On the spur of the moment I took myself to see the remake of a movie I saw as a child and hardly remembered: The Magnificent Seven. I don't know why it got comparatively lukewarm reviews - I thought it was great!
I am unabashedly enamored with Denzel Washington, the star, I freely admit. I also thought it was a great ensemble production as well - terrific acting.
But that's not the central reason I loved it. I loved it because it showcased not only The Magnificent Seven, but "ordinary folk" in the beleaguered town that had been taken over by none other than (always) a villain at the head of a mining company - latter nineteenth century Big Business, speaking of some of our key political challenges today, who surprised themselves by becoming heroes.
We are all heroes, say all great ancient spiritual traditions, or we wouldn't be here adventuring and evolving on the earth plane. Whether we talk about designated recovery from addictions, trauma, self-healing, empowerment, therapeutic intervention, they all, to me and actually Carl Jung as part of his definition of archetypes, challenge us to become who we truly are - heroes.
If you think committing to "go the distance" on any of these undertakings is not heroic you can think again. We are challenged to stretch literally beyond our limits, to face who and what we really are, and even more importantly, our own history, including shame, guilt, failure, and core fears.
These are all infinitely worse than external threats to the journeying inner being, who carries a full record of all emotional imprint throughout one's lifetime. What didn't I do, what could I have done, what is truly unfinished that I'm even more afraid to admit than facing my core fears?
How can one's heroic self rise from the depths of these burdens? It is astounding, and I've had the honor to witness it through all the years of my practice, that we have it in us to do just that, and find and free our true spirit and power.
We have to be galvanized to be willing to risk pretty much everything, desperate beyond measure to the point that we feel we can't look at ourselves, can't live without endlessly staying a heroic course. We have to be taken by an unbreakable vision that we understand is greater than our sense of who we are, which always involves the greater good.
Unleashed feelings are the key source of sustenance and wisdom, actually, very much including anger and despair - and here's an amazing combination - a strange sense of upliftment beyond the norm. The heroic journey can only occur in a heroic universe that has its own operative laws which are radically different that the so-called "normal/humdrum world".
There is always a dragon in the heroic universe, and magic beyond understanding and expectation, including great courage, inspirational, endlessly in the moment creating, and odd characters who show up to join the battle for what's right. Fellowship as soul friendship occurs, and one's life is on the line.
I tell clients when we always, at some point, focus on the challenge to be one's own hero to transform and even survive, that I suppose I'm one of the "odd characters", honored to walk on the path with them and offer therapeutic and spiritual and recovery "magic" as I am inspired by them and their amazing unfolding heroic journeys. It is not an accident that before they were written down we gathered in tribes and told heroic stories as teachings, and to inspire and draw out each other's souls, in my view.
For our souls are our heroic core, our higher power and selves, our innate honesty and endless caring, and our willingness to risk all to honor all these inner directives. If you were a hero, what would you choose and act on in your life right now? What would your vision be?
I think we are much more heroic than we know. Speaking of movies, Frank Capra so beautifully in his acclaimed movies presented the "common man" as an "uncommon" hero ... It's a Wonderful Life, lMeet John Doe, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington ... are they viewed as classics because they remind of what all the timeless myths, fairy tales and legends present - that we are all heroes; and because they offer us a common blueprint to become heroes?
We are reminded through all these stories that heroes are not perfect. Heroes live ordinary lives in extraordinary ways.
If there was ever a time we needed to be heroes, this is the time, and to so greatly support not only the greater good, but not to sink to a lesser level of being - to instead inspire ourselves to become greater, to honor ourselves and each other as examples of all the best that we are as human beings. Heroes transform not only themselves but others, and massive healing and empowerment comes in their wake.
I think most of all to be a hero reminds us that as adults we must earn - everything. There is no entitlement.
As we earn so do we create, so do we become greater, so do we inspire and help others. One does not have to be proud of oneself to become a hero - in fact, the great stories often present those who become heroes as coming from shame and wrongdoing.
These are recovery journeys - and who here isn't meant to recover and become greater?