No one believed it possible, but now they see that one among them has done it! There is no safety in denial any longer. The truth now beckons them to join. Sweenie’s example says it all: “Let go your complacency and FLY!”
”The Cliff Birds: A Story of Hope” The hero’s journey, A jacketed hardbound fable written and illustrated by Miles A Moody.
Sometime in the 1990s I entered into a difficult time in my life, a dark night of the soul I’ve heard it called (a pivotal time of great significance I realize now), but at the time it felt like a living hell. Depression sucked insatiably at my will to live until I arrived at one of those ‘give up and die or give in and thrive’ decision moments. A force had come to bear in me, a force of unbridled love that held a vision for my life that was way beyond anything I could conceive of as possible for me. Problem was that I didn’t have a very high opinion of myself; getting by was my comfort zone; there was so much I didn’t particularly feel worthy of, not that I was willing to admit this to myself. Everything was just fine in my very tiny world until that force of love impacted upon my complacency. I was terrified of its intention for me, but my conscious awareness extended only as deep as that persistent knot of anxiety writhing in my gut.
The famous ‘spiritual psychologist,’ Carl Jung, speaks of archetypes, which I understand to be patterns of behavior that are focused around playing out particular roles in life through which we are given opportunity to mature in an eternal sense. When a person chooses to seize that potential held in the moment and make significant strides forward in their spiritual evolution, they are archetypical heroes and the events of their lives become, from an archetypal point of view, that which is known as ‘*the hero’s journey*.’ As the hero finds the motivation and will within themselves to change how they perceive themselves, so they become able to rise above the self limited condition of their lives. Their transformation has a transformative influence on greater society. Few heroes get their names recorded in history; most simply touch the lives of others without public accolade – devoid of the notice of all, except perhaps, the ones who are empowered through the hero’s influence.
As I began to let go of who I thought I was, I identified more with this heroic influence growing in my awareness. I came to feel somehow joined with the life around me, seeing each element of creation as a unique expression of and from within the same state of worthiness. I discovered for myself that we are all in this together; when one of us manages to recover a deeper sense of worth, our lives are a like a beacon reminding others of where we are all going within ourselves. And it seems to me that we are at various stages in that journey; some more quickly rise in answer to inspiration felt in the hero’s presence; others hesitate, struggling to remain as they are. My depression came out of my need to remain unchanged – in resistance to that force of unconditional love that I now sensed within me, and reflected in the lives of the heroes around me. My depression helped me see the error in my attachment to the belief that security is found in that unchanging and familiar and limited sense of me that I had formulated in my mind over time.
My heart began to open as I let go of the need to shut out this guiding influence. Inspiration came to me, and formulated into a story, a fable that I could choose to use as a roadmap into restoration of the life I had not yet lived, a road map that I would come to know as the hero’s journey, a pathway to a place within us that I like to think of as home. “*The Cliff Birds: A Story of Hope*” is that story. I’m walking that pathway today, guided by the feeling, the presence instilled in its pages and growing ever brighter in my heart. It began as a spark of inspiration that I fed into a flame each time I sat down to write, to draw. The writer, the artist that I had buried away in me began to surface, expressing a new vision for my life. The illustrations took me into the wounded places in my soul. As I applied color to the illustrations, new life was birthed into these unfeeling spaces, setting me free from an innner bondage I no longer required of myself – my spirit of repression transforming – flexing its wings and taking flight into the unknown, unfamiliar and feeling new enthusiasm for that healing exploration.
I continue to seek within, finding the courage to soar on unsteady wings just like the hero in the story, a blue Macaw named Sweenie, not in grand manner, but in the little choices I make in the moment, in how I choose to think and feel, and how I choose to respond to what life brings to me, until I begin to sense the hero in everyone and everything around me, and I allow myself to be drawn into that all pervading and inclusive presence. And like Sweenie I feel the truth in what he says in the closing pages of the book: “Up there on the cliffs, I met something wonderful, something great and peaceful and loving, something larger and more powerful than anything else I have ever known. I don’t know its name, and I can’t fully describe it, but I’m a part of it now, and it’s a part of me.”
I hope I’ve inspired you into better noticing the hero within, a creative presence, an artist who works true love into the simplest of things: the way of speaking to another, a gentle touch, a cherished photograph made available to others, a greeting card sent to a friend, perhaps even in the paintings that at first we can doubt we have in us….even the fellow cutting me off in traffic can be the means through which the hero becomes better known in me….pretty cool, I reckon.