The Hero and Heroines Journey; Part 2 From Cult to Courageously Fearful – Brien Pittman

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A friend one day told me he admired my courage. Because I was surprised by the fact that he thought ‘I’ of all people was courageous, he went on to explain to me that even though I’m scared shitless many times; I go ahead and face whatever the challenge may be. After I laughed and thanked him for the compliment, I came up with a saying that, whether I’m the first to coin the phrase or not, it has helped me many times in life; the state of being “Courageously Fearful.”

Perhaps right now, your life is calling you to rise to the challenge of your ‘Dante like’ underworld journey, and you need to be courageously fearful.

Keep this in mind while you consider the following questions:

  • What has brought you to this place in your journey, this moment in your life?
  • What forces, what family and what social environment has framed your reality; supported, and perhaps restricted, it?
  • Whose life have you been living?
  • Why do you believe you have to hide so much from others, from yourself?
  • Why does life seem to be a script written elsewhere, and you were barely consulted, if at all?
  • Why is the life you have been living too small for your soul’s desire?
  • Why is now the time, if ever it is to happen, for you to answer the summons of your soul, the invitation to a larger and more meaningful life?

If any of the above questions speak to you, scare you a little or challenge you, then you are already answering your soul’s call to an enlarged being, and possibly have been for sometime.

Our movement away from our old blueprints of life understandably upsets our intrinsic longing for the familiar, comfortable, secure and predictable. These longings are a prime directive of everyone’s psyche (the Greek word for soul) and have strong motivation to bring meaning, healing, and wholeness into our lives.

Our role, most often, is to relax, have faith in ourselves and surrender to whatever process is transpiring within our psyche… Yeah, I know… it’s much much easier said than done.

But the alternative is to believe ourselves helpless, victimized; unable to imagine some enlarging purpose from our suffering, only to later recognize that something was moving us purposefully and initiating a new phase in our journey. Even though it certainly didn’t feel like it at the time.

Later, we may even grudgingly admit that our suffering did enlarge us and made us more fully and richly human. Our acknowledgment, of the deep currents that initially course beneath our conscious awareness, is the beginning of what we may legitimately call wisdom.

The Greek dramatist Aeschylus (525-456 BC), the world’s first great tragedian playwright, observed that the gods ordained a solemn decree that from suffering alone comes wisdom. Such earned wisdom brings forth greater dignity and depth to our lives, and we are gifted with a more embracing spiritual enlargement. Which, is as vital to our well being and wholeness as our emotional, and mental enlargement. A mature spirituality simply means a connection that takes us outside of ourselves. Connects us with something larger. The entire human species or, the grandeur of the mountains and oceans. The only requirement for spirituality to be truly meaningful is it must be ours. Our unique connection specific to our life, our experiences.

Of course when we are in the midst of suffering and tragedy, talk of enlargement, spirituality and wisdom seems pointless and insensitive. Yet much later we will often come to realize that we have acquired a more discerning consciousness, a more complex but clearer understanding of our self and a much more interesting life.

Despite our moments of great fear, uncertainty and apparent lack of control over our lives; we always have the option to pass through our figurative underworld with courageous fearfulness. The option to force ourselves ever onward armed with faith in our ability to emerge on the other side Whole. Even when we are in the thrall of PTSD the choice…is always ours.

Brien Pittman


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