  Thanks, herfuture!

The Only Way Out Is Through

To hold to our center through all the changes brought by tide or time.  To feel at ease in all places, with all people, with all parts of ourselves.  At what price comes such freedom?

There are no maps, and no reason to create one.  Create instead a song to dance to, that will serve as a reminder of light when the way seems dark.  Then weave the wind into starlight.

Every leaf and branch twirls with love for us.  Or is it our love for them, stirring the wind itself to life?  Which came first, and does it matter?  Is there any difference at all?  Love leads itself home, by any path presented to it.

We search for places the wind cannot go, not realizing that such places cannot exist, and that if they did they would be more hollow than graveyards.

The only way out is through.

What adventure will you follow today?  How will you journey?  Will you fall into yourself and let joy have you, or will you strive and strain and try?  Don’t.  Oh, please, don’t.  If you feel that you are alone in a dark room, it is only because you have closed your eyes.  Open them.

In the center of our lives there is a star, the light of love itself, our only true guide and always a gentle, patient one.  It does not rule or command us, but it goes where the way is darkest, the pain is deepest, to heal through the power of gentleness, teaching us to transform our lives and worlds with an open heart.

Into The Labyrinth

Ariadne was a princess of Crete, daughter of Minos, the king that created the labyrinth that housed the Minotaur.  There is a dark family history here–the Minotaur, half-man and half-bull, was the son of a pure white bull and the queen, Ariadne’s mother.  He was a monstrous creature who devoured innocent men and women, and so was imprisoned within a dark and twisting labyrinth far beneath the palace.

The hero Theseus arrived from Athens intent on destroying the monster.  For love of him, the princess Ariadne betrayed her father and family and promised the hero her help.  She gave Theseus a ball of red thread, and told him that if he would unwind it as he made his way through the labyrinth, he would then be able to follow the thread out again.

Did Theseus need the red thread?  Or was Ariadne’s gift one of hope and comfort?  A labyrinth, unlike a maze, is not always a place of dead-ends and twisting turns.  A labyrinth may be a direct, although curving, journey to the center of the self, a winding path that is nevertheless sure in its destination and in the return.  It is, in fact, a mirror of our own lives.  We can see ourselves as lost in a frightening maze, unsure of the terrors around the next corner.  Or we can see ourselves in a true labyrinth, in which we cannot see what lies ahead but know we will ultimately be led to the center of our souls, and back again.  The fact that we cannot see what is coming next is the gift of time.

We fear that, buried deep within our souls, far below the realm of our daily lives, there lives within us a beast, an unknown and unfaced aspect of ourselves that cannot be controlled.  But into the labyrinth we must go, as Theseus did, to face the part of ourselves that we would hide.

Whatever the Minotaur represents, and whether his home was a maze or a labyrinth, Theseus took Ariadne’s thread with him and was able to slay the beast.  On finding his way safely out, from darkness into the light, he stole away with Ariadne, sailing back towards Athens with the promise that he would make her his wife.

And then he left her, alone and sleeping, on the shore of a small island.  Some versions of the tale say he was unwillingly swept away in a storm, in grief over her loss; others that he had no care for her and abandoned her at the first opportunity.  And yet other versions claim that he was forced to leave by the God of Wine, Dionysus, who loved her and desired her for himself.

When Ariadne awoke, alone on the sandy beach, she thought herself abandoned and betrayed, whatever the reality might have been.  She had left her family, her home, her life, to sail away with a man who did not or could not love her as she loved him.  She did not realize that, whatever Theseus’ intent, a better future awaited her.  One in which she was the chosen, the beloved, of a god, brought into the heavens and made a goddess in her own right.  Her wedding crown, the Corona, was placed in the night sky as a constellation, as a tribute to the endless love between Dionysus and Ariadne.

Like Psyche, Ariadne could not have known what future awaited her; none of us can.  But it is usually better than we could ever hope or imagine.

Story Teller

We are all stories.  We move through our lives like storybook heroes and heroines, facing villains, seeking the aid of wise counselors, searching for treasure.  And we pin together the moments of our lives by telling ourselves stories, by imagining that the thread of the tale is consistent and meaningful.  It is a safety device, a way to feel some measure of control, of protection even.  We create imaginary worlds, where we cast others as allies or enemies, but they are all stories.  They are not truth, although we often think they are.

What is true is what lies beyond the stories, beyond the dramas, behind even our very thoughts.  The mystery.  The eternal.  The real.  Some call it mindlessness, but only because we lack the words to describe the indescribable.  And so we continue to tell our stories, to live our lives as stories.  Until the day when we see past it all.  Until we are able to connect with our true and eternal selves, and know ourselves home at last.

We are the mystery we seek.

Of Earth And Sky

A tree needs both roots and branches.  It cannot choose one over the other or it will die.  It must be forever of both earth and sky.  That is balance, harmony, union.  We must live the same way, never denying any part of ourselves.  Reach and rest.  Sleep and wake.  Fall and rise.  Sink into the earth and listen to the wind.  Be nourished and nourish others.

Do not hold back.  Do not save your brilliance, your wisdom, your joy.  Live now.  Be who you are now.  Do not wait.  Do not hesitate.  Stop holding so tightly to the very things you don’t want:  doubt of yourself and your path; fear of the future.  Let go, and let the world in.  You are love and loved, completely as you are.

The future tends to itself.  It has never before allowed you to usurp that role; it will not now.  Remember:  what you desire also desires you.

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