IGNITION…CHECK!

“The privilege of a lifetime is being who you are.” –Joseph Campbell

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In concurrence with the above (spot on) quote…I shared with you in “Tootsie Rollin” about discovering “YOUR YOU”. This built on top of who YOU are in the midst of the whole in “For the Love of Legos”.  Which followed “Imatard, Uatard, Avatard”  where we came to understand that you are a piece of something bigger, or a reflection of who you are around. “I see you.” Remember? All that which is your privilege to be.IMG_4365

Links to the above blogs I mentioned:

Imatard, Uatard, Avatard

For the Love of Legos

Tootsie Rollin’

So…

To wrap up my Heroes Journey series, I feel it is important to discuss The last stage: The Return and discovery.

Prior to the return, you were fighting battles, knocking out soul terrorists, and possibly hating your life at times. Luckily, when we are open to it, and you have kicked your own ass, you will discover the reward that awaits you. This may be the hand of your princess/prince, the “kingdom” you wanted, money, fame, or a big chocolate bar…it doesn’t matter. What does matter is this: You accepted your call, you fought hard, you pushed through, and YOU WON! Now you come home to tell us about it…with your chocolatey princess at your side.

There has got to be a reward for you. Create your reward if you don’t think you got one. Go on a vacation, get a massage, spend time with someone that energizes your soul.(Nat Geo) You deserve it.IMG_4131

I have saved the best, or my favorite part of his work, for last: “Follow Your Bliss”. This isn’t just a pretty saying or a mere mantra. It is the beacon of light you are longing for. It is following and connecting with your “bliss” as you push on through your darkest points. This is where your deep sense of being is informing you…go where your body and soul want to go…listen to that voice inside. Moreover, following your bliss is what gets you going, it drives you, it makes you giggle, it motivates, it catapults, it makes every cell of your amazing structure IGNITE! So…what is your bliss?

Campbell believes this bliss has been there all the while, waiting for you to discover it. Or maybe to stop and reflect on what it is? What do you wake up at night thinking you wish you could do? What is something that gets your fires blazing? The thing that holds you apart from the rest? What adventure is calling to you? What makes you feel most alive? WHAT IS THE THING YOU CAN’T NOT DO?

“Wherever you are—if you are following your bliss, you are enjoying that refreshment, that life within you, all the time.

 -Joseph Campbell

This bliss is with you all the time because it is the thing leading you from the inside. It is guiding you through all the twists and turns of this lifetime. Therefore, if you are following this passion, you are enjoying the sweet nectar of YOUR life. And if you aren’t…I challenge you to pause, reflect and discover…this inner most, exciting part of YOU! Oh, I am so enthused for you. You matter. Your bliss matters. YOUR YOU matters…GO FIND IT! JUST GO!!!

IMG_4105While meditating, or simply stilling my mind, I heard this: “I will write. I will travel. I will teach.” That is my bliss. My bliss is inspiring people through my words, my experiences and my ability to connect with others no matter what language I speak, they speak, my skin color, or theirs. My last night in Rome, within 48 hours of my arrival…I was flipping pancakes in a small cafe with Laura and Anita: two local, limited English-speaking, beautiful souls. We were laughing so hard! We talked about life. We joked about silly things. We discussed my book. Laura said she wanted to buy my first copy. Connection: true connection, discovered on the path of following my bliss, following my souls journey.

From doing some self inventory and recognizing, owning and continuing to follow my bliss…I decided it was time to write a personal vision statement. I believe that this may change at times. You may refine it. You may discover a new path, in your new Heroes Journey, where your bliss evolves…and your passion reveals a sense of newness. Today, my vision statement is this:

“To reach, teach and energize people to discover their purpose, connect with their authentic selves, and be inspired.”

The opening quote inspires my heart. I couldn’t agree with him more. YOUR privilege of YOUR lifetime is being YOU. Period. My mom is coming to visit this weekend. She mentioned to me that she did her “I am” list from “Tootsie Rollin.” She told me last night she is bringing it with her to share with me. What an honor! Thank you mom, for your readiness to share with me who you are today. So, I ask again…Who are you? It is YOUR privilege.

I shared a few photos from my voyage across Europe in this blog in order to, as my vision statement suggests, teach, reach and energize…YOU…to accept your call, battle the demons inside, and discover the reward, while SIMULTANEOUSLY FOLLOWING YOUR BLISS!!

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“The two most important days of your life are the day you were born and the day your realized why.”-Mark Twain

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First off…a big THANK YOU for all your warm remarks and comments regarding my blog. I continue to be shocked at the amount of views I receive and the positive reflections people are having. Please feel free to leave a comment, follow Stillplayinwithit and share with your friends. This whole blog experience, as well as me discovering my BLISS, is wild and a true honor. Again, Thank you. I am grateful for each and every one of you.

