DEPARTURE—The Separation Phase of Your Adventure!

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Every Rites of Passage adventure consists of three phases of ritual activities: Separation, Transition—I like to call this, Transformation—, and Reintegration. The initial SEPARATION phase launches the person or group of ‘ritual passengers’ into their Adventure. It is usually marked in a formal rites of passage cycle by distinguishing the Adventurer in various ways as no longer in her/his ‘old’ state but not yet in the ‘new’ state s/he seeks to attain as the Quest of their adventure.

I love the scene in the very first Star Wars movie (Episode 4: A New Hope) when Luke Skywalker stands on a hill at dusk watching the double sunset and feeling the desire to depart the way of life he has known to embark on a greater adventure. This is the beginning of Luke’s Call to Adventure. His Departure begins shortly thereafter, first when he departs his uncle’s compound to find the renegade R2D2 and encounters his Mage Teacher, the Jedi Knight Obiwan Kenobi. The second stage of the Departure is when Luke leaves his home planet, but perhaps we will come back to that set of scenes as Crossing the Threshold.

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Luke is marked for Departure by his show of restlessness with his uncle and aunt just before his longing gaze into the double sunset.  When he (upon his second departure on the Millennial Falcon) receives his weapon of the Light Saber from his Teacher, this separates Luke from all others as he is from then on in training to become a rare spiritual warrior of the Jedi Order.

Very common ensignia of Separation accompanying the Departure stage of an heroic adventure would be donning a uniform or cutting one’s hair (e.g. for a military boot camp, or Yentl’s shearing of her feminine identity in cutting her hair in order to be able to study as a Hasidic scholar). One sheds their old identity and prepares to confront the ordeals of the transitional/ transformational Passage.

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As I approach retirement in a few months over a year from now, I have already begun the Separation process so as to allow and to prepare well for this Departure.  I am on sabbatical from my professor role this semester, which is a form of semi-retirement (though busy, as my retirement will also be).  I do not hold myself to the same normal schedule of a regular workaday semester. I wear jeans more than not even at the office. I close the office door unless I have a known appointment. All of these mark my intention (to myself and coworkers and students) to shift identities; no longer Chair of my department, now I begin a more liminal, transitional passage.

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images are from pixabay.com

It is helpful and important to MARK yourself as being in Separation from your earlier way of life if you are to step boldly into the next phase of your adventure. The more clearly and distinctively you can separate yourself from your normal routines and activities, the better!  As you mark your Separation you create at least the shell or form of your new identity. You must shed your Old or outmoded way of life in order to move confidently into the New mode you aim to achieve that will bring you Fulfillment of your deep aspirations.

What new Adventure are you aiming to undertake that can help orient and launch you in an appropriate direction to Live Your Dream, Now? How will you MARK your Separation as one ready to Depart?

I invite YOUR comments and stories!

 

Say Yes!

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Lawrence: Say yes!

Linda: Yes. What did I just agree to?

Lawrence: Fencing! There’s a ten week class starting at

the Community Arts Center this Thursday.

So, at 17, began my adventure of becoming a Fencer and of meeting a dynamic, unusually talented person who would become a close mentor and a friend for life, the fencing teacher who taught and opened my eyes and heart to allowing adventure, spirituality and love of Life into my world. Until that opening conversation with Lawrence, my life was sheltered and small.

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images are from pixabay.com

This was my Call to Adventure. It opened opportunities and exposed me to ideas and adventures that have shaped my life’s journey ever since.

 

Say Yes! to YOUR adventure, whatever it may be.

 

“Yes I said Yes I said YES!”

(Molly Bloom, from James Joyce’s Ulyssses)

Heed the Call

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What nags at you, reaching back  from your possible, desirable future? Yes it is that: possible and even within the realm of the probable if only you will heed the Call that beckons only to you!

Martha Graham said it best:

“There is a vitality, a life force, an energy, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all time, this expression is unique. And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and will be lost.” 
― Martha Graham

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Physicists now theorize there are flows from the future to the past as much as from the present via memory. What is a future memory but a vision? Sages say: “All creation is finished in the lower worlds,” as the outer reality is but a reflection, a projection from higher planes.

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images are from pixabay.com

So look within, listen, and heed YOUR call! The universe will meet you half way!

January 20, 2017: Revolution? A Call to Adventure!

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As an interim post this week, I just want to share about how I am seeing the US political transition as a Call to Adventure on a major scale for America and perhaps the world and all its species. This is no small moment!

I graduated high school in 1972, so I was witness to the 1960’s revolution in consciousness that ushered in many positive (to me) values such as inclusiveness and gender equity (post 1970’s) as THEMES that seemed (to me) to be coming closer to fruition with Obama’s 8 years in the presidency.

