Aug 14

Walking with Heroes

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A while back, I spent a lot of time exploring the idea of the Hero’s Journey and Mythic Archetypes. and it feels like a good time to dust some of that off and share it here for a wider audience. (My clients and newsletter subscribers got access to this programme on line, but I felt it was worth reviewing it and sharing a bit more widely).

The Hero’s Journey describes the key elements of every good story – how our hero leaves the realm of the ordinary world when she receives the call to adventure. a call which he initially refuses, but through a meeting with a mysterious adviser, steps into a new world full of tests, trials, allies and enemies.. and eventually make their way back into the realm of the ordinary, forever changed and with a magical gift that will transform the world.

We see the echoes of this story in many of our fairy tales, in the great sagas of our time. It is of course, the story of Star Wars:

In act one we find our hero Luke Skywalker, stuck on the ordinary world of farming on Tattooine, when he receives the call in the form of a mysterious message stuck in R2D2s memory. On a quest to understand the message, he meets the strange and mysterious Obi-Wan-Kenobi, who takes him under his wing and introduces him to the power of the Force.. initially refusing the call, he finds his bridges – and his farm – burned and he reluctantly heads off into the unknown. He meets new allies along the way, and encounters new enemies, yet confronts death and returns triumphant – transformed by the ordeal from simple farm boy into Jedi warrior and ready to take his place in a new world.

The same story runs through Lord of the Rings, our hero replaced by an unassuming hobbit, who encounters Gandalf the magician and the Fellowship on his journey to save Middle Earth.

I am sure you can find your own echoes of it in your favourite stories and sagas.Aladdin. Cinderella. Arthur and Merlin. Jaws. the Wizard of Oz. The Lion King. The Hunger Games. The Matrix. E.T. and so many, many more.

(I love this comic book version – click through to see a larger view)

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Disney themselves made this the core of their storywriting when Chris Vogler summarised Joseph Campbell’s “The Hero with a Thousand Faces” in a famous memo which became the backbone of the Disney’s storywriting process. The characters change, but the one great story remains.

And the reason why the story works is that it’s the story of each of our lives, in some way. It resonates with the truth of who we are, that for each of us there is an adventure ready to unfold. or an adventure that each of us is already walking. It might be a romance, or an ‘against the odds’ struggle, yet for each of us, when we recognise it, the story rings true.

The characters in the play have their own story to tell, too. the famous psychotherapist Carl Jung created the concept of an archetype, suggesting there were twelve broad patterns of behaviour:

  • Sage
  • Innocent
  • Explorer/Seeker
  • Ruler
  • Creator
  • Caregiver
  • Magician
  • Hero/Warrior
  • Outlaw/Revolutionary
  • Lover
  • Jester/Fool
  • Everyman

Carol S Pearson took this work further in her programme for individuals and for businesses, and in her amazing book “Awakening the Heroes Within”. I can only scratch the surface in this series, but I hope it will provide an accessible introduction that motivates some of you to dig deeper and pick up her book.

I love this work because unlike many of the psychological tools available today (Enneagram, Belbin, Myers Briggs and so on) this one doesn’t seek to put people in a box so much as become aspirational.

When I first did the analysis to show which the primary heroes were active in my own life, I found that the area I was weakest was as the Warrior – I was not good at enforcing boundaries and fighting for what I saw to be right. I could look at that and decide to change it. not to change the core of who I am, but to strengthen an area that I saw weak.

And as I did the work, and looked at the stories for each of these Heroes, I could see the unfolding of some stories that mirrored my life experience and helped me to understand the context, what to avoid and to see what would come next if I continued on the journey.

I and the people I have worked with have found the ideas wonderfully helpful.. and so I thought I would open it up, share it all on the blog, and let others find what catches fire for them..

So, over the next few weeks, I’m going to publish the episodes of the ‘Walking With Heroes’ programme to the blog every few days. There’s a lot of content so I don’t want to give you indigestion! I hope you enjoy it – and I suspect that at some point, if you’re paying attention, one or more of the characters will resonate with you and you’ll suddenly realise ””That’s me!”

And at the end I will share the tool I have used to work out where people are on the Hero Spectrum – to see what’s working in their lives, and perhaps understand a little more of what’s going on.