Last time we chatted about a few of the stages of The Hero’s Journey. In Hero I Go, we discussed clarity and accepting YOUR call to adventure. I mentioned acceptance of YOUR call is the choice of the hero and part of your journey despite true understanding in the midst:

“We all have the choice to make a decision that may be detrimental to our growth, yet provides momentary satisfaction. Or make a decision that provides painful growth and possible discomfort, yet is the ultimate reward…Therefore, I had clarity without consistent understanding, but clarity, nonetheless.”

Last week in Instathis, I mentioned the stage of Separation and the death of a part of us in order to make space for Rebirth.

“Once we cleanse, prune or detox our body and mind from the old, we are able to access the new, live, infant experiences…We have similar experiences or different ones, but they produce the same result: Separation, Initiation and Return. We separate from the old, we initiate the new and we return to share the story.”

Let’s riff about the second stage: Initiation. What is INITIATION? By definition: “The action of beginning something.”  This seems like a simple definition. But what comes to mind when you think of initiation? Adventures, societal admittance, great moves forward…initiation does not resonate as complacency or stagnation in my mind.

Culturally speaking, there may be a rite of passage to move a member through to a new stage of their life. An event, process or age that requires people to voyage across those difficult thresholds of transformation.  For example: Bar Mitzvahs. Bar Mitzvahs aren’t just a big party. It is the rite of passage for a 13 -year-old Jewish boy into adult hood, to keep it simple.

Or…Have you seen “An Idiot Abroad?” Oh my goodness. If you haven’t please check out this hilarious show on the Science Channel. Karl goes to Vanuatu and experiences Land Diving which is is a precursor to bungee jumping. Land Diving for the Vanuatuans is a rite of passage or initiation for young men in which men leap headfirst off a 67- to 98-foot platform with vines tied to their ankles. The aim is to touch the ground with their heads, yet pick a vine that isn’t too long, thus slamming your head on the ground, potentially being fatal.

Frat and sorority pledges initiate into their new society. The president is initiated into office in some degree…by stating the Oath of Office. Some initiations are on the down low, maybe because they had to wear a pink tutu or got smacked in the butt too many times to share…and some are part of a journey into the new adventures and exciting paths, such as those described in the Initiation Stage In YOUR Hero’s Journey.

Campbell says it is the Initiation Stage where the true process of growth and development occurs. We must go to a place of darkness and mystery, facing some of our biggest fears; it’s part of your SOUL’s Game! This is where YOU get to claim your inner resources and fight the good fight.  This bloody passage is where the true Hero is discovered.

On a personal note, I feel at times that this initiation phase is never ending. Lessons seem to keep coming! Awesome! Another Dragon! Really?! As I am aware and truly connected to my inner hero, I am able to accept this stage and glean what I am to, even if it is challenging. I had a great conversation with an amazing man this am about accepting his call to adventure and how scary it is. Part of your journey may be exploration: true, deep, reflection on where you are. Move inward and assess what is going on. And remember: “It is not what happens to us, but what we do with it.”

A great word for this entry: Apotheosis. Which is defined as…

“the highest point in the development of something; culmination or climax.”

Through your initiation process, in the midst of your fight,  you WILL find your apotheosis. You will develop skills and culminate the essence of your journey. You will slay your dragon!  Through this battle, your true character emerges, you connect with your inner strength and bravery, you get to the highest point of the path YOU have forged.

At this battleground, greater understanding is achieved. The clarity we discussed in Hero I Go, comes through this stage of initiation. Armed with this new knowledge and perception, the hero is resolved and ready for the MORE difficult part of the adventure. What? It gets more difficult? It may. It may not. It depends on the path you are making and the readiness you have.

Fear, as debilitating as it can be or seem at times, is a natural part of our lives. Without fear, we aren’t able to truly be courageous. I want to live a courageous life. I want to be brave. I am courageous. I am brave. We are in this together. I SEE YOU, remember? We walk this journey together. Hand in hand. Sword and shield. Some of my hardest times have brought the most strength to my life. Cruising around Europe for 17 days solo, though exhilarating, was freaking scary as hell at times. The word and phrase I heard most was: “Wow, that is Ballsy!” “You are Brave!” Bravery is facing your fears. If you want to understand your true character and empower your inner warrior, do something that scares the hell out of you. Get outside your comfort zone. Walk into the face of that mythical dragon. And if you need to, take me with you. I will be right there by your side.

