The Ordinary Heroes Project – Meeting #2

Last night was the second meeting for the Ordinary Heroes Project, this time we met with just our small group, these groups comprise about 8-10 men each.

We met via Fuze, which allows all the participants in our conference to simultaneously video stream with each other.  What a gift to be able to dedicate 90 minutes of an evening discussing projects, motivation, and tapping into gladness with this amazing group!  Our task, to be completed by Friday, is to move towards a project and pick a title for it.  The projects will be posted on our private website, for all to witness, monitor, and support in the coming four months.

Most of our time was spent discussing specific projects.  A common theme was that many undecided men were considering two projects; often one that was more for “the soul’s own joy” and another that would be more of “an act of service”.  Some men were unsure of the specifics of their project but had general direction, yet throughout there was a real sense of support as we all move towards finding an ordinary task that we will do with more vigor, support and accountability than we may have thought possible.

CR is going to be designing a ceremonial pipe that he has been considering for between 5 and 10 years.  DB is considering going to his own personal edge and putting together an internet presence after a long period avoiding Facebook and other such sites.  HS wants to tap into a hobby, surfing, that gives him joy – and is also considering an act of service.  Two men are interested in completing musical projects.  JR will take steps towards starting a business he has always dreamed of.  JC is going to a traditional college to complement his less traditional training.  MW is moving towards a project around fatherhood.

Some key takeaways: this is about awakening a part of you, bringing the journey alive in your daily life, and answering a deep calling.  It is time for all of us to reflect, and as the next step, name your project!  I’m excited to see how we all move forward in the coming weeks.

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Difficult times, and “thinking” mythically

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Yesterday Michael said “we will all grow old and die, and that’s if we’re lucky”.

There’s been some difficult news around me recently of those who haven’t been so lucky.  The premature death of former classmate Laudan Nabizadeh Fariborz, our friend’s newborn struggling to survive in the ICU, a relative’s loss of a baby in the second trimester, and a close friend’s struggle with a chronic and difficult health condition.

I recently said to someone that these types of things are not “fair”.  Yet the statement felt trite and inappropriate.  The truth is, words are very poor at articulating complex emotions, and for those of us who maybe live a little too much in our head, we can trap ourselves trying to “think”/verbalize our way out.

In times like these, I find tremendous solace in relating to things symbolically.  Recently, I’ve been struck by the symbol of water – washing things away, renewing, giving life, yet sometimes dangerous.  I was lucky enough to get to a yoga class today, and as I lay in Shavasana, we listened to the sounds of waves crashing…my mind began to wander.  I remembered lying on the beach as a young child, just far enough in so the waves could push my legs around.  And I imagined letting myself be carried out far to sea, and finally surrendering and letting it wash over and around me, yet feeling safe as I was buffeted about by an increasingly rough sea.  Somehow it is only from this place that I feel prepared to finally relate to everything, and simple words have absolutely nothing to do with it.

The Ordinary Heroes Project – Meeting #1

Yesterday was the first online meeting for the Ordinary Heroes Project, a pilot program from Hero’s Journey Foundation where 30 men will spend the next 3.5 months working collectively to bring their individual projects into reality.

I am thrilled to have been honored with an invitation to this pilot program.  The first meeting was marked by a real sense of community and coming together – we all took a brief moment to say hello to the group via video feed – and what a group it is!  Hailing from three continents, five decades, and a diverse array of experiences, it was incredible how quickly the sense of community began to develop – even amongst those who may not have known each other before.

The image and feeling that has stuck with me is the lightness of the burden as it is lifted by others from your shoulders.  I know many of us have begun to resonate with the idea that “Your great mistake is to act the drama as if you were alone”.  As a father of three working to build a family, that feeling is constantly in the background, and just bringing awareness to the possibility of being lifted with the community stirred me deeply.  I am excited for what awaits.

The concept of the “tavern” was prominent throughout, and gave cause for wonderful and bonding imagery (that of all of us together in a private tavern enjoying each other’s company), and a few hilarious laughs (like when Michael passed the “bill” for drinks through his video frame towards Nathan’s).

I don’t know what is to come, but I am ready.  It’s a bit like being on the high ropes and falling off, knowing that it will all turn out okay – let’s trust ourselves gentlemen as we leap together…