How to Be a Hero

Last night we watched a fantastic movie called Finding Joe.  It is inspired by the lifetime work of Joseph Cambell.  Campbell was a Mythologist and prolific author and teacher who was known for the message “Follow your bliss. ”

Yesterday was also Father’s Day.  One of the most common phrases heard on Fathers Day is “Today is all about you”.  I love this because it means meals delivered to me, no dishes to wash, etc.  But the more I thought about it the more it dawned on me that being a Father is so NOT about me.  By its very nature it’s about who you are a father to — it’s about service to the person who calls you Daddy.

And this got me thinking about how we approach things in our lives.  When we evaluate whether we are going to go to an event or social gathering, the tendency is to start having an internal dialogue like this:

“Will I like it?”

“Will I be comfortable there?”

“What will I get out of it?, will it be worth it”

And this brings me back to Finding Joe.  These two Campbell quotes jumped out at me:

“A hero is someone who has given his or her life to something bigger than oneself.”

“When we quit thinking primarily about ourselves and our own self-preservation, we undergo a truly heroic transformation of consciousness. “

When the words hero or heroic are used, we tend to think really big.  Like saving your village from marauders or saving a baby from a burning house.  But hopefully, those opportunities won’t come around often.

The smaller, micro-hero opportunities do come around often.  Several times a day.  And how much would this shift of consciousness change our internal dialogue next time we prepared for an event or social gathering?

Maybe it changes to:

“How will my energy add to the mix?”

“Whose day can I uplift in some way?”

“How can I best serve the whole and not just me?”

Changes the nature of the experience, doesn’t it?

And look at this final Campbell quote and play around with the two meanings of the word “our”:

“One way or another, we all have to find what best fosters the flowering of our humanity in this contemporary life, and dedicate ourselves to that.”

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