“The big question is whether you are going to be able to say a hearty yes to your adventure.”
The problem with the word “adventure” is definition. No one can be certain of the exact description because it depends on the unique characteristics of an individual. Most like the idea of an adventure, but when the call to the adventure comes, it may slip by unnoticed, or be considered an uninvited guest. Saying a “hearty yes” is accepting both the good and bad of a journey, exploit or deed.
Joseph Campbell breaks down the Hero’s Journey into three acts with several stages. Act one begins with the ordinary world, the safe place where we feel comfortable and fully in control of the situation. We are unaware of what is to come. Then comes the call, which is a demand for action to counteract a direct threat to ourselves or the well-being of family and friends. But when we realize the difficulty that lies ahead, we refuse the call, doubting our ability to tackle the task.
I received “my call” the other night when I heard a dreadful clanging coming from my washing machine that resonated through our home. It must be an anomaly, I reasoned as I added another load to my once-reliable washer. The washer would not budge. Herein lies the problem: I do not consider washing clothes by hand an adventure, nor do I think that I have a special talent in this area. Besides, the idea of being on a Hero’s journey is incompatible within our world of the ordinary.
And then the unexpected happened. Wringing out towels and feeling the ache in my arms, I came to understand my adventure. I looked backward. I felt a kinship and respect for my grandmothers and great-grandmothers who washed for large families, hanging out their wash on clotheslines in the heat of summer and the cold of mid-winter. I felt the deep need of the present. I was washing my clothes with drinking water that many in our world lacked. And finally, I felt a responsibility for the future. Water conservation begins in small ways.
Adventures end with enlightenment, with a new-found understanding. The repetitive nature of washing gave me a fresh perspective about the hero’s quest. It is seeing the greater journey in the daily tasks that seem ordinary and inconsequential, even mundane. There is meaning and consequences in everything we do.
May we always be able to say a “hearty yes.”
There is a time when you must let go…when memories will give strength…and tears courage. Friendship endures.
“Your lost friends are not dead, but gone before, advanced a stage or two upon that road which you must travel in the steps they trod.”
Aristophanes (448 – 380 BC) Greece
September is my favourite month. There is energy, freshness in the breeze as I walk on Vancouver’s famous Seawall. On a clear September morning, I can see the water touch the mountains.
“Men go back to the mountains, as they go back to sailing ships at sea, because in the mountains and on the sea they must face up.” Henry David Thoreau
With the sun high in the heavens, and a gently chilled wind at our back, we sailed to Bowen Island, British Columbia. As I looked across the glittering water, I remembered a poem from high school: The Secret of the Sea by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. I have included a few lines….
Ah! what pleasant visions haunt me
As I gaze upon the sea!
All the old romantic legends,
All my dreams, come back to me.
In each sail that skims the horizon,
In each landward-blowing breeze,
I behold that stately galley,
Hear those mournful melodies;
Till my soul is full of longing
For the secret of the sea,
And the heart of the great ocean
Sends a thrilling pulse through me.
This past weekend, I picked up a 100% Natural Trail Mix, a coastal berry blend. I loved the tag line – “real food for real people.” I give the marketing team top marks for their branding message. I turned over the package to read the fine print (i.e. how many calories). And that is where I found the perfect quote to end our remarkable month of July.
“Sometimes getting lost is the best way to find yourself.”
By the way, in my experience – sometimes the pathways are just as exciting. And there are benches along the way…
I begin my day with a quote, a poem or a thought. I have found these words inspire me to think differently, to consider alternatives, to embrace human experience and to seek the infinite. Today, my thought was from August Strindberg (1849 – 1912) Sweden. Considered the father of modern Swedish literature, he experienced rejection before his theatrical breakthrough at thirty-two. He was a renaissance man with a wide range of interests: painter, photographer, alchemist, philosopher and telegrapher.
“By attempting the impossible one can attain the highest level of the possible.”
Today, I will attempt the impossible. Not certain what that will be, but I’m sure that I will find out as the day progresses…