May 27, 2017

Every Crisis holds a Treasure—How we can Find It.

This is Part II of a three-part series. For Part I, here. For Part III, here. ~ ed. 


You’re not the Victim, you’re the Hero: Part II.

The Chinese word for crisis is formed of two symbols; one means danger and the other means opportunity.

We must choose to see crisis this way if we are to find the real treasure in life.

My wake-up call came during a difficult breakup. I loved her deeply. I had created a fantasy in my head where we would spend the rest of our lives together and live happily ever after. Unfortunately, she didn’t share the same fantasy.

As is true of many failing relationships, we broke up and got back together a lot. During that time, I heard the universe calling me to change something, but I didn’t listen until we finally decided our on-and-off-again relationship wasn’t doing either of us any good. During that difficult time, I finally answered the “call to adventure,” and started on a soul-searching journey to understand why the relationship ended and what my part in it was.

According to Joseph Campbell, once we are awakened and we answer the call, we step over a threshold and move from one world to the next. Once we are willing to take on the challenges of that newly awakened life, we begin to feel a kind of power come over us.

We come to the realization that we are the heroes of our own lives, not the victims.

Ordeal, Death, and Rebirth.

Campbell talks about a metaphorical death: Something dies so something else can live. And in every hero’s journey, there is some moment of death—where something old has to go, and something new has to stay. I had to kill the fantasy I created of being with this woman for the rest of my life.

In myth, when someone dies, it doesn’t mean the end of a biological life. It’s an indication that change is taking place. Without death, there is no transformation. The key to recognizing death is that it is just one old pattern that has played itself out and is of no use to us anymore. Like the Phoenix, this old pattern has to die to for something new—and more meaningful—to be reborn from the ashes.

Dragons, Ogres, and Demons.

When we are in pain, we desperately want that pain to go away. But, if we don’t stare that pain down and dive into the thing we fear the most, we will not discover the treasure in our Hero’s Journey.

“Opportunities to find deeper powers within ourselves come when life seems most challenging.” ~ Joseph Campbell

Slaying the dragon is peering into the eyes of the scariest thing we have faced, and it takes everything we have learned from the journey to take it out. My fear was being rejected, which triggered old, painful emotions of not feeling good enough.

In “Star Wars,” Luke Skywalker has to go into the dark cave where he battles Darth Vader. He cuts off Darth Vader’s head, and it rolls to his feet. Darth Vader’s helmet opens up, and Luke sees his own face. He thinks that the evil is going on outside of himself until he begins to see that he is really fearful of the evil that may exist within him.

When we see the struggle between good and evil as going on inside of us, it can be beneficial. But often, we want to feel we are good so we don’t find the negative within ourselves, and we look for something outside of us to blame it on. When fear or evil appears, we just push it away because we have this cognitive dissonance and we want to get rid of it.

Usually, the first key is to surrender to it—stop fighting it.

What’s even better is to learn to love our dragons. When we do this, whatever the dragon was hiding is revealed to us.  The dragon steps away and we see that we are actually fighting ourselves.

When we are no longer engaged in the fight, we are open to what might come to us. There is always a gift in overcoming our dragons—it is what our soul’s journey is all about…


This is part one of a three-part series. Part I is here. And Part III, here.


~ Written by a recent Elephant Academy graduate. Learn to write & change your career for the mindfuller. Apply to Elephant Academy.~


Author: J. Scott MacMillan 
Image: With kind permission, Penelope Dullaghan
Editor: Khara-Jade Warren

Leave a Thoughtful Comment

Read 0 comments and reply

Top Contributors Latest

J. Scott MacMillan