Everyone is a hero.
This is a given.
We have a call to adventure.
A crisis ensues.
We cannot turn back—and we answer the call.
We collect helpers, teachers, guides.
And we cross a threshold into the unknown.
We lose our identity and enter an abyss, a nadir,
the belly of the whale.
We begin traveling back home to what we have known—
recrossing the threshold.
We have changed.
I remember when I was deep in the work of recovery. I was in my thirties, and enduring flashbacks of childhood sexual abuse. Flooded by fragments of memories and feelings of profound betrayal, I cried a lot and easily. I started on a quest of sorts to put an end to suffering and to live a ‘normal’ life, which I imagined as having peace in my mind and body, and living without constant fear. At the time, one of my friends headed off to climb Everest. I idealized his adventure, thinking, Wow, to live such a heroic life! It wasn’t until I finally reached my goal of peaceful mind and body that I could see how extraordinary my efforts at healing had been, that I too had undergone a great adventure — one that took me not to the highest peaks, but to the darkest depths.
I don’t think we frequently honor how hard it is to commit to overcoming traumatic pasts and the grip of fear. But heroism is necessary here too. And although there aren’t always outward signs that one has surmounted a great obstacle, the inward changes are no less profound.
© 2015 Laura K Kerr, PhD. All rights reserved (applies to writing and photography).