What Do Your Dragons Guard?


Okay, so I’ve devised this acronym:

Deep Raging Animistic Giant of Negativity


So, what are Yours?


We are speaking (initially at least) not of the positive, Bountiful, Life Breathing dragons like the Chinese New Year puppet forms, but rather of the “negative”, Fire Breathing, monstrous Dragons that jealously guard their hidden treasures.

These negative dragons can pin us down with their talons inciting fear and trepidation. They tell us what we CANNOT do or Be, what we SHOULD NOT attempt for fear of failure or public ridicule.  In a sense, “Your Dragon is your Ego,” says Joseph Campbell in A HERO WITH 1000 FACES.  In a self-protective mode it is that which might aim to “hold you back” from taking risks and, hence, at times it may prevent you from actively seeking or achieving your Bliss.


So what is it that your Dragon might be telling you that YOU should never attempt?  Is it to be an Author, a famous Musician or a Dancer or Artist, or to move to your favorite place on Earth? Maybe it has to do with your relationship “patterns” or with your “real,” physical self-limitations? Let me ask you in another way; WHAT IS YOUR BLISS that you would wish to fulfill with all of your Soul, if only you COULD?


Many speak of “Slaying Your Dragons,” including Campbell.  That makes sense. But I prefer the notion of TAMING them, instead. This is similar to the idea in the recent books and animated films, How to Train Your Dragon” (1 and 2).

By TAMING your Dragons, I mean first you need to identify them within your unconscious archetypal cast of dramatic players, then you need to get to know each one—as they are after all a part of your own dynamic multiplicity. Once you and your Dragon get to know one another—each of your dreams, fears, goals and desires—you can aim to ENLIST your Dragon into the common cause of being an Archetype Ally.


Hmm, maybe a new acronym is in order now:

Dearly Respected Archetypal Giver of Needs


Super Hero Riding Dragon

Since it is your Dragon who knows your deepest fears, of course S/He can give to you whatever you might also need to overcome or to transcend these fears and to assert your Dreams and go boldly to achieve them. This reminds me of Falcor the Luckdragon from The Neverending Story, one of my favorite animated characters. Once you have befriended your Dragon, S/He may allow you to RIDE on Its magnificent back and soar to the realm of your Blissful achievement.

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I invite you to engage via Archetype Dialogue through active imagination or journaling with one of your own Dragons.

I welcome your comments and stories!

Tunnel Vision? Life Metaphors, Like Night and Day


l always invite a person to begin their life mapping journey by expressing a Life Metaphor. Then, later, I ask them to consider how that Image relates to their own current life or their life history. Then at the very end of their life mapping “time out” reflections–usually over several months–I ask them again:


How So? (Please Explain your Life Metaphor Image).

The images people offer before and after they take some time to reflect on their life as a whole–where they’re at,how they got here, where they appear to be headed, and what is the Life Dream that would manifest true Fulfillment in their life–are like Night ad Day. For example, in Spring 2012 I conducted a university class with 89 students (1/2 at a time) through a complete Life Mapping process.Here are just a few of the “Before” and “After” Life Metaphor images they expressed:

 Night and Day

This class was in 2012, not long after the US Great Recession of 2008 and during one of the most depressed job markets Americans have faced. When I compared the students’–mostly college Seniors–Before and After Life Metaphor images, I was actually a bit shocked at first. Almost to a person, their Before images indicated Uncertainty about their Future Life Path possibilities, just at the point that most of them were about to graduate from college.  Their After images, also almost to a person, reflected Clarity, Light, Hopefulness, greater Self-Confidence, and Enthusiasm.


Folks, that is why I’m doing this; this blog and the Life Paths book and self-help companion Handbook that have emerged from developing the approach I call the Life Maps Process.

So, here’s a 3-step technique for you to try. First, if you haven’t already engaged with this week’s Life Mapping Tool (see the right panel), please respond to the prompt:

What, to you, is a human lifetime like? What image comes to mind? HOW is a lifetime Like that image?

Second, ask yourself (you may journal your reply): WHY do you believe you “get” this image, now? In what ways might this Life Metaphor image reflect elements of your own current life or your life history?


Next, for your third step, I invite you to IMAGINE. Envision a time or a place in your future when/where you feel ultimately FULFILLED. You have found and realized your Bliss; you are Living Your Dream, Now!

Okay, so from this perspective, from the Vantage Point of your Life Dream fulfilled:


How So? (Please Explain your Life Dream Metaphor Image).


I invite you to take some “time out” to entertain these questions. I welcome and would love to share your story!



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A Vision without a Task is but a Dream,

A Task without a Vision is mere drudgery,

But a Vision with a Task can change the world.

–          Attrib. to Black Elk (Sioux)

Last week I invited you to explore some of the Formative Influences that have shaped or affected Who You Are Today. This can help you to identify some sources of your greatest strengths as well as recurring challenges that have been important in your life.

Now then, what are your Goals for all that you might wish to Become?


As Peoples around the world establish Origin Tales that define their values and history, so too, people in any culture will seek to unfold and fulfill their highest potentials. As an individual in your own patterned life experience, you can choose to go beyond self-limiting conditions to pursue your “Bliss”, in Joseph Campbell’s terms.  Once you recognize what your goals are and what your greatest strengths and most persistent challenges (i.e. “Dragons” or ‘Guardians of the Threshold’) are, you can aim to work through those apparent limitations and chart a course—as it were—to Live Your Dream. This is where life mapping becomes of value. It is a flexible, creative approach to envisioning where you have been, where you are and where you are going or desire to yet arrive; more like interacting with a dynamic GPS device than a fixed, ‘linear’ map.


In a  Life Path Mapping activity posted for the original Better Endings blog, I asked a question I would like to repeat for this week’s Life Mapping prompt:

What (or,Whom) Do You Want to Be When You “Grow Up”?

To respond, to seek your Vision, first it will be helpful to consider, what might it mean for YOU to “Grow Up?” From wherever you are Now, what can evolving into the Person you desire to fully Become possibly look like? In terms of VALUES, how shall you be living in full expression of your deepest Fulfillment?

So okay then, folks, I am inviting you to PLAY! to freely envision your future Self emerging from who you are Now yet without unnecessary limitations that might hold you back now to any extent.


It is good if you feel you already ARE expressing all that you wish to Be. Some may feel there is little reason to project a different future from extending your already satisfying Now. But even if you might say today, “I am Living my Bliss, already,” I encourage you to stretch a bit further. How can you unfold the present potentials of your fulfilling life to MAXIMIZE living Your Dream?

And why? Not just for you alone…but for all who will benefit from your gifts and who might be inspired by your personal/spiritual fulfillment to achieve their own!