Bring Your Boon

This painting is called Icarus.

This painting is called Icarus.

During my call with Skip I used the word, “boon.” He scribbled a note saying, “You’ve not used that word before.” The word came up because he’s been overrun by well meaning advice-givers that think he needs to know about the hero’s cycle. Skip said, (and it’s true) that he’s forgotten more about the hero’s cycle than most people will ever know. “I’m a business guy so they think I can’t possibly know about it!” he exclaimed. “If another person tells me about the hero’s cycle I’m going to explode.”

My thought for him was to pay attention to why so many people are coming up with the same response when they hear about his work. What’s evoking the common response: have you heard about the hero’s cycle? I always pay attention when a book title repeatedly drops into my world (I get the book) or when a place or a metaphor seems to pop up everywhere. What’s there that I may be overlooking? What is hammering Skip that he may not see? That’s what sparked the word, “boon.”

When the hero (and we are all heroes in our personal story) emerges from the ordeal of change, when they escape the belly of the whale, they are transformed. They know something that they didn’t before understand. This is the boon. They have a new gift or insight that will, in turn transform the community. Personal change is communal change. They are one and the same thing.

There is a small catch when dealing with boons: communities (like individuals) talk a lot about the need for change but mostly resist it. When you are the bringer of the gift, the carrier of the insight, often you are not welcome when you share it. New insights are dangerous to the status quo. History is resplendent with visionaries banished for sharing the boon of their transformation or bringing to the community the gold that they need but are incapable of recognizing.

Skip has arrived back to the world with a boon. He sailed to the edge and has returned with strange knowledge and a unique perspective. His insight contradicts common models of business. His boon describes motion, a flow, which is hard to see when the landscape is dominated by bottom lines and outcomes. His community mistakenly thinks he needs to go on a hero’s journey when, in fact, he is just returning. His hands are full of gold that they cannot see.

The best we can do is share what we hold. How it is received is out of our hands. If it is received at all is not in our control. Vincent Van Gogh died having sold one single painting – and that to his brother. The glory of his life – and the lives of all visionaries – is that he kept painting regardless of whether the world might someday see the boon, or not. It didn’t (and doesn’t) matter. Bringing the boon home is all that is required.

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Revisit And Revise

Pidgeon Pier (Alan and David on the Sound) by David Robinson

I used this painting as the cover image for The Ground Truth. I call this painting Pigeon Pier.

With the success of my book, The Seer, I’ve been revisiting some previous manuscripts and ebooks. I have a lot of them, mostly unpublished and unseen. One of my favorites, and one that I am considering revising and releasing, is called the Ground Truth. The ground truth is a military term and denotes the difference between the truth as seen by the generals in the war room (an abstraction) and those actually doing the fighting on the ground (actuality). I gave the book the subtitle: Six Dynamic Relationships That Will Change Your Life. Marketing claims are usually brazen. The book is really about how to orient to personal truth.

As I’ve been revisiting the book, I’ve also been revisiting several of the concepts in it. One concept that has been much on my mind lately is the Hero and the Anti Hero. Here’s an excerpt from The Ground Truth defining the concept:

In a small notebook with a red cover I found a drawing. The image is horizontal on the page. On the far left I wrote the word “Hero” and scribbled a circle around it. On the far right I wrote, “Anti-Hero” and also scribbled a circle around it. The circle with the Hero and the other with the Anti-Hero are connected with a line. The drawing looks like a cartoon barbell. I must have been explaining this to someone; I can tell by how emphatically I scribbled the circles.

The Hero and The Anti Hero was a revelation that Harald shared with me a few years ago. Harald’s first language is German so he used the term Anti-Hero instead of villain or devil or “big dog yapping in my brain.” I like Anti-Hero because it is actually more appropriate than any term I might have used.

He told me that he’d spent much of his life trying to rid himself of his inner Anti-Hero. It had consumed much of his life, this powerful inner voice of self-criticism and judgment. It plagued him and the more he resisted the Anti-Hero the stronger it became. One day, exhausted by his inner turmoil he had an epiphany. He realized that the way to rid himself of this Anti-Hero was to stop expecting to be a Hero. In fact, his expectation of being a savior, being perfect, being everything to everybody was the very thing that fueled the Anti-Hero. Letting go of the Hero dissipated the power of the Anti-Hero and what was left was…human. Beautiful, flawed, funny and messy, Harald was a human no longer at war with himself.

Internal warfare causes split intentions, split intentions create internal warfare. It’s a feedback loop. As Harald discovered, trying to be the Hero in the eyes of everyone else split him into two pieces: the unreal expectation (Hero) and an ever-vigilant judge (Anti-Hero). Harald was attempting to control what he could not control: the expectations and responses of other people. His happiness was contingent upon the responses of others so he was constantly measuring his worth against others responses: The actor (Hero) and the measurer (Anti-Hero). The internal warfare was inevitable.

In the next few days I’ll write more on The Hero and the Anti Hero, and what a few years and new eyes have brought.

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