Enjoy the journey…

 

Find out more at www.timhodgson.org

Feb 19

You are magic . . .

dragons

This quote from Richard Bach’s true love story ‘Bridge Across Forever’ is one of my favourites – and I make no apologies for using it again. It draws from deep within me a knowledge that something else is going on in this world that we’re not always aware of. That there is something deeply mysterious, exciting and enchanted about this world we live in.

Somewhere, deep down inside us, we KNOW we are magical. We KNOW that this world in which we live is not all there is. We KNOW that at some metaphysical level the fairy tales and stories are true. Somewhere deep inside we are certain that we are not dull, boring, average, powerless. Somewhere we carry the truth of who we are, and that we are powerful beyond measure. Sometimes we see it – we become conscious of something more than the immediate evidence. Sometimes a thrill runs up and down our spines and we KNOW, in certainty, that stories, myths and legends are true, and that we are the hero of the story. Just sometimes, the veil slips and we remember who we are.

If there was one thing I would whisper to each of us, it would be this: “You’re not dust – you are magic.”

For Mollie, for whom a story isn’t a story if it doesn’t have a dragon in it.

Feb 14

This moment

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When we truly pay attention to each moment, when we throw ourselves fully into it, when we choose to experience it and then, having experienced it, choose to act – then we realise that all the power of the Universe is focussed into the Now. That single unique, precious moment becomes the opportunity we have to change our world – and in changing our world, changing the world of others.

Care to play?

Feb 12

Living in the blur

tardis

Quote from Terry Pratchett – check. Reference to Doctor Who – check. Thoughtful blog post… we’ll see!

It’s so easy to get stuck in the past, looking back to what was. We can live in a state of regret for mistakes made, opportunities missed, unkind words spoken. We think ‘if only’ and wish that we’d done things differently.

Or we look back to how wonderful things were, when we were younger, or when life was easier – past excitements and achievements, moments of pleasure, The moments that thrilled us remain in our memory, ready for us to unpack them out of their tissue paper.

(Interestingly, scientists suggest that we remember things better when we live viscerally in the moment, rather than recording it on video or photograph. We think we’re preserving the memory, but because we didn’t LIVE that moment fully, then the memory fades faster.)

The present seems to be this space where we struggle to get by, living from moment to moment, yet not truly experiencing those moments… haunted by the past, missing the memories and fearful about an uncertain future – or hopeful that things will work out.

And so we live in this fuzzy space of uncertainty – living in the past, worried about the future, yet not truly experiencing NOW.

And NOW is where it’s happening. NOW is the moment that we have real power. NOW is the moment upon which destinies change. We have infinite power in this moment to change our lives, and to change the lives of those around us. One decision changes the world. Maybe just a little – but it does. Such is the power that we have when we truly choose to experience life. Every single cosmic possibility exists in this moment of NOW.

Live it.

Feb 11

Teach your children

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I have been profoundly influenced by the writings of Neale Donald Walsch…. and loved this excerpt from “Communion with God”…

Teach these truths to your children….

Teach your children that they need nothing outside of themselves to be happy, neither person, place, or thing, and that true happiness is found within. Teach them that they are sufficient in themselves.

Teach your children that failure is a fiction, that every trying is a success, and that every effort is what achieves the victory, with the first no less honourable than the last.

Teach your children that they are deeply connected to all of life, that they are one with all people, and that they are never separate from God.

Teach your children that they live in a world of magnificent abundance, that there is enough for everyone, and that it is in sharing the most, not in gathering the most, that the most is received.

Teach your children that there is nothing that they are required to be or to do to be eligible for a life of dignity and fulfilment, that they need not compete with anyone for anything, and that God’s blessings are meant for everyone.

Teach your children that they will never be judged, that they need not worry about always getting it right, and that they do not have to change anything, or “get better,” to be seen as Perfect and Beautiful in the eyes of God.

Teach your children that consequences and punishment are not the same thing, that death does not exist, and that God would never condemn anyone. 

Teach your children that there are no conditions to love, that they need not worry about ever losing God’s love, and that their own love, unconditionally shared, is the greatest gift they can give to the world.

Teach your children that being special does not mean being better, that claiming superiority over someone is not seeing them for who they really are, and that there is great healing in acknowledging, “mine is not a better way, mine is merely another way.”

Teach your children that there is nothing that they cannot do, that the illusion of ignorance can be eradicated from the Earth, and that all anyone really needs is to be given back to themselves by being reminded of Who They Really Are.

