Week Three: Wake The Hero!

July 24, 2011 § Leave a comment

As I write this, I am wedged into my favorite seat on the bus, with a solar panel, a strained back, a bag full of lightbulbs, and a yoghurt.  The trees are passing like barcodes, afternoon laundry is flapping it’s cold winter wings, and I am smiling, because I could never have imagined this life.  In the same moment, dear reader, I am creatively searching. I am working to translate the results of our experiment this week.

The goal of our Fourteen Week Challenge is not only to acquire new tools of compassion for a rich and meaningful life, but it is also to prove that through small sacrifice, in a united effort – $1 per person, per week – we can dramatically alleviate the suffering of another.  The percentage of readers last week who clicked the link and took this simple step was 1.9%.  This week, with readership up and those already paid in counted out, the percentage of loving people making sacrifice is down to .05%!

The irony is that I am smiling.  The reason I am smiling is not because of the message this sends, but rather because of the generosity of the SEVEN PEOPLE, of near 1500 now, who actually played their part.  These seven people donated so generously that we were thankfully able to make up some ground!   All seven gave more than asked of them, and two alone gave enough to mount $500!  To you MIGHTY SEVEN, I can hardly explain the joy that consumed me upon sight of your sacrifice.  I am full of hope dear reader!  But it will take action to make proof of our potential.

Your $1 is a symbol.

Stand with me.


It’s easy to cut our legs off; easy to cripple hope for mankind.  Turn on the news. There’s no shortage of aggression and selfishness, hidden behind masks, woven into mazes.  It’s easier to throw your hands in the air or raise a temper than it is to find proof of our power to break it all up.  It’s easy to be afraid; easy to pad ourselves from poverty and catastrophe, focus on our little nest, and sit on a cushion that the rest of the world is starving for. Our capacity for selfishness and complacency is proving only to run deeper and deeper.  But we also know the story of the hero; the enlightened, transcendent warrior of truth and love, in past and present, myth and flesh.

Ghandi.  The Dalai Lama.  Neslon Mandela.  Martin Luther King Jr.  Mother Teresa.  RumiBuddhaJesusMuhammad.  Selfless Mothers and Fathers.  Freedom Fighters.  Strong Teachers.  Brave Journalists.  People who live and die in the name of human rights; in the name of love; in the name of peaceful truth.

It’s false to say that today these heroes are in short supply.  We have enough in this very moment to repair the intended tremendous beauty of our Earth and construct the future we wish for our children and our grandchildren.  The problem is not numbers; the problem is sleep.  Our heroes are sleeping.  Some watch t.v; some chase their insatiable wantings; some are hung over; some are disenchanted; most dream brilliantly, but freeze in fear, distraction, and inaction.  These heroes are in every single one of us.

Believe it or not, as quickly as our world can tangle, it can untangle.  It can be a place of overwhelming joy and fulfillment and love. It’s just waiting on a hero, waiting on you.

Open your chest for a firebomb.  This week is focused on the waking eye of your inner-hero.


Wisdom Fruit One:  The Universal Hero

Wisdom Fruit Two:  Like A Loved One From A Fire

Wisdom Fruit Three: Concentric Circles

Wisdom Fruit One: The Universal Hero

“Every single culture developed its own myth of the hero, an individual who transformed the life of his people at immense cost to himself.  The story always takes the same basic form so must express a universal insight.  In all these tales, the hero begins by looking around his society and finding that something is missing.  Perhaps there is spiritual malaise; perhaps traditional ideas no longer speak to his contemporaries; perhaps they are all facing some unusual danger.  He can find no ready-made solutions, so he decides to leave home, turn his back on everything safe and familiar, and find a different answer.  His quest is heroic because it demands self-sacrifice: the hero will experience pain, rejection, isolation, danger, and even death.  But he is willing to undertake this journey out of love for his people – a devotion that does not consist of wordy declarations but of practically expressed altruism.”

“All were disturbed by the spectacle of ubiquitous suffering.” 

All had to