I’m Back – and I Didn’t Die Yet!

Well I’ve just returned from the States this morning and WOW what a Supreme Ordeal I have just been through!! Lots to share and as anything in life – lots of lessons.

Have you ever faced a Supreme Ordeal? Maybe you have and you don’t know it….. Anyone who has ever taken a risk or anyone who loves the biggest rollercoasters in theme parks has grappled with a Hero’s Journey. As the carriages climb the greatest incline, teeter momentarily at the top with a moment or two to take in the view and then with great force hurtle down the steepest, fastest and scariest of descents – you face your ride’s supreme ordeal in those adrenaline filled few moments. For you risk-takers, a Supreme Ordeal is when it prematurely looks like you made a BIG MISTAKE. (And that thought usually occurs BEFORE the journey is complete).

The Supreme Ordeal is the moment at which the Hero touches or even hits the bottom – the possibility of death stares the Hero in the face. The “facing death’ could be metaphoric or real and when pursuing a goal, very often we have to shed our old skin, views, friends, beliefs or something else we’ve held dear to free us up to move forward and seize the prize.

The Supreme Ordeal is about being on the brink, wondering how the wrong of a situation can be right and often sees the Hero needing to dig deep to make a come back. Some would argue that we are never more alive than when we are facing death.

Obviously I didn’t die, so next time I’ll share with you just how I made it through my USA “Supreme Ordeal”.

Questions:

1. Has an ordeal come about or has there been a direct confrontation to achieving your vision?

2. Has a core fear surfaced?

3. Can you identify any negative or limiting beliefs connected to this?

HOMEPLAY
1. List at least two negative beliefs associated with the “ordeal” and two positive beliefs you would like to replace these with.

 

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Still in the USA – Is it ever that easy?

Approaching the Inmost Cave

Well, I’m about to enter the cave and you will never believe what has happened in my USA adventures! All I can say is the power of prayer and daily meditation is a life saver. More next time…

Now back to the Hero. Having experienced so much the Hero, full of hope, is tempted to think he/she can march to the heart of the Special World, seize the prize and leave. We all know in reality it is never that easy.

However, the value of the approach to the inmost cave and the supreme danger within, should not be underestimated – it gives all Heroes time to plan, study maps, overcome obstacles, devise an attack, reorganize, make alliances, outwit the villain’s guards or learn the rules of the Special World.

Internal preparation and mustering of all courage is critical at this stage – it’s needed to drive the Hero through the major challenge. You’ll have felt it yourself when on the precipice of change or when coming closer to achieving a goal, yet having to overcome obstacles – it’s the internal gathering of your courage and hope for what is to come.

What challenge is presenting that you have you had to hunker down, gather resources and regroup, knowing that there is more ahead? Who or what are your allies and what new challenges, stress, tests or enemies have you encountered along the way?

I invite you to keep going – fear forward and join me as we enter the inmost cave……

HOMEPLAY

  1. From the questions asked in this session, clearly identify your allies; tests; enemies and stress/problems that are offering you the opportunity for your character development
  2. Make a plan by setting some small goals and actions.
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Hello from the USA

Stage Six – Tests, Allies and Enemies

Do the words conflict, challenge and confrontation evoke feelings of dread in you?

If so, I invite you to align with me as your ally and know that together, we can get through anything that may seem insurmountable to you right now.

Many of you know that I am currently in the United States setting up a new home that my partner and I have been building for the last year. The challenge was to completely furnish it, ready to live in by June 21st when the first wave of the families arrives. Guess what? The builder is behind on filing the paperwork (surprise) – and we didn’t find out until we got here!

And to top it off he doesn’t take responsibility for this and blames the city. Sound familiar? This little scenario just shattered my pictures of efficiency and customer service in the USA. My old brain was triggered. I felt like a victim and I wanted to rage at him. Thankfully, I know that I can do it differently today.

We all know the feeling of having to manage a new environment, new rules and a different state of play. It can be very unsettling. In Stage Six of the Hero’s Journey, the Hero fully commits to leaving the Ordinary World. Once the commitment is in place, our hero finds himself up against new challenges and tests in the Special World. The test in the ‘new world’ is to challenge old ways of thinking and old behaviours.

So, what am I doing about my US challenge right now? Well, we decided to get creative and adopt a mindset of having an adventure out of staying in a house that has no hot water or gas to cook on.

We are also doing our footwork and handing the outcome over to our Higher Power. This step is very important.

