Always do what you are afraid to do.~Ralph Waldo Emerson
Have you ever felt like you were just not good enough? That somehow everyone had received the handbook for life, except you? Do you keep waiting for the moment when you will finally arrive and feel like you have made it?
Yes, I have been there too. When I was younger, I was sure that age 35 was when I would definitely arrive at my full self — that I would finally become who I really was and who I was meant to be.
When I turned 35, I was in a state of shock when I realized I had not arrived at this age as I had imagined. I did not have it all figured out. Far from it.
How had I arrived at this spot in my life and still felt like I had so much to do to get where I wanted to be in my career? With so many unknowns?
A hero is an ordinary individual who finds the strength to persevere and endure in spite of overwhelming obstacles.~Christopher Reeve
What makes us love Harry Potter or most action movies? Why do we always cheer for the good guys? Why do we love a good story of challenge, perseverance and triumph?
Why makes these stories timeless?
The story of the hero has not changed for thousands of years. Since ancient times our traditions and culture venerate the myth of the hero on a mission. A hero leaves his or her home, faces challenges, triumphs and usually returns home as a changed man or women.
In 1990 the late American writer and intellectual Joseph Campbell wrote of the hero’s journey — the mythological journey that all men and women go through in life. He believed that the highest purpose in life was to complete this journey like some mythological voyage.
A hero is without shape and beyond time; the human need for heroes transcends all cultures.
You wouldn’t worry so much about what others think of you if you realized how seldom they do.~Eleanor Roosevelt
I’ve always been shy. I’ve become accustomed to being called “the quiet one.” My mum tells stories of me hiding my face away whenever we had company when I was just a wee toddler — a toddler who, through genetic build up and perhaps social conditioning, acted on his instinct to cover up and hide away.
As I grew, so did my anxiety. From my childhood innocence, I transformed into a more receptive, sensitive young man. These were optimum conditions for anxiety to grow, like warmth and dampness to bacteria.
My older brother’s bar-mitzvah exposed and perhaps exaggerated my anxieties. As obligated by tradition and expectation, my nine-year-old self took to the stage to deliver the brother and sister speech.
The speech was received well, but my nervous laughing gradually turned to crying, the situation too overwhelming for my anxious little soul. I once again took to hiding my face — my sister’s arm a shield against the nerves and embarrassment I felt looking into the crowd.
The episode was laughed off by those in attendance, put down to my shyness and my youth. But as I grew older, with hair growing where it once didn’t and muscles starting to show up, inside I was still this shy, scared boy of nine.
What a liberation to realize that the “voice in my head” is not who I am. Who am I then? The one who sees that.~Eckhart Tolle
We all lead busy lives. In today’s world, it’s as if it’s a badge of honor. Always rushing to the next thing. Working late to meet that deadline to please a boss or client. Driving from one kid’s soccer practice to the other.
With all of the busyness that fills our days, weeks and months, our mental space begins to fill simultaneously. Internal thinking begins to pile high collecting dust. Stress and anxiety begin to form, ultimately, transcending into our outer world. Our days become even busier with stress and anxiety layered on top.
This is especially true during times of personal struggle. Our mental space becomes so cluttered with thoughts of reality, sprinkled in with fictitious inner-ramblings that we often find it hard to decipher between the two.
When my wife and I decided to sell our business of three years, it put us in a not-so-desirable position financially. As we found ourselves struggling, I, without even knowing, handed the keys of my outer world to my inner world’s chattering ego.
A mother is she who can take the place of all others, but whose place no one else can take.~Cardinal Mermillod
One morning while preparing for school, my sister and I were suddenly hurried to the car. I couldn’t help but notice all the people coming into the house and speaking in low tones. Some even managed to point in our direction, shaking their heads.
I was a kid, but I wasn’t dumb. I knew the inevitable had happened. I had lost my mother. I felt terrible, but then I refused to cry. I was glad that her pain and suffering had finally come to an end.
You see, my mother was a very beautiful woman. And if perhaps you didn’t notice her because of her looks, you would definitely be captivated by her charming smile.
The earliest vivid memory I have of her was during my nursery school graduation. That was a long time ago. I was probably around five or six, but the picture still adorns my wall to this day.