En Garde!

“The privilege of a lifetime is being who you are.”…Joseph Campbell

Some of my best writing material comes to me in the early morning hours while I am lying in bed, half awake, not quite ready to open my eyes yet.  Creative ideas come flooding into my brain like the morning sun through my bedroom window.  This morning, thoughts of medieval kingdoms, battles, maidens in distress and the search for the Holy Grail occupied my mind.  It makes sense in view of the fact that I have been reading King Arthur and the Round Table to Maggie.  I love these legends.  A bit of twelfth century history tangled with tales of magic, illicit love and spiritual quests. 

I am also reading, or shall I say devouring another book, “Reflections on the Art of Living, A Joseph Campbell Companion.”  A teacher and mythologist with a brilliant understanding of life, Campbell studied the symbolism of myths around the world.  One of the myths he decoded was King Arthur and the search for the Holy Grail. 

Two books.  One King.  A woman on a quest.  A coincidence? 

Still lying in bed, I remembered a wise quote from the companion that would make a great blog, something about a journey and coming to birth from within.  I had one major problem.  I had absolutely no idea where to find the quote, page 10 or page 110?  This is going to take a while, I thought.  I got out of bed, headed downstairs with my book and opened it to a random page.  I stopped in mid-step, completely blown-away.  There it was: the quote.  Not only was it on the first page I opened to, it was the first line I read: 

“And in this life-creative adventure the criterion of achievement will be …the courage to let go of the past, with its truths, goals, its dogmas of “meaning,” and its gifts: to die to the world and come to birth from within.”

I am convinced there are no coincidences.  It was a sign like the bat-signal calling Batman into action.  Deanne, this is your next blog, your new quest, your destiny.  And, the best part, the universe was making it easy for me; the biggest clue that I was on the right path following my bliss. 

 

According to Joseph Campbell, the twelfth century was considered “follow-your-bliss time,” a phrase he coined himself.  Basically, the idea is that we all have an inherent capacity for growth and fulfillment, and it is our job to reach our own potentiality, our bliss, enlightenment.  In fact, it is our most important job; our destiny.    

The quest for the Holy Grail is a metaphor for this journey.  Medieval legend held that a grail was a cup or plate used by Jesus at the last supper.  But in fact, “What the Holy Grail symbolizes is the highest spiritual fulfillment of a human life,” says the awesome Joe Campbell.  I love this man!

Of course, we all know that the quest for enlightenment is not a new idea.  Many have written or prophesized about it including Jesus, Buddha and Carl Jung.  The cool thing is that these rad dudes all believed enlightenment is for everyone.  It is not reserved for the few.  Everyone without exception, even the jerk that cut you off on the freeway, has the same potential to find his or her bliss.  

And, not only is it for everyone, it is not something you find out there.  The Gnostics believe Christ is in you. Buddha taught that all transcendental powers are within.  Carl Jung states our ultimate purpose is to individuate and find our “self.” Again, within.  So, the good news is that the source of this bliss, this eternal energy is not found in another person, at your local bar, on a rack at Nordstrom’s, that house with an ocean view or that other house with a steeple.  It is in you.    

The part where many of us get stuck is when we get lost following someone else’s path instead of creating our own.  Look around, how truly different is your car, house or life from the neighbor next door.  Maybe you have almond beige shag carpet and they have cashew beige.  Americans have become horribly homogenized in our eternal quest of the American dream.  And sadly, it is miles away from the Grail. 

Famous Knights like Percival, Sir Galahad, Sir Gawaine and other Sirs I can’t spell or pronounce knew you had to create your own path, sometimes over and over again.  They also knew there will be times when it takes immense courage and strength, hacking away in the thickest of woods and through the loneliest of times.  But, it was considered a disgrace to do otherwise.  “When any knight sees the trail of another, thinks he is getting there, and starts to follow the other’s track, he goes astray entirely”.

And, you will know when you go astray.  Things don’t jive.  There is no harmony in your life.  Relationships suffer.  Shit hits the fan.  You get cancer. 

But, when you are on the right track, following your bliss with compassionate, responsible life affirming choices, things feel right.  You are centered, focused and doors open to you.   As you begin to say “yes” to life the universe responds by saying “yes” back.  You are in relationship with yourself.  You are you.

It is not my intention to use this blog as a pedestal to preach.  I am just so excited about my own quest and all the new doors opening up to me that I wanted to give you a little preamble before I share it with you.    

Apparently, while I was busy battling cancer, life went on without me.  Many of our homeschooled friends went to school, girlfriends started new careers and my boys grew up.  Maggie chose to continue homeschooling in spite of all the changes and Kevin has been at his new job for over a year still working and commuting ungodly hours.    

So what am I doing?  Like the phoenix tattooed on my left shoulder, I am rising from the ashes, hacking away at a new path.  I am writing a book, an anthology to be exact, about my adventures in breast cancer.  I also joined a writer’s critique group to help me through the book writing process.  I connected with a new homeschool group with lots of girls Maggie’s age and awesome women to boot with a common philosophy on life.  We have a new member in our band, an awesome singer, who adds a whole new dynamic to our music.  I am learning about the equine world vicariously through Maggie, diving into raw foods, and I got my nose pierced yesterday.  Please don’t tell my mom.  I even started up our old book group again after a long sabbatical.  And, to top it all off, we are house hunting.

It has not been easy.  I have had to make some really tough decisions.  I am sad about some of the changes and leaving certain things behind.  In fact, at times it is heartbreaking.  It takes a lot of balls or in my case boobs to put myself out there, join groups, meet new people, and possibly move to another city, but like the Knights of the Round Table I am hacking away. 

Okay, maybe not exactly like the Knights of the Round Table.  My table is square, I do not own shiny armor and I am not wielding a sword and shield.  But, I do have a rock’n haircut, a sparkly jewel in my nose, and I am armed with pen, paper and a microphone following my bliss.  En Garde!

6 Responses to “En Garde!”

  1. Aunt Marilyn Says:

    Hi Love,
    Where are you moving to????? Another city??? Phoenix??? Maybe??
    Keep us posted. I don’t contact you often but think of you every day.
    Love you
    Aunt Marilyn

  2. joshua Says:

    The holy grail takes multiple forms, do you know what they are? Also who or what is the Sheckinah? and why does the shechinah take multiple forms?

  3. Deanne Says:

    Looks like I have some research to do and I will get back to you Joshua.

    And, Aunt Marilyn, no, not Phoenix. Sorry. Closer to Kevin’s work and Casey’s school! Love you too!

  4. Joe Mayes Says:

    Just stumbled on your blog while searching for — of all things, “chewing glass” (don’t ask).

    Just wanted to say: you are a complete and utter badass.

    God bless you and, if He’s slow in getting there, just keep kicking down whatever’s in your path.

    Mucho admiratio (Spanglish for, “You’re a complete and utter badass”).

  5. Ms. McQue Says:

    As always, thought provoking, motivating and inspiring.

    Sorry to have missed viewing your new adornment today in all the excitement in other areas.

  6. Anita Stephens Says:

    Deanne, I haven’t been much into facebook, but reading your articles about your thoughts and reading the writings of Maggie and Riley (I haven’t looked for one from Casey as yet) have convinced me that I’m missing out on a lot that is going on. Thank you for your beautiful expressions. You are amazing!! Let me know your plans for moving. Love, Anita

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