Bill and I bought a huge barbecue and found a local health club to join with great showers. This club lets you bring unlimited guests. Rather than kayak in the beautiful Glorietta Bay today, we are going to the county assessors office to see if there is any way we can speed up the process. Although we have been told this is doubtful, we are still taking a step of action towards completing the task at hand.

Trust me, none of this fits my pictures!

To find out more about this important stage and how to move through it holding your vision in place, watch the video below.

In my next blog, I’ll let you know how my USA adventure turns out.

Whatever you are facing right now, know that you are in the right place, with the right circumstances to get you to the pot of gold at the end of this journey. It may seem challenging and there might even be a confrontation at hand. For inspiration, remember you are in the new world where your vision is waiting to manifest.

Take a deep breath and “fear forward”!

 

10 Strategies for Conflict Resolution:

http://bit.ly/1l6Fgxr

Homeplay:
1. Notice how you handle conflict. It may be different in your personal life than your professional life

2. Try to adopt and act from some of the strategies for conflict resolution.

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Crossing The Threshold

Where is your New World, and what threshold do you have to cross in order to get there? What do you have to learn in order to not just survive, but thrive in this new place in search of your gold?

When the Hero commits to leaving behind the Ordinary World and stepping into the New World, the Hero finds a whole new experience – sounds, sights, learnings, surprises, adventures and experiences. With this, comes feelings of discomfort which might show up like “I don’t belong here”, “why did I leave my familiar surrounds?”, “what was I thinking…..?” You will be familiar with these feelings – whether it’s a Hero’s Journey in which you seek a new job, home, are in the pursuit of a goal, relationship or something else.

The Hero at this point is simply being “stretched”, and when rising to the challenge of the stretch, the Hero has to cross the first threshold. The first threshold can be as simple as Dorothy taking her first step onto The Yellow Brick Road or more complicated such as Harry Potter having to leave the clutches of his step parents who want to keep him from his dream of wizardry at Hogwarts or the threshold of “jumping” through the wall to reach Platform 9 ¾ and board Hogwarts Express.

Often, crossing the first threshold is not smooth sailing – the environment, or people or the Hero’s own thinking may create a roadblock and the Hero’s resolve will be tested. In storytelling, those testing the resolve are the Threshold Guardians – the gatekeepers testing the Hero’s commitment and resolve to setting forth on the journey – they may actively throw curve balls to sabotage and test the Hero.

The Threshold Guardians rarely allow a quick or safe passage to the New World – they’ve seen it all before – the big talkers, the promises and the grand ideas – so many of whom go on to quit the moment the going gets tough. Once the Hero is willing to leave behind the baggage of the past, does the work, proves their will and commitment , the Threshold Guardians will allow access to the New World. Have you ever considered that the Threshold Guardians may very well be yours, or the Hero’s own thinking, the fear and doubts of your own abilities and worthiness?

When the Hero agrees to face the consequences of The Journey, cross the first threshold and face the demons of the Threshold Guardians, then and only then can the Hero’s life really take off in pursuit of the gold. This is typically where the ship sails or the plane takes off or the wagon train gets rolling and the New World in front with the new game awaiting.

Again I ask you, where is your New World? What threshold do you have to cross in order to get there? What do you have to learn in order to not just survive, but thrive in this new place in search of your gold?

 

EXERCISE:

1. In the call to adventure stage, what was the problem, challenge or adventure presenting itself? (Dream; Vision; Goal). Consider external pressure or internal rising up/stirring. What was at stake if you stayed stagnant or ignored the call?

2. Are you ready to face the consequences of dealing with the problem or challenge presented in the call to adventure? What are these consequences and what is your plan?

HOMEPLAY:
1. Embracing Fear Exercise – Part 3 (see below)
2. Set some goals and action steps for your vision
3. Mark 21 days on your calendar and read your vision for 21 consecutive days.

Embracing Fear Exercise: PART 3 — DISCERN

Take yourself as you are today to a place in nature where you can do some soul searching. You can do this literally or use your imagination.

10. Specifically, what effect is this childhood fear having in your life right now? What problems or recurring patterns keep surfacing? (Consider beliefs, feelings, behaviours, harmful consequences and losses).

11. List specific benefits you would gain if this fear were not driving you and your choices.

12. List the resources you feel you can use today when dealing with this fear. (To do this, literally consider how you are very different today than when this fear originally occurred).

13. What steps of change will you take so you don’t have to continue to react in this fearful way? What will you do differently?

