Tag Archives: hero’s journey

Chuck’s Place: Becoming Your Own Best Father

Chuck’s father playing taps for FDR on the day of his death…the day the nation lost its father…

When father appears in dreams or active imagination, look beyond personal father; look to the rules, judgments, beliefs, and attitudes that inwardly dominate your personality. Though he may bear the image of personal father, we all have an inner father that is our own, separate and distinct from the father of our conception.

Ego self is the child of the father. It remains for the maturing ego to confront the father’s rule. This takes the form of discovering the beliefs, attitudes, and judgments that govern perceptions and rule behaviors. This process can be quite challenging as the edicts of the father may be quite contrary to how the ego views itself and wants to be in the world. The energy and sternness of the inner father may be quite a formidable force and young ego might feel itself quite incapable of taking charge.

Sometimes ego self elects to blindly be ruled by the constraints of the father. Sometimes ego self identifies and emboldens itself with the opinions of father, never daring to discover its own true nature. Sometimes ego self, like a young Nero, assumes the emperor’s throne, assuming power with childlike exuberance and entitlement, becoming a little self-indulgent tyrant. This immature grab for power refuses to encounter and discriminate the wisdom of the fathers before assuming control, an obvious recipe for disaster, like the burning of Rome that ended Nero’s reign. Ultimately, ego self must assume the journey of true self-discovery, the Hero’s Journey, or remain forever a child, governed by the commandments of the almighty father.

It’s true!

Kronos, King of the Titans, ruled the heavens without challenge, as he forced his wife Rhea, to deliver each of their children directly to him upon their births for his consumption. Finally, Rhea, fed up with him—no pun intended—cleverly substituted a stone which she gave to Kronos instead of her next baby who upon birth was named Zeus. Ultimately, Zeus defeated his father and a new era was allowed to be born. Here is the obvious lesson of ego self taking control and ousting the father so that new life may flourish unencumbered.

As the Mayan calendar comes to a close, we too find ourselves on the brink of a new era, where old judgments, attitudes, beliefs, and rules are giving way to a new order. The signs are everywhere. The demise of the old Republican party protecting unbridled greed is one sure sign, as is the truth of global warming coming to the fore, as we face what we humans have done to our planet. In addition, gay marriage is now the law in many states; a Black president has been reelected, his rule no longer an impulsive fluke of the electorate. A woman president is undoubtedly next. These are all outward changes to appropriately wresting power from the domineering father of old and establishing new guidelines for a healthy and fulfilling life.

The Hero’s Journey requires that we venture beyond the father’s reach, that is, go beyond the conventional wisdom we’ve internalized that dictates the conclusions of our mind. We must be ready to accept full responsibility for discovering and taking charge of the truth, inner and outer, becoming like Zeus and defeating Kronos within us. We must also be prepared to accept the shattering that catapults us from the comfortable confines of socialization and the known; the shattering that is inevitable if we are to disengage father from our beings. We are not who we think we are; our minds are not our own until we make them so.

We must take ownership of our inner father, and become like Zeus defeating his father’s vicious entitlement. Ultimately, what that means is that we must confront all the beliefs and attitudes that have comfortably ruled us and protected us from our deeper truths and the greater unknown, both within and without. We must face our own destinies as individuals on our own journeys to fulfillment.

A new inner father breeds contentment…

Only through taking the Hero’s journey now, at this most energetic juncture in our lifetimes, can we participate in the world renewal and transformation that is indeed imbued in the energy of 2012. It’s a personal thing as well as a global thing—one massive interdependent whole delivering itself from the anachronistic father, into a new era.

On time,

Chuck’s Place: Young Heroes

Preparing for the hero's journey...

Life in this world is a hero’s journey for all living beings. We arrive here in utter need and dependence, and must all become heroes, forging our way to security and independence.

Traumatized children are catapulted ahead on their journeys to adulthood, forced into autonomy long before their childhood needs for safety and nurturance have been met. They must stalk a position well beyond their years and, like all heroes, they must brave the uncertainty and overwhelming odds of a deeply predatory, competitive world.

Under ideal circumstances, the hero initiates the heroic journey at an appropriate age, well prepared, with a deep well of inner security to be drawn upon as challenges arise. Young traumatized heroes, on the other hand, are thrust prematurely onto their journeys, without choice and the resource of confidence. To the contrary, their inner world is filled with the demons of terror and emptiness, as each encounter with the world is met with trepidation, vigilance and, often, paralyzing anxiety. The heroic journey of such young traumatized heroes consists mainly of survival; carefully reading and dodging the dangers of the outer world, and holding together inwardly against the threat of dissolution.

Such young heroes construct a false adult persona, tailored to assure survival. This persona may be quite pleasing to the outside world, a being eager to turn to and care for the needs of others, the listener everyone seeks out. This persona might exude modesty and calm self-assuredness, or carefully hide in the shadows, never seen, never picked; the classmate never noticed in a graduating class. Regardless of outer demeanor and presentation, traumatized heroes inwardly harbor deep shame, anxiety, and inferiority; feeling punished and undeserving of a place in the world. They feel no true ownership of accomplishments or the aire of confidence they might exude; it’s all about survival and holding together.

Just hanging on...

As young heroes move into actual adulthood, they often accrue the necessary skills to secure a home and career in the world. Deeply practiced in the skills of survival, they have learned how to succeed, though inwardly this success offers little safety or comfort, as anxiety, fear, and the ever-present danger of dissolution remain forever present. In addition, genuine fun, satisfaction, and relaxation seem dangerous activities—to be avoided at all costs—however longed for, as the hero remains ever-cognizant of the unpredictability of danger in the world.

As young heroes move deeper into the cycle of life, something within the self signals that it is time for the hero to take up the challenge of reconciliation with the past, as traumatized material stored for decades begins to trickle to the surface of dream and consciousness, or is triggered by resonant events in the outside world. The hero self, what I call the present self, is now called upon to take up the challenge of discovering and recovering its true nature in the process of recapitulation, by reliving the past and retrieving all lost parts of the self.

As traumatized young heroes, many experiences had to be stored away and forgotten for the sake of survival. Many needs and feelings had to be abandoned. Embedded as they were in early trauma, too dangerous to cultivate in the war zone of trauma, too confusing to understand at such a young age, these experiences and needs had to be sacrificed. A contract had to be drawn to delay their processing until well into the future, when the seed of life had matured into a more stable tree.

The present self must remember, as it opens to this most unnerving challenge of recapitulation, that it is a hero—granted an incomplete hero—but the hero that has brought life forward to this point of transition and transformation. The present self has all it needs to take the journey of recapitulation, uncharted and unfamiliar though that journey may be. The hero is called when it is called because something in nature, something in spirit, recognizes that it’s time for the young hero to finally claim its full inheritance, awaiting retrieval in the trials of recapitulation.

Setting off...

Trust nature; trust spirit, in the timing of the call. You have all you need. Form a partnership with the recapitulation process and know that help will be provided, but must be asked for—always a challenge for young heroes.

Trust the call to adventure. Trust the hero and its ability to fully take the adventure through the fragmented land of recapitulation and emerge out the other side of time, in the land of wholeness and calm, a fully reclaimed hero at last.

On the adventure,