What does it mean to come face-to-face with a hero? Not anyone’s hero, but your hero. And, what indelible mark, if any, does it make when this happens? Maybe the myth and infatuation unravels with disappointment or realization that your hero is a fatally-flawed mortal. Such meetings may change lives, or they may simply be another pedestrian interaction. Fundamentally, though, these meetings hold potential to make us look deeply into who we are and what we aspire to be, or what we have to resuscitate.
I met one of my heroes last week, and it changed my life. The meeting summoned from the depths a lost self…a self that I’d sidelined and subjugated for well over fifteen years, dating back to my mom’s death in 1999. As I reflect, I can see that in the two years prior to my mom’s sudden death, hurdles and hiccups in her life and mine had begun to create a context where I was losing my self. Of course, at the time I did not know this. I was not paying attention…maybe I was afraid to pay attention or paid attention to the wrong things. I took my eye off my karma.
I’ve got some ideas about what happened socially and professionally; but, the devastating result was that I failed to nurture, or turn to the wisdom, of a self that could have taken me humbly, graciously, and mindfully through some pretty significant life moments and decisions. I’ve done pretty well since my mom’s death and am so grateful for what I have accomplished, as well as the opportunities I have. But I wish I’d remembered my self sooner.
Thankfully, last week, one of my heroes showed up. He stood right in front of me, with a cosmic mirror. There was nowhere to hide. What I saw and experienced propelled me back in time to pick up something I should not have laid down. What me hero said, in our private conversation and in his talk to a larger group, moonshot me powerfully into the present moment. For the first time, in a long time, I recognized myself reconstituted. My gratitude continues to overflow.