Three Difficult Practices

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  Recently I listened to a teaching session on video by the American Buddhist Pema Chödron on Udemy. In her introduction she talks about what she calls the three difficult practices of Buddhism. The 1st difficult practice: Recognise what is happening. The 2nd difficult practice: Do something different. The 3rd difficult practice: Do it continuously. Pema Chödron also mentions a …

The Extraordinary World

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  A famous quote attributed to Lao Tzu says “the journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.” Nobody ever mentions how the journey of a thousand miles ends. Does the heroic traveller arrive with a final step over the finishing line? Or are we ‘condemned’ to go on forever? When Josh and I met in 1997 it was …

Rise to the new Challenge

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  One of the most important books of my childhood was Jim Knopf und Lukas der Lokomotivführer by the German author Michael Ende. The story was originally published in two volumes and is a wonderful illustration of the Heroic Journey. There is a brief Wikipedia article in English under the title Jim Button and Luke the Engine Driver. One of …

Refusal of the Gifts

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  This stage of the Heroic Journey is probably the most confusing one of all. Having come this far – after negotiating Threshold Guardians, fighting fierce battles, and discovering treasure – why would any heroine or hero in their right mind refuse the gift? Here are three possible answers: – The return to the Ordinary World seems too daunting. – …

Discovering Treasure

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  In 1998 I hit on a goldmine in my creative work. I had been writing morning pages for over a year, and I had been working on my first book. It was a fantasy story containing lessons about the creative process. Before finishing my book I realised that I didn’t yet understand the creative process as much as I …

Entering the Void

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  When I entered ‘the void’ many years ago I thought I was going to die. I was in a very dysfunctional relationship at the time. The man I was with suffered from suicidal depression, and I’d assumed I could rescue him from himself. He kept making up stories about what was happening to him. He would believe his own …

Tests and Trials

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  Many years ago, while travelling with a friend and my 4 year old son in Tunisia, we were invited for dinner in a tent by a small group of fishermen. They were very friendly, we were tired and hungry, we appreciated the hospitality and generous invitation. It was a working tent near a small harbour, and the men were …

Departure

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  Departure, at last. The journey can begin. In a world of instant gratification we have become increasingly used to rushing straight to our goals. Our heroism is reduced to an act of will. We expect to bring home the booty via a path with a proven track record. A sprinkling of adrenaline is added to give a sense of …

Preparing for the Journey

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  Preparing for the Heroic Journey is notoriously difficult because you are per definition venturing into the unknown. How can we prepare for something we don’t know? On the other hand, we may safely assume that when the Call to Adventure lands in our imaginary inbox, everything that has happened before in life has prepared us for precisely this moment. …