…Yet we are reluctant heroes and refuse to don the red shoes on a daily basis, awaiting the perfect occasion to walk on them. Sometimes we expect trumpeters to let us know that the grand occasion has arisen. Such occasion rarely comes, if ever. It is an illusion that we live by, because we don’t believe we have hero’s potential. We want proof of our mettle and abide in fear and non-action. Why can’t we see through this lie? This past week provided me with some clues.
In discussions on life purpose and soul journeys with clients and friends, and reflecting upon my own adventure, I confirmed that miracles happen and are visible, that presence is not only important, it is crucial in order to recognize the ego-mind in action and that, as Joseph Campbell stated, it is the “privilege of a lifetime” to be who I am. So, I re-dedicated myself, to continue with Campbell’s language, to fully accept that I am a hero. Thus, when I saw myself doubting that I had what it takes, felt sad, miserable and unloved, I realized that I had crossed into the “inmost cave”. I stepped into my red shoes and facing the ego with compassion, I was ready to claim my reward: peace within.
My hero’s journey stepped up in pace in 2009 when I decided to accept my deep yearning to express myself through art over other activities I enjoyed. I knew I had skills garnered through a rigorous training in art schools. I earned prizes and coveted rewards as a visual artist since I was a little girl. Yet, I perceived that it was not enough to secure my dad’s love. As he did not approve my career of choice, my art related activities often got in the way of what it took for me, to be a good person in my dad’s eyes. Four years ago, in seeing my newfound resolve to dedicate myself to the creation of art, dad explained unknown to me circumstances of the past and sincerely apologized for his lack of support. He became my biggest fan. From that day on and until his death, he asked that I send him pictures of my newest paintings, requested long explanations on technique and insisted that I dedicate a room and time to create. This hero believed that the battle was won. I did not realize that there was a very reluctant and persistent hero buried deep inside me, who was afraid to come out and play full on. In pop psychology is called the “child within”.
This “inner child” is often stuck in time and resides in the obscure realm of the subconscious. We become aware of its existence anytime we perceive we are in a vulnerable spot that in some way reprises the time when this “child”, a by-product of the ego mind, was born amidst fear. I knew of her existence through psycho-therapy and continued to work with “her” in meditation, by acknowledging and providing a nurturing space to ally “her fears”. The mixed media framed painting here is aptly called “Healing the Child Within”. The art and the accompanying poem can be seen in more detail here. I created it to allow for the cleansing and healing of the emotional patterns that were keeping me from my dreams. I accepted the child’s presence fully, reassured and loved her unconditionally.
In contemplating this work, we start by focusing on the representation of the soul’s yearnings refusing to be swallowed by the ego. It is the mirrored shape with lavender color flailing petals in the top portion of the paper, choosing to move on as the body disintegrates in fear. This emotion is represented by the little figures swirling about and the black paint dubs moving and rearranging themselves on the different layers of existence, refusing to surrender. But wait! New possibilities come into play. Out of trust and persistence, we can see fire engulfing the past-the red paper closest to the frame, and we can accept the blessings of the sun-the bright yellow, the power of the moon-white splotches, and the strength of the earth-the fat rectangles, to create the fertile ground of endless possibility in the presence of pure love born in forgiveness. This is represented by the spiral of rebirth with the jewel, our Buddha nature and connection to Source, right in the center of the swirl. This is the soul’s home, our home. Yet, as the wavy shapes imply, this ego child requires constant monitoring…
When our thoughts tangle with ego’s unbridled enthusiasm, it yields pain and suffering. I wanted peace so I negotiated a truce with ego. Joseph Campbell wrote that if we don’t accept our yearnings, we end up dying inside. Ego is afraid to die. I proposed to ego joint continued life here in this dimension by accepting that my yearnings are the whispers of the soul, and to ego, I assigned the job of reminding me of my most wonderful attributes with its accustomed zest and zeal. Just one caveat, that only I could decide how lovable and valuable I am. Ego is still quite a reluctant hero and like a lovable teenager, it needs to be reined in every now and again with total presence and kindness. I reminded ego that this last choice is non-negotiable, because it is part of my “hero’s journey” that I will refuse no more with the same zeal and zest. I suggested that it is a win/win deal. Then things started to happen…
A dear friend had an amazing spiritual experience and was able to photograph the full event and describe her feelings with utmost clarity. I deemed it a true miracle in direct response to her quest to serve her soul’s purpose. My courageous commitment to mindful presence paved the way to release the grip the little old child still had and I was able to invite one of my most treasured people to walk together on the extraordinary field of possibility yet to be uncovered. So I am claiming my reward: I am at peace.
I invite you to contemplate with the painting, what role is your child within playing for you. Can you see how it is intimately tangled with your yearnings? Are you ready to see miracles everywhere? Are you committed to accept your soul’s yearnings and live fully as the hero that you are ? Can you now see that you too have ruby shoes so powerful that can get you home anytime? Can you see that home is your loving heart?
Happy New Year!