Becoming the Teacher

Your Hero’s Journey: Atonement with the Father

 

I was crouched down outside of the Forest Hall, with my hands clutching my heart.

 

I could not stop uncontrollably crying.

 

Rewind just ten minutes before. I was laughing and playing with my group at the Thailand mindfulness center called The New Life Foundation. I had stumbled upon this miraculous healing place from a fortuitous and serendipitous chain of events – aka met someone who told me to go somewhere where I met someone else who told me to come here.

 

We were engaged in an improv workshop. The goal of the workshop was to simply be completely present in any activity or role you were playing. The facilitator was moving from one act or scene to the next, so we never knew what to expect.

 

I was exhausted from staying up late the night before and being awakened by the regular roosters and dogs that call Thailand home. So exhausted I couldn’t think anymore, I simply was following the crowd.

 

Suddenly, the facilitator grabbed his chest, and fell.

 

As if he was having a heart attack.

 

No thoughts went through my mind. It was simply raw unfiltered energy.

 

Dad.

 

I ran out the door.

 

And let the sob rip through me.

 

Gasping for air, my mind could not understand at that moment why on earth I was reacting so viscerally to what was obviously a play-act of death. My mind could only watch as it stood aside and allow myself to sob out every tear in my body.

 

I was lucky to have good friends nearby. A few came out and simply held me, not needing any explanation to why I was reacting this way.

 

After what felt like an eternity, I had the strength to walk upright. We walked up the hill.

 

I told my friend, “My dad. He died of a heart attack.”

 

It was as if all those years of grief culminated in my soul finally, and viscerally, watching him die. And in that moment, I felt fully free.

I would never be the same again.

 

***

 

In this stage of the Hero’s Journey, the Hero must confront and be initiated by whatever or whoever holds the ultimate power in his or her life. In many myths and stories, this is the father, or a father-figure who has life and death power. The is the center point of the journey.

 

In Star Wars, Darth Vader represents this for Luke Skywalker. In Harry Potter, it’s Dumbledore. For me, it was my dad. For you it may be someone totally different, even a woman.

 

This is the initiation stage, where the Hero steps fully into the role of the leader.

 

Facing authority can be intimidating for many. Some of us avoid it by rebelling against it, some of us by placating to it. When we truly face authority, we do so on equal ground.

 

Even if externally we feel like we are David in David and Goliath, when we face authority with courage, we are choosing to see ourselves as equal. When we believe this, our outer world mirrors our inner, and that authority recognizes our own authority within us.

 

You write your own rules.

 

You become the teacher.

 

Love Always,