When I was a little girl, my first experience with hero-worship came wrapped in shiny silver flight suits and a bunch of guys with guts and crew cuts – the original Mercury 7 astronauts. I didn’t think there was anything more exciting than to be willing to risk it all to soar into space, with no guarantee you’d be able to get back, just to get closer to the stars, look for life on other planets, and, in the mind of a 12-year-old, maybe see God. As a country, we all held our breaths each time one of them took off, and together let out a collective sigh of relief when they splashed down. I don’t ever remember being as excited about the world as I was then.
Fast forward 50 plus years and, sadly, there were no shiny-suited heroes to look up to anymore, at least from my perspective. Then I read something that gave me a whole new way to look at the idea of heroes. It came in one of the many books by my beloved Dr. Wayne Dyer that I read – having read just about all of his books (he wrote over 30 of then), I can’t recall the exact book or the exact wording, but the gist of it was this:
You are the author of your own life. Why not write yourself in as the hero?
What an awesome and, somewhat scary, thought! As a writer, this idea swirled around in my head for a long time as I tried to wrap my mind around the idea that I could be the hero in my own life. So I sat down and, as any good writer would, started to write out a list of the times in my life when I had shown courage and strength that resulted in my “moving forward confidently in the direction of my dreams.” to paraphrase my dear Henry David Thoreau. Here is the list I came up with:
- I found the courage and strength to go back to college in my 30’s, balancing a home, kids, a job, and school to get my degree.
- When the last chick was ready to leave the nest, I quite my job, packed up my car, and moved a few hundred miles to another state, to live in Small Town America and write.
- When I fell and fractured my hip 3 1/2 years ago, and was housebound for an entire summer, I followed my heart, my instincts, and some advice from a gifted meditation teacher, and started my own blog. Over the last 5 years that has led to 3 published e-books on conscious aging, two blogs, and lots of exciting writing projects in the wings.
- I stopped looking for home “out there” and found it “in here.”
Not a bad list of accomplishments from someone who used to be afraid of her own shadow as a kid and was sure that God was going to send down fire and brimstone on me for eating meat on a Friday, (a Catholic no-no), or saying a bad word, or lying to my Mom (who always knew when I was lying anyway).
Now when I sit down to write, it comes from the courage to be honest about my successes as well as my perceived shortcomings. I write about hope, promise, courage, and the belief that we are all the authors of our own stories, and the heroes of our own lives, including you!
This week our writing assignment on the Home Page will ask you to be the author of your own list of heroic moments. This one is just what the doctor ordered as we come to the end of a very stressful year for all of us, and the beginning of a new one filled with hope and promise. As always, have fun with it and, remember, to just keep writing!
Peace and blessings.