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Embrace Your Fear – Find a Mentor

During this video series for the Hero’s Journey, “Pretty Woman” has been referred to on a few occasions as it is a text book example of the Hero’s Journey. The majority of us have watched and empathised with the fairytale ups and downs as Vivian (Julia Roberts) moves through the Journey and lives with the elation and heartbreak. Coincidently (quietly, there are no coincidences!) “Pretty Woman” screened on TV very recently so I was excited to watch it again as I drew comparisons to our Hero’s Journey.

As I watched Pretty Woman with fresh eyes, it became clear that Edward (Richard Gere) was also on a Hero’s Journey. This was not obvious to me the first dozen times I watched the film as we are directed to become caught up in the fantasy Vivian is living out.

To most of us, Edward seemed so successful – wealthy, the world at his feet, handsome, commercially astute, a saviour to Vivian, albeit a little lonely – how many of us present to the outside world in this way? Edward was in fact, spiritually bankrupt.

During the journey, Vivian (and Edward) could not have survived the ride without the guidance of others in the New World  people wiser in their own worlds, more experienced in some aspect of life in which Vivian (and Edward) lacked – and those people were Mentors. The Mentors were unexpected, largely uninvited yet their presence was timely and their wisdom generous and exact.

If you’ve ever experienced the synchronicity of a Mentor “turning up”, you’ll know exactly what I mean – it’s something quite magical and Mentors often only stay for a short time – provide the learnings required and move on.

In Vivian’s world, she had several Mentors – most notably Barney, Beverly Wiltshire’s Concierge and he introduced her to other mentors such as Bridget – the kindly shop assistant who unleashed Vivian’s inner style goddess. Each of her Mentors guided her to embrace her fear, saw more in her than she saw in herself and on occasion, gave her a swift kick to get her moving in the right direction.

More subtle and far more intriguing, was Edward’s Mentor….. Edward had an arrogance about him that saw him believe he was “better than” many, although inside he knew he was damaged and felt small. Edward’s walls of protection were high and strong, no vulnerability – cold in fact – letting no one in.

Edward’s Mentor showed through unlikely circumstances and taught him to collaborate rather than conquer. Softened him, called him on his bad behaviour (at which he bucked!) and set boundaries with him rather than walls – hard lessons for the self sufficient Edward.

Can you guess who Edward’s mentor was? His mentor was Vivian – the prostitute with the heart of gold. You too will have mentors that show up for you – importantly, will you recognise them?

The relationship between the hero and the Mentor is one of the most common themes in mythology and richly symbolic. It stands for the bond between parent and child, teacher and student, doctor and patient, God and man. Vivian knew she needed help and was open whilst Edward’s arrogance blocked his ability to initially see who was presenting to mentor him.

As you complete the activities below and Your own Hero’s Journey continues, keep your eyes and ears open for Your Mentor who is waiting in your wings….

HOMEPLAY: EMBRACING FEAR

PART 1 – BE CLEAR The following exercise will help you eliminate over-reactive behaviour caused by fears you’ve carried into your adult life from childhood experiences. As adults, we re-enact our childhood fears even though we dress them up in a variety of different ways. This very powerful exercise will help you to break down your fear and relieve the pressure that causes you to react, giving you more balanced choices. You may use this exercise repeatedly to embrace fears in your adult life and more importantly to identify and embrace the original source of your fears, which come from childhood. These are called core fears. To receive optimum value, it is important to allow your feelings to connect with your thoughts and memories during this exercise. When you respond to the various questions in this process, make sure you note when the instructions change from using your non-dominant hand to your dominant hand. You will receive more value from this process when you alternate hands.

To begin this exercise it is important for you to relax. This will help you to connect with your feelings. Think of a current situation in your life that causes you to feel anxious, fearful and makes you over-react. Then close your eyes and allow yourself to recall the situation and the feelings connected with it in as much detail as possible. Once you have done this respond to the following questions using your dominant hand.

1. What is the situation and how did you feel?

In order to lessen the intensity, you may now want to see what deeper lesson you can derive from the situation. It is usually something which gives you value in some way and has a positive intent.

2. Does the anxiety/fear in this situation drive you into fight, flight or freeze behaviour? Explain how.

To free yourself from this fear based reaction, it’s important to look at what this has cost you and the payoffs you are receiving now. The payoffs may be unconscious and ones that cause negative consequences. Cost: The cost is what you lose, give up or suffer (physically, mentally or emotionally) to keep the behaviours alive. It is the price you pay for maintaining it. Payoff: The perceived advantage to you in keeping certain emotions, behaviours and beliefs alive. Your payoff is your justification for maintaining the behaviour/emotion/thought.