“I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.” – Nelson Mandela

If you have answered the call, separated from the ordinary and are in the midst of developing the extraordinary, CONGRATULATIONS! You are in the sea of initiation. I commend you for taking the challenge. I celebrate your discomfort. I applaud you finding your own path into the dark forest. But beyond this metaphorical slaying, I look forward to your return, when you come home to share the tale.

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INSTA THIS

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It is usually in hind site that our clarity is understood. Hind site is 20/20, right? Possibly a better way to read and feel that statement is: Clarity comes from hind site vision and experience. Last week I wrote about YOUR Call to Adventure. We discussed having clarity in the midst of a confusing circumstance or life experience. My hope is you can see this confusion of clarity, or ambiguity, as a part of YOUR Call to Adventure.

The Call is during the stage that Joseph Campbell considers the Separation Stage. According to Campbell, during the Separation Stage, you are facing fears, acquiring hidden strength, and are value-tested. This is the stage where you accept that call, again, by shear force or by readiness. It is the death of your old self, old stuff, and old patterns we were possibly programmed to do. It is the death of a part of YOU. This death is painful and uncomfortable.  Sweetly stated in the film Finding Joe:

“Where there is no death, there is no life. Where there is no death, there is no transformation. Where there is no death, there is no change.”

The Bible talks about this in the book of John, chapter 15. John speaks here of The Vine and the Branches. This chapter speaks metaphorically of the pruning of dead or decayed relationships, unhealthy habits, addictions, and worn down stories (the branches) to make space for rebirth (the new vine). Look at a rose bush sometime. If you notice, the most beautiful and fragrant roses come from a single naked stick. Once we cleanse, prune or detox our body and mind from the old, we are able to access the new, live, infant experiences.. and new life paths are open.

I did a three day cleanse this week. I eliminated many of my vices that I utilize to avoid feeling or hearing that voice inside me; the one calling me to slay my mythical dragon. These vices include my phone, computer and my favorite coping skill: STAYING EXTREMELY BUSY! Didn’t think that was an addiction did you? YES it is. Our life becomes so busy we don’t stop to look at what we are avoiding or not wanting to deal with. We look to instant gratification. Like a shot of Heroine to our vein, the return of a text, or checking Facebook gratifies this craving. We sit glued to crappy reality TV and video games in order to keep our mind so busy, we can’t stop to even think, let alone be aware. We space out. Forcing our entire body into a trance; a trance of being satiated, yet starving at the same time. We fill our hole with stuff, fast-paced action, emails, insta-this and insta-fucking-that. All ways to avoid your call to adventure. These are all means of compensating for rotting branches.

Rebirth became the theme of my life last week. I experienced opportunities, which I felt FORCED into, not by people, but by my old programs running, kind of like a record skipping. You have to lift the arm of the record player and gently put it back down on the vinyl to make the gorgeous melodies play again. But a manual reset was in store in order to allow this to flow. This part of my journey has been most difficult for me. Allowing the new programs to boot. Resistance to the call keeps us dead or assists in the stagnation of new life.

Personally, I have to be at my depths, blowing snot bubbles on the arm of a friend or in the stillness of my room in order to discover the magnificence of my “death.”  Finally allowing the eruption of tears to produce enlightenment. The lessons come as I welcome them…sometimes they arrive earlier than I want, or I avoid them at all cost. With an openness in my being, I hear, I stop. I accept the lesson, finally! Thereby granting me with opportunities to recognize a softer path the next time. And there will be a next time.

In regards to technology: I utilize social media. I think it serves a purpose and I enjoy it at times. But, I have recently developed a way to limit its availability in my life and a way to avoid the urge when it arises. Mainly thru awareness. It feels weird to be phone free. But I challenge you this week to try it. Go to the store without your phone. Go to dinner with a friend with no phone. If you are driving or standing in line at the grocery store and you think, “Aw shit, I forgot to text her back…” STOP. Sit in that feeling and urge, and wait. It can wait. It will wait, and most likely you will remember later. Allow your beautiful 2.87 poundish brain to do what it does best.  You hold all the power inside you.

All human beings are the same on this journey. No matter how big or small you feel your journey or calling is. We are not separate but together in this ONE journey. We have similar experiences or different ones, but they produce the same result: Separation, Initiation and Return. We separate from the old, we initiate the new and we return to share the story. By no means is my current journey complete…but today, I share with you just a small part of MINE.

This is precisely what I mean by Journey into Yourself, the subtitle of my blog and name of my business. What a glorious journey YOU are in the midst of. It becomes more magical and theatrical when you become clear of what needs to be pruned and what needs to be awoken or released INSIDE of you.

Like a really bad playlist on your ipod…take it off repeat, start a new playlist and feel inspired, energized and ready to run into that dark, treacherous forest. I believe you can and will take the challenge. Do you?

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