Sit In The First Seat

 

a detail from my latest painting

a detail from my latest painting

I am living this story, as are we all. I am a lover of story so I count myself fortunate enough to know that I am living it. It’s one of the grail stories. Here’s the section of the story that I am now living:

The knight who cannot be beaten (he has a magic sword) is knocked from his warhorse. A warrior, a man with no armor or shield, no protection, emerges from the woods, challenges the knight, and in a single blow, unseats him. That’s not the worst of it: the knight’s magic sword shatters. And, that’s not the worst of it. His armor, his trusty protection through the many wars in the wasteland, pins him down. Like a turtle on its back, he is defenseless. His magic sword, his trusted armor, all that he has relied on, all that he’s built his identity and purpose upon, betray him. He is stunned. He is lost. He closes his eyes and awaits his death.

Death does not come. Well…

another detail

another detail

The warrior, the man with no armor, does not finish the job. He disappears without a trace leaving the knight stranded but alive. The knight opens his eyes and somehow manages to sit up. He weeps because his endless efforts to save the world have come to naught. In fact, fighting ogres seemed to produce more ogres! He removes his armor. He is no longer a knight. He is no longer capable of saving the world. He is, for the first time since his childhood, unprotected. He is, at last, purpose-free.

Nothing is more frightening – or useful – than to drop the armor of purpose and take a good hard look at what lives beneath all that forged metal.

...and another

…and another

At first his lack of identity drives him crazy. He has no answer to the cocktail party question, “So, what do you do?” He feels naked and exposed. Fortunately, a teacher, a hermit, emerges from the woods to help him navigate the crazies. Namely, the hermit helps him by not answering his endless questions. The hermit helps him understand that the world never really needed him because the world was never really broken. The hermit helps him relax and see beyond all of his thinking. He realizes that the wasteland came, not because the world was broken, but because he believed himself to be broken, somehow lacking.

In a life of chopping wood and carrying water he sees that his purpose has nothing at all to do with doing – or roles or achievements. He sees that the road to the grail castle is blocked so long as he believes he is defined by a role or a bank account or lost in a made-up purpose. When he drops his need for importance the grail castle appears.

...and another

…and another

Satori, in all the stories, knocks seekers from their ponies. It stops all pursuits. It pops the illusion of a purpose-driven life. It necessarily strips the seeker naked.

We are all seekers at some point.

When you are required in the workshop to write your epitaph or are somehow forced to articulate what was most important in this life, the doing, the list of achievements, the purpose-drive will always take second seat. HOW you did what you did, the relationships you tended or ignored, the moments you appreciated or missed, will sit squarely in the first spot.

 

as yet unnamed

as yet unnamed

 

 

 

 

 

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Truly Powerful People (464)

464.
Join me in inspiring truly powerful people. Each day I will add a new thought, story or idea to support your quest and mine.

I am preparing to tell the story of Parcival. It is a story that I haven’t shared with a group in 5 years. I wanted to tell a new story to this group – to offer a metaphor for transformation and Parcival kept tapping me on the shoulder. “Tell me,” he said. “They need to hear my story.” I was determined to tell a new story but Parcival was persistent and I have learned to pay attention when a story comes calling. I acquiesced.

Sometimes a story stalks you. If I were from another culture my elders would have given me this story long before I understood it. I would not have been expected to understand it and would have known that it was following me, waiting for me to become ready to receive it. Not having elders or an understanding of story at the time, I was a surprised years ago to find this story following me around. I tried to trick it and throw it off my trail but it always seemed to see through my deception. Sometimes it was standing too close to me – like the person behind you in line at the grocery store. I’d take a step forward to get some space but Parcival would take a step, too.

When the day came that the source of my power was shattered and I, in disillusionment, finally took off my armor, Parcival was waiting. He knew that armor removal was his cue to step into me. His warm awakening rushed through my bruised and battered soul and I knew I would survive. I knew after a while I would come back to life and perhaps even prosper. I knew my grail was close at hand and I knew because Parcival was there; he told me so.

Parcival is again tapping my shoulder and there must be a second awareness for me – or someone in this group is about to have their magic sword shattered and they will need Parcival waiting for them when they, too, at last remove their armor and forget their quest. He will quietly step into them and they will know as I did that just beyond the wreckage they will find their grail castle and come home for the very first time.