3. What has this cost you and what payoffs are you receiving from these behaviours? Be specific.

4. What are the consequences of your reactive/fearful behaviour? What impact does this have on yourself and/or others?

PART 2 – BE HONEST Negative and reactive behaviour usually comes from childhood patterns. The grooves of these patterns are deep and their melodies play out in our adult lives. As adults we have denial/ignorance about our patterns and can be quite upset when we discover we have been ‘playing the same song’ for most of our adult lives.

In order to examine this fear more deeply, go within and ask your inner child or the most vulnerable part of you to take you back to your past and find a fear from your formative years, one that feels familiar to the adult fear you are examining today. Allow yourself to emotionally get in touch with your core fear.

Once you have a recollection of your childhood fear, ask yourself the following questions and respond in your non-dominant hand.

5. When did this fear originally occur and what happened?

6. What beliefs were formed from this incident? (Consider beliefs about yourself as well as others)

7. What behaviours (usually self defence mechanisms) did you adopt in order to feel safe or protect yourself from feeling the fear?

8. Specifically how have these self defence mechanisms continued to grow and form in your adult life/relationships?

9. Tell your fearful child in your own words, I am here to help you, but you have to let go and let me take charge. Then ask the child, ‘Are you willing to trust me?’ ‘Why?’ ‘Why not?’ (Listen to what your inner child has to say and write it down).

Respond to your child in a loving manner. Do something comforting and then say goodbye.

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Fear Forward

The Hero’s Journey – Stage Three

Refusal of the Call

Making a decision to change is exciting. Committing to that change can bring up fear. Why? Because whenever we change there is always an element of facing the unknown. Internal resistance convinces us that the adventure was a bad idea and the ordinary world is really ok, because after all – we survived it!

In storytelling, the hero feels the fear of the unknown and tries to turn away from the adventure, however briefly. Alternately, another character may express the uncertainty and danger ahead.

This stage is about fear. Often at this point the hero balks at the threshold of adventure, Refusing the Call or expressing reluctance. After all, she/he is facing the greatest of all fears, terror of the unknown.

There are four ways people deal with fear:

Fight – pump the adrenalin and give it their best effort.
Flight – avoid; run or dissociate (perhaps putting on a mask).
Freeze – a loss of words; procrastination or just plain inactivity.
Flow – embrace the fear and keep moving forward.
The problem: the hero has not fully committed to the journey and may still be thinking of turning back. Some other influence—a change in circumstances, a further offense against the natural order of things, or the encouragement of a Mentor is required to get him/her past this turning point of fear.

This is why I suggest to my clients to get support when going through a process of change – especially in unfamiliar territory!

Take a deep breath and FEAR FORWARD!

HOMEPLAY:
1. Identify any surface fears and resistance that is coming up and write it down.
2. Is the fear causing you to go into fight, flight or freeze behaviour?
3. Share about it and see if there is a core fear driving the circumstances.
4. Get support to help you stay focused and on track with your vision.

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Are You Ready For a New Adventure?

Examining your ordinary world in Stage One is the first step to enlightenment. Stage Two – The Call to Adventure – ignites a fire!

So, how have you been going? Is a ‘fire in your belly’ rising up from deep within you? Perhaps a ‘fire under your bum’ has got you moving? Maybe there is just an increased awareness of a need for change and you are ready.

In storytelling, Stage Two takes place when the hero is presented with a problem, challenge, or adventure to undertake. Once presented with a Call to Adventure, the hero can no longer remain indefinitely in the comfort of the Ordinary World. Something shakes up a situation, either from external pressures or from something rising up from deep within, so the hero must face the beginnings of change.

The Call to Adventure establishes the stakes of the game, and makes clear the hero’s goal: to win the treasure or the lover; get revenge; right a wrong; achieve a dream; confront a challenge, or change a life!

 

HOMEPLAY:

1. The physical Universe never lies. Pay attention to what is showing up in your life. A problem, challenge, or new adventure. Resist the temptation to be a victim of your circumstances and find the opportunity for expansion. WRITE THIS DOWN
2. Take time to meditate; reflect or use any process that helps you tap in to your inner world.
3. Write a Vision for what you want and read it out to someone who is open — minded, accepting and non judgmental.

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