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"Rewiring the Soul is one the best introductions to the spiritual life I've ever read. Not esoteric but real-world and practical. The implications are profound." Peter Shepherd, author: Daring To Be Yourself

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Recognizing the Hero in Your Life

Ever wondered why others can be heroes and you are not? Ever felt plagued by a vague sense of uneasiness that seems to be saying that you could do more? Ever felt bitter because others are openly and publicly recognized for what they have accomplished, and you are not?
Perhaps you need to consider getting a new pair of glasses ...
Over the years I've been greatly inspired by Joseph Campbell, world-renowned mythologist, who in turn, was inspired by another one of my own figurative mentors: Carl Gustav Jung, the Swiss psycho-analyst who so famously broke from Freud, and has been recently portrayed in the movie A Dangerous Method. Campbell spent much of his life writing about the figure of the hero, not only the mythological hero, but also the hero who resides in each of us and is begging for release into his particular and individual adventure.
Campbell notably wrote: Opportunities to find deeper powers within ourselves come when life seems most challenging. And that is what being a hero is all about. So when we seek recognition, it has to first come from our own recognition of the hero within ... the hero that each one of us is on a daily basis.
Consider this:
·         what did you do that day in the schoolyard when you were only 10 and saw Suzy getting bullied by the two older girls?
·         what did you do that day when your car broke down in the middle of nowhere with no reception for your mobile phone?
·         what did you do when you found it appeared that your baby had drowned in the pool, but you refused to accept it and fought for his life?
·         what did you do when you lost your job due to downsizing, could not find another in your field, but had to pay the bills?
·         what did you do when you realized your profession was not fulfilling you, but because of your obligations to family and home, you were not able to simply strike out for something else? Did you not stay on, bide your time, and give of yourself for the sake of those who depended on you?
·         what did you do during the nine months your father was dying of terminal lung cancer to help him ease the discomfort?
Whatever you have done in your life, and not only in moments of challenge such as the examples enumerated above, but also in your quest to give meaning to your life ... whether it be by seeking more intrinsically fulfilling work, or by learning how to play the piano, or by studying the mating patterns of sperm whales, or by teaching newly-arrived immigrants in your country your language to help them adapt more quickly - any and all of these examples, as well as all the others your imagination can come up with, show you where you have become a hero in your life. You just have to recognize it. See also:
You may not wish to be labeled a hero, but you will begin to appreciate yourself much more, and to approve of yourself much more, and to love yourself much more, if you begin to give heroic value to those things that you have done - whatever they may be - that are in the directions I've painted above. See also:
·         Loving Yourself: A Roadmap
·         Love Yourself First
Your heroic behavior deserves recognition and admiration, but sometimes we are the only ones who really know about what we have done. CNN's heroes of the year, an annual program that gives praise and recognition to a few individuals, nevertheless culls those particular heroes from a list that is much, much longer. The fact that some receive such public acknowledgement and others do not, is not particularly important if you become aware of your own heroic qualities.
·         do you sit in a wheelchair all day, dealing with a life from that vantage point, instead of being able to stand on your feet? This too, is being a hero.
·         do you spend the days of your retirement helping young teens at the neighbourhood high school excel in math? This too, is being a hero.
·         do you volunteer at a local shelter or soup kitchen? This too, is being a hero.
·         do you brush away your tiredness after a long day at work in order to come back home and offer your children a smile while you fix them dinner and help them with their homework? This too, is being a hero.
·         do you live a life of grim financial or physical hardship? And do you get up each morning and set out on your day determined to live positively, determined to look for yet another way out of your predicament, and determined to not allow it to get your down? This too, is being a hero.
·         have you become aware of parts of your personality that do not serve you well? Are you perhaps critical, judgmental, impatient, unkind or arrogant? Making the effort to overcome these ways of thinking and behaving is also being a hero.
·         do you have a dream ... any dream ... and do you make a conscious effort each and every day to make your dream a reality? This too, is being a hero.
Campbell also wrote It is by going down into the abyss that we recover the treasures of life. Where you stumble, there lies your treasure. See also:
·         Our Obstacles
 So again, it is in the overcoming of stumbling blocks, it is in facing the darkness (problems, desperation, pain) that we find our rainbow, our inner light, which for the purposes of this article I am calling our inner hero.
Recognize your own hero, give yourself approbation and praise for what you have done this far in your life. The inner hero resides in all of us ... have you become aware of your own?
See also
·         Giving Birth to Yourself
·         Tending Your Inner Garden
Image: St. Goerge Slaying the dragon by Hans von Aachen

For much more about having a conscious relationship with yourself and living consciously, about being aware of your thoughts and feelings, and about how you Love, respect and admire yourself, have a look at my book Rewiring the Soul: Finding the Possible Self, available at Amazon.

Click here to download the first chapter.

Reviews From Amazon:

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JIM WAWRO; author, Ask Your Inner Voice

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