Teach these things not with your words, but with your actions; not with discussion, but with demonstration. For it is what you do that your children will emulate, and how you are that they will become.

Teach them these things, and you will have taught them grandly.

Go now and teach these things not only to your children, but to all people and all nations. For all people are your children, and all nations are your home, when you set out on the Journey to Mastery.

Feb 01

Why are you here?

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“A Course in Miracles” puts it very clearly and directly.

You are in the room to heal the room.

You are in the space to heal the space.

There is no other reason for you to be here.

At the deepest level, the reason for you and I to be here, wherever ‘here’ is, is to bring love and healing to others. “Who, me?” Yes. You. And each one of us. You might be surprised, but we’re actually very good at it – each and every one of us – unless we forget who we are. Because actually Love is who we are.

And ultimately, that’s how success in this life is measured, at least at a metaphysical level. Did we do what love would do?  Were we kind? Did we care? Did we bring healing into people’s lives?

Now I’m not necessarily talking about ‘nice’. Any parent will tell you that the best thing sometimes is tough love.. but, in the end, are we acting from love or from fear? Is what motivates us the best interests of the other person… or our own fear of rejection and loss of love?

(And I’m not necessarily talking about being selfless, either. Our deepest and most sacred mission is to love ourselves.  Often it’s harder to love and forgive ourselves than to love and forgive another.)

And, really, this isn’t hard stuff. It doesn’t take a lot. A kind word to the girl at the checkout line might make her life just that little bit more pleasant… and she might go home and be just that little bit kinder to her family. Letting that driver pull out might make him just that little bit less stressed – and he might end up making the right decision that saves an entire community. We don’t know what are random acts of kindness will bring… but the one thing is – the world will be a better place because you’ve been randomly kind!

Whatever situation we walk into, where ever we find ourselves, the first question we need to ask is “What would love do in this situation?” What would be the kindest thing, the most caring thing? What is it that needs to be done, right here, right now, to bring peace, to create love, to bring healing, to encourage another? And the second question is “Am I willing to do what needs to be done?”

1-TimSignature

Jan 25

Struck by lightning. . . .

Lightning_strike_jan_2007I was going to write something different today, I really was. But out on my bike in the middle of the Northamptonshire countryside, the sky began to grow darker, and a light rain began to fall. Over the gentle slopes in the middle distance, the sky darkened to a deep, roiling indigo, and out of the blackness a shard of electricity carved its way from the heavens, while a millisecond later another joined it, to be followed by a third. A few seconds later, the sky was filled with a roaring as if of a landslide or the growl of an angrily awakened giant. A few moments later the scene was repeated, a little closer this time. I stood and watched the spectacle repeat itself, conscious of the dangerous energies that were gathering yet transfixed by the beauty of the sight as trees were silhouetted in the stark flashes  that ripped open a cobalt sky. The rain got heavier and turned to the harshness of hail, and I pulled my hood over my helmet and reluctantly turned my face away from the sky, working hard to make it to shelter before the arcs of untamed electricity got too close.

space dreamsThawing out in my office, my eyes were drawn to the image on my desktop, a picture of the billions of stars that make up the Milky Way, so many that many of them seemed to coalesce into clouds scattered across a night sky.

 

 

And I marvelled. Marvelled at the hugeness of creation, the wonderful, beautiful vastness of it all. I wondered what there was out there to discover, what amazing secrets it held. What wonders lie out there amongst the stars? And I marvelled at the energies that the sky could unfold with a simple rainstorm, effortless magic unleashes by Nature herself.

And yet all of this is almost as nothing compared to the creative power within the human spirit. Within each one of us crackles the creative force that calls dream into reality, that earths imagination and vision and turns into something real. Each one of us holds within ourselves the creative power of the universe, waiting to be released and to create, to build, to write, to paint, to play, to invent, to sculpt, to dance – to become something other.

That force is within you… and within me. None of us is special – and yet every one of us is special, gifted with the power to shape the universe. What will we do with it today?

1-TimSignature

Jan 24

Rule your destiny

whirlpoolI’ve done a lot of work on the stories that weave themselves in and out of our lives – the mythic characters that appear in our lives at different points in our evolution. At one point our lives are ruled by the Warrior, bringing a sense of right and wrong, of protection (of ourselves or others), of fighting to succeed, or of facing down opposition – at other times by the Love, seeking to bring romance and passion into our lives. Other days it will be the calm introspection of the Seeker, curious and seeking to find out just what makes the Universe tick, or looking deep into his own heart to work out what moves him – or the carefree energy of the Adventurer, throwing caution to the winds, throwing it all in to set off on a new adventure. I’ve found all of these – and more – active in my life at one time or another. (If you want to learn more, check out the links below).

