With all the problems in the world today, perhaps the popularity of superhero movies is to be expected. Harry Potter, Thor, X-Men… like millions of others, I went to the movie theater last weekend to see Captain America; A classic hero’s journey tale. The renowned mythologist, Joseph Campbell, stated that we gravitate toward these stories because we need to repeatedly hear the message: The hero must rise to the occasion and then return home! Like a map and compass, these stories provide we viewers (or readers) with the “tools” to get home safely. Each and everyone of us is on a hero’s journey. Rising to the occasion in real life means coping with stressors gracefully, not as a victim. Every superhero will face his or her nemesis. So will we: The boss from hell. A foreclosure. Alcoholism. The ex-spouse from hell, etc. To be honest, the list of stressors is nearly endless. Each hero is given two choices: Rise to the occasion and deal with things gracefully, or declare victimization. There really is no choice! Watching a movie about a self-declared victim is a weak, if not boring, plot line. Perhaps you know this story. It’s one thing to watch superhero movies. It’s quite another to “walk the talk” and become the hero of your own life. There is no time like the present. Campbell also gave this repeated warning. “Live your own life rather than trying to imitate someone’s story.” Be your authentic self. Be an authentic hero!
Stress Tip for The Day:
True to fashion of the hero’s journey, the hero gets some help along the way. Dorothy had the ruby red slippers. Frodo had Gandalf. Luke had Yoda and “the force”. You too, have what Joseph Campbell called “the assistance of spiritual aids:” what I call muscles of the soul (e.g., humor,
patience, forgiveness, optimism, compassion, to name a few). Like the superheros with bulging muscles, we too have muscles. We just have to use them. Yes, we can look at other’s lives and wish we could change places at times, but that’s not how the rules are played. We are THE hero in our own story/journey and we must accept this challenge, returning home with our arms held high in a victorious salute.
Links, Books and Movies Worth Noting:
By no coincidence, this weekend I was also sent a Youtube link for a new documentary about Joseph Campbell’s concept of The Hero’s Journey (see below). Enjoy! And if you haven’t seen the PBS special with Bill Moyers and Joseph Campbell, please do yourself a favor and reintroduce yourself to The Power of Myth. Oh, and by the way, I liked Captain America!
Quote for the Day:
“We save the world by being alive ourselves.” —Joseph Campbell
Photo of the Day:
This photo was taken years ago at the Colorado Renaissance Festival, where children (of all ages) can work their imaginations to hone their skills on the hero’s journey. Enjoy!
Brian Luke Seaward, Ph.D. is an internationally renowned expert in the fields of stress management, mind-body-spirit healing and stress and human spirituality. He is the author of over 10 books including the bestsellers, Stand Like Mountain, Flow Like Water, Stressed Is Desserts Spelled Backward, The Art of Calm, Quiet Mind, Fearless Heart and Managing Stress (7E). He can be reached through his website:www.brianlukeseaward.net
© Brian Luke Seaward, Ph.D.