The Hero's Journey, courtesy Joseph Campbell
It has been several years since I returned from my adventure in the Middle East. Like Joseph Campbell's The Hero's Journey, The Call to Return also sparked not only a resurrection of my life in a new context, it made me grateful that I have had the privilege of the adventure.
The new Star Wars 'The Force Awakens' movie, made me realise that the Light side coexists naturally with the Dark. There more light, the more apparent shadows it casts. And so it was upon my Return.
I had learnt a lot in Qatar. Looking back, it was both the most unlikely place to be, and also the most perfect place to be at the time in my life. Without immersing myself there, how could I speak about feeling simultaneously repressed and free.
Repressed - because there were more constraints compared to how I had been when I was living in Australia - the dress code, the language, the climate, the food, the contradiction of old and new, the seeming divide between the genders, the chasm between the have- and the have-nots.
Free - because I can keep an open mind to notice that all is as it should be: nothing is absolutely good or bad. Celebrating a so-called good event: the privilege to come to live in a country I had never even considered to bring my family gave me the adventure of a lifetime. I realised I had an uncanny resilience to adapt to daily normalities. What a gift! A bad event at the time? Reframing it - I counted my blessings that it happened when it did, so the situation gave me a new reference structure: Now I can say I have expanded my epistemology... stretched my comfort zone! How wonderful. I learnt something.
For instance, when my assignment ended prematurely in Qatar - another occurrence of regularity in that part of the world - I found an extraordinary agility to act in adversity: a resilience to make decisions clearly, manage stress of many tasks to be accomplished in a tight deadline, and deal with roller-coaster emotions calmly. I had to move my family out within 7 days with the expiration of my resident permit. Within the week, I had to pack down the home, deregister my children from their schools, research new schools and new options of work, organise immigration and organisational exit, ......move home, move countries, move work, move my life!
A new adventure in the desert
I could only see opportunities and possibilities from this.
Having begun this practice of mindfulness in the midst of madness in the Middle East: such as regular meditation, open minded/open hearted/openly willing approach in the market place, this next chapter of co-sensing and co-creating my own future is absolutely exciting.
“The future is not some place we are going, but one we are creating. The paths are not to be found, but made. And the activity of making them changes both the maker and the destination.”― John H. Schaar
I used to feel guilty about looking into the past - a bit hysterical about the historical! There is no way we can change the events gone by, yet we have the power to make new meaning of them. Rewriting it as I move forward by glancing back to see what I have learnt, and what still needs addressing .... I am going to re-present my essence in my future through understanding role models that have played out in my life: past and present. Review and reflect constantly in a design thinking sense: so I may reorganise my life to be more response-able.
In these next new series of blogs, I intend to journal my reflections of the new Call to Adventure in the next cycle of my Hero's Journey. What a paradox: the more enlightened I thought I had become, certain shadows in my life became even more defined. In fact, they were magnified - shouting out to be dealt with.
I am tentatively naming this new series: Love and Duty. My first book 'Intentional Parenting - how to get results for both you and your kids' was the first Call to Adventure -which excited me to write my first book.
In this series of blogs, I hope to use these musings to support my penning a fiction about the life of a woman whose lessons of balancing love and duty (more often than not it was Duty OVER Love), reflecting on what she had learnt from 5 women in her family: great-grandmother, grandmother, mother, daughter and her developing self. Literary licence gives me, as the writer, to explore her insights and lessons from the past lives of this fictional female lead character (yet to be named!) whom she meets in dreams and waking meditations.
Love your thoughts and feedback! After all, the future is a place we can make, together.