At some point in our lives we find ourselves seeking to rule our lives – to take control of our resources, to deploy them well, to create order and peace in the land. We rise to a pinnacle of achievement. We become successful, well regarded. All is well and all is in control. This is the dominant energy of the Ruler – and all is well. The Ruler brings stability and safety.

King Arthur ruled his kingdom wisely and well, fairly and with justice.. and yet a different energy still ran through the Land – the energy of the Wizard.

The Wizard brings the energy of change, a disruptive, powerful, magical energy that threatens to tear down the establishment. It is the Wizard energy that causes things to happen – sometimes the things you don’t expect, but always the things that are needed, because the Wizard is channelling the raw creative power of the Universe, earthing the cosmic force of Creation to bring a flow of newness and vibrancy.

You might recognise the two forces in your own life – the desire for peace, safety and order balancing out the desire for the excitement of change.

Without the energy of the Wizard, the kingdom soon degenerates into dull staidness, into a sense of doing things ‘because that’s how things are done’. Without the control of the Ruler, magic becomes uncontrolled fireworks and chaos. The secret to true power is to find the way to balance the two. They will never exist in peace – the crackling sparks of tension continue to arc between the two – but both must be held in tension together.

If you find your life feeling dull, then create some magic. Do something new. Change your hair, your clothes, your job, your hobbies. Dance in the rain. Splash in the puddles. Do something magical for someone.

If all feels chaotic then stop. Breathe. Make a list. Take control back. Marshal your resources. Stop doing too much. Help someone who needs it. But don’t let it become dull… always remember to breathe in the magic….

As Elton Pope put it in Doctor Who:

“When you’re a kid, they tell you it’s all… Grow up, get a job, get married, get a house, have a kid, and that’s it. But the truth is, the world is so much stranger than that. It’s so much darker. And so much madder. And so much better.”

Release the magic. Allow the story to unfold. Dance on the edge between control and chaos. Take the time to breathe in the aroma of fresh ground coffee… and know that as you do, you begin to harness the energies of creation.

1-TimSignature

To learn more about the mythic archetypes work, take a look at Carol Pearson’s site at http://www.herowithin.com/ or sign up for my free programme “Walking With Heroes” at http://timothyhodgson.com/the-store/pathway/. Or drop me an email and I’ll send you a little quiz to work out which heroes are active in your life.

Jan 22

Je ne regrette rien

neuralizerI know that there are actually some things that I regret. Stupid things I have said, unkind words I have said. There are moments when I have hurt others.. and I am not particularly proud of those moments. I may not be able to ask forgiveness of anyone that I have hurt – but I can choose to forgive myself. I can chose to be kind to myself, to go easy on myself.. and having learned the lesson, to move on. Everything that happens to us is designed to draw us closer to our truth.

But the big life decisions that I have made….? I don’t regret them, one little bit. Because they have brought me to who I am, to the person who I am.

I know that life in the future will bring choices to each one of us. Choices to be amazing, incredible, wonderful, gorgeous, talented. Choices that will enable us to step out into a brave, bold future. Choices that bring hope, that bring excitement, that bring possibilities.

I want to make the bold choices, the brave choices. I want to decide to do the the things that will make my heart sing, the things that will make a difference, the things that will bring love and life to others. I know I will make mistakes, take the wrong path from time to time – and yet I have faith that if I do, then the universe is self correcting – that simply by the process of ‘getting it wrong’ there are things that I will learn and that, ultimately, I’m going to end up in the right place.

There is a choice when making a decision, when considering what to do, and it’s this: we are motivated by either love or fear. And the right question to ask is “What would love do now?”

Love is bold, strong, courageous, powerful. Love is kind and tender. Love looks for us to grow, to learn, to become bigger, to step into more of our magnificence. Love doesn’t play safe. Love doesn’t shrink back. Love steps forward and allows us to be true to who we are.

Listen to your heart.

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It’s a crazy world out there. It’s a crazy world…
Let’s hope our prayers are in good hands tonight.

(Per Gessle)