Where Do You Begin?
A Journey of Self Discovery
"I invite you to take a journey of self discovery that will reveal ...
- who you are
- who you can become
- what you can excel at
- where you belong
Are you interested?" She asked me gently and somehow I felt this was one of those moments where I either turned right, left ... or stayed right where I was, lost in an endless series of mental gymnastics.
To gain some time, I asked, : Can you tell me more?"
She smiled, as if sensing my uncertainty.
"Journeys of self discovery are nothing new. Myths, legends, folk stories and fairy tales from every culture tell about heroes and heroines who go on journeys seeking a deeper understanding of who they are, along with their traditional ideas of what is treasured most .... such as greatness, riches, and enlightenment. You probably were read them as you drifted off to sleep ... and watched many versions acted out in cartoons and children's films. Some of your favorite childhood stories were about journeys of self discovery ... masquerading as tales of adventure to save the princess, slay the dragon ... " She must have seen the look on my face, because she stopped.
"Slay the dragon? What has that got to do with self discovery?" I had to admit, what she had said caught my interest.
"Yes. It all depends on how well you know what the dragon represents. In some cases, the dragon is the dragon of 'thou shalts'. And slaying it means yo move beyond the traditional rules that lay out a prescribed list of shoulds and should nots," she said.
"And in other cases?" I asked.
"In others, it could be what holds your deepest desires hostage. Or your pet peeves that need to be seen for what they truly are ... the things in yourself that you do not want to acknowledge ... accept ... and transform ... or use when the appropriate time and situation arrives."
I laughed at that. As if I would ever want to use one of my pet peeves.
"Yes. Your pet peeves help you understand how to be truly obnoxious ... and that can be very helpful when you need to be dismissed, overlooked or ignored. I see you need an example. If you want the seat next to you left empty, just start hacking and coughing ... or doing something else obnoxious." I saw her wink and I had to admit, I was intrigued.
"When was the last time someone advised you to act obnoxiously?" she asked.
"Ugghhh ..." my inability to answer was answer enough.
"Just so," she said, "It can be very hard unless you have slain that Dragon of 'Thou Shalt' always be polite, responsive and helpful. But there are people in this world you should not encourage, help or support. And times when you should decline to become involved, remove yourself from the situation or move through without being noticed."
"When?" I asked, curious abut her answer.
"When your participation would bring pain or injury to yourself or others. When being noticed could get you involved in a dangerous activity that leads to evil and ruin. Situations like that ... and no, that does not excuse you from acting to help rescue others or keep them out of danger. But many times ... we have a choice to avoid destruction and death .. if only we would look at the consequences of our actions and take responsibility to stop before anything starts a chain of events rolling that can get out of hand."
"And fairy tales and childhood stories help me do that?" I asked.
"They can give you outlines of situations and archetypes to avoid ... like the pied piper of old who now is hanging out on the corner peddling drugs. The big bad wolf is the next big score that is waiting to sucker you in and eat you alive when an obsession like gambling takes over control of your life. You only have to read the stories and look around for the modern translation."
She paused a moment and went on, "But the stories I speak of contain important cultural clues about how to find what you seek ... especially if what you are seeking is to find your self, your authentic or true self."
"They are a great place to start, if you can not find a wise mentor or guide for your journey. Unfortunately, it is sometimes hard to find the wise guidance and practical assistance you need in the modern world. That pivotal information and insight so often provided by the fairy godmother or mysterious mentor when the seeker reaches a crossroads in his or her destiny. Too often we let chance or luck, instead of a well tuned intuitive whim, determine our future and the road we take through life."
"Did you say well tuned intuitive whim?" I asked. "What exactly is that?"
"Hmmm ... to learn that, you have to take the journey. Within each of us is a hero or heroine just waiting to be discovered. Like every hero, we each have a unique set of gifts and talents inside of us just waiting to be developed and put to use to create the life we dream of.
"The path lies before you. And regardless of how old you are, the rest of your life lies before you. You can continue on the path you are on, settling for what is safe or acceptable -- and end up like many others living lives we would never have consciously chosen for ourselves. Or you can choose to discover who you are, what you love, and create a path to a life that reflects who you dream of being.
"The choice is up to you."
And with that, she looked at me closely, looking for an answer to her original question.