Now all is shifting. On the surface it appears the direction of shift is AWAY from all those values that began to be addressed in the 1960’s. Are we at another moment of consciousness revolution to arrive at a greater level of positive transformation—or, NOT? My limited viewpoint tells me (for me):

THIS IS A CALL TO ADVENTURE;

A CALL TO ACTION!

Of course, there are many directions of ACTION to take. Protesting is one (I will march in the Denver Women’s March on Saturday.)

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Also DIALOGUE is imperative. We must be able to have a conversation across party lines. We ALL have so much at stake, including the planet and all of its species’s survival. Whether the current climate change is natural/cyclic or human made, it is real and we need to do something about it, Now.

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images are from pixabay.com

Oh well.  For me, it is time to ACT, again. Time to sing, write, share, LISTEN.

The Adventure is Begun!

The Road Ahead

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The Road goes ever on and on

Down from the Door where It began,

Now evermore the Road does lead

And I must follow, if I can,

Pursuing it with weary feet

Until It joins some larger Way

Where many paths and errands meet,

And whither then?

I cannot say.

–  J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit

I had some difficulty formatting this poem from The Hobbit for my recent post on “Better Beginnings,” yet it is so apt to our monthly theme of “The Call to Adventure” that I repeat it here as I recall the poem from my initial reading of The Hobbit some 43 years ago.

I first memorized and used this poem when I was 19. I was adventuring for the summer of my freshman college year in Yakutat, Alaska.  I worked at a crab and salmon cannery there that summer. I was traveling with a good friend, Barb. One day—which became one of many similar days—we were hiking some five miles along a dirt road through a primeval Ponderosa Pine forest that led to a beach unpeopled for hundreds of miles.

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The Forest was higher, I realized as I walked along that primitive pathway, than the skyscrapers of New York City. In the City I would feel daunted, but in the Forest leading to the Ocean I felt connected with the whole of Nature and Life Itself.

I started reciting “The Road” song that Bilbo Baggins wrote (as I recall the story from way back then) in The Hobbit. It mirrored directly the experience I was having as Barb and I trekked through the primeval Forest.

The ROAD goes Ever ON and ON…

Down from the DOOR where IT Began…

And EVER MORE the ROAD does lead,

And I must FOLLOW, IF I CAN…

PURSUING IT with weary feet

Until it joins SOME LARGER WAY

Where many paths and errands MEET,

And whither then?

I CANNOT SAY.

Reciting “The Road” song from The Hobbit over and over again like a mantra while walking hours through a remote Alaskan pine forest became prophetic for me of my entire lifetime of spiritual adventure and travel. Within a year of returning from this Alaskan odyssey I discovered a spiritual path (Eckankar, which does not necessarily endorse the ideas I express in this blog) which has brought much freedom, love and joy into my life.  I discovered this path first in a dream of returning on a bus from my Alaska adventure, then connected outwardly with my spiritual path less than a week later after encountering a woman who was in my dream! I have followed that Road ever since.

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Here is a creative technique I offer that I have been using myself this week.  Close your eyes as if to daydream (enter a light contemplation state). Imagine THREE ROADS leading off slightly to your left, ahead forward, and slightly to your right (imagine more than three if you choose; this is for you to develop as you please).

Explore each pathway with your imagination; where does each Road lead? If these represent alternate futures (which is how I have been envisioning them this week), which is the Way for you to go forth in your life in order to realize and fulfill your deepest sense of life Purpose and Mission?

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images are from pixabay.com

Maybe one of these pathways is your current best way forward, but the others might hold potentials to integrate into that direction, so your path forward does not have to sacrifice one set of qualities or values in order to embrace a greater Whole.

I welcome your comments and stories!

 

Time Out of Time

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With this month’s theme of the Call to Adventure, I offer you an invitation. Do something amazing this week or even today: take ‘time out of time’ to take or plan for an Adventure!

Julia Cameron in The Artist’s Way suggested taking yourself on an “artist’s date” at least once per week. For her that meant do something out of the ordinary that can stimulate your Inner Artist.   Take a different way home from work, go to a movie, or do anything that departs from your normal routine.

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Likewise I invite you to exercise your creative license; to play Hookie, not necessarily once per week but when you hear the Call!

When I was a senior in high school, although I was a good student and enjoyed my classes, about once every couple of weeks I skipped classes and left campus altogether! Usually on these ‘hookie’ excursions I simply hoofed it: I walked 3 miles or so to my home town. There I would loaf about, meandering and most importantly journaling, then later in the day I often visited a special mentor who had taught me fencing and since then talked with me about everything from reading and writing to music, religion and philosophy.

These outings were delightfully self-liberating ‘times out of time.’ They allowed me time to play, to creatively explore my own freedom.  During a formative time of my life this self-liberation was a launching pad for my eventual life career and creativity.

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images are from pixabay.com

So go ahead, play hookie!  Shake up the old routine in any way you can! You might find new answers, new pathways of adventure that can lead you to wondrous new frontiers!

I welcome your comments and stories.

Better Beginnings

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I have written much for this blog about ‘better endings.’ Yet what about better BEGINNINGS? As you set out to realize your goals or to Live Your Dream, how shall you properly prepare to Answer the Call to new adventure?

Last week when I asked students in an anthropology class to write about a favorite Hero Cycle tale, six of 33 of them independently selected Tolkein’s Lord of the Rings.  This fantasy trilogy has a very strong opening in Fellowship of the Ring, which follows after the prequel story of The Hobbit has set the stage.

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Frodo, at home in his 2nd uncle-once-removed Bilbo’s earthlodge within the Shire, receives a mysterious visitor, the Wizard Gandalf the Grey. Gandalf bestows upon Bilbo’s heir a magical object, the One Ring, which comes with a sacred responsibility and a definite Call to Adventure.

Frodo is to be the Bearer of the Ring, to convey it far away through dangerous territory to the cave of Mordor so to destroy it, once and for all!  For a young hobbit who has never ventured outside the Shire, this is an astounding Call. Hobbits, after all, are not known to be adventurous with the singular exception of Bilbo himself, who had never yet returned from his own last departure.

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Gandalf entrusts Frodo with the Ring even more than himself. Frodo is an Innocent, untainted by greed, unaffected by war, at the beginning. Yet already as Frodo reads Bilbo’s unfinished diary and contemplates his own Call, Dark Forces approach the Shire, aiming to take the Ring for the evil Sauron.

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Invisibility is a great device for one who must Depart in order to fulfill a mission so deep and so foreboding that it requires the Removal of the hero in order to draw out the hidden qualities of his/her own spiritual nature. Thus Bilbo disappeared for his final adventure after having briefly returned to the Shire; and thus Frodo must vanish from his home community (ultimately with three compatriot Allies).

Frodo must depart to discover his true qualities of Soul, to fulfill the Quest that only he is innately worthy to accomplish.

Darkness arrives. Frodo, followed and then joined by his Allies, Departs to fulfill their Quest.

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images are from pixabay.com

Now what of you? What Adventure are you being called to?  How best can you prepare to embark?

THE HOLOGRAPHIC ADVENTURE OF YOUR LIFETIME

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Where do you go when you imagine following your Call to Adventure? What image or scene comes to mind when you envision feeling a sense of utter fulfillment?

Your Call to Adventure may come as an IMAGE that beckons and pulls at you like the “thin biting call of Soul.” Ron Neary’s vision of the Devil’s Tower butte in Close Encounters of the Third Kind, for instance, or the memory of Shangri-La that won’t let Robert Conway be happy anywhere else after he has found his fateful oasis of the Soul in Lost Horizon are two great fictional examples.

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I remember from high school and early college years that I would often close my eyes and imagine rowing a boat to the middle of a lake, then I would set the oars to rest and settle back to read a good book while floating on the lake, listening to the rhythmic lapping of the water under the calm blue sky. Sometimes in this reverie I would nap and my boat would drift until it came to moor on a deserted island shoreline.

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Many years later I will soon enough be retiring to a lakeside community. I intend to explore the lake with a kayak and maybe a rowboat. Was my youthful daydream then a trip in spacetime to a future I could already imagine?

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Your Call to Adventure evokes more than a desirable place or a future activity, though this vision might signal the context of your greater Life Dream.

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This past week I had a thought while walking university halls to teach yet another class, this time a five day, 40 hour “winterim” with 33 students that turned out to be a delight because of our combined enthusiasm for the material. The thought that came through one morning was:

Is my life a hologram?

The more I consider this profound possibility, the more probable I find it to be. Quantum physicists have been entertaining this notion, too, it turns out. Some venture so far as to suggest our entire reality is but a holographic projection along the event horizon of a black hole!

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If my life is a hologram, what this means to me is that every Moment (as only Now is Real and therefore All of life experience is “in the NOW”) is a microsegment of the Whole projection of a lifetime. Remember that in a hologram, the Part is embedded in the Whole such that the Whole is always present in every fraction (or, fractal) of Itself. I “live” (have my physical attention and sense of ‘being’) in the “present” projection of our illusionary three dimensions of timespace, yet from higher dimensions (4th and beyond) I can perceive the Whole of my complete lifetime and perhaps zooming further Beyond with spiritual awareness I can even see the broader context of THIS lifetime in multiple lifetimes, multiple universes, and a limitless expanse of Cosmos.

So then future and past and present are all ONE, and the Whole is so much greater than the sum of its luminously integrated Parts.

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all images are from pixabay.com

I realize with this Life is a Hologram perspective, then, that I/you/Soul can EXPLORE the Whole from ANY location within the holographic Whole, at any “time.”

Row, row, row your boat
Gently down the Stream;
Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily,
Life is BUT A DREAM.

Try it, I invite you. Close your Eyes and DREAM! I welcome your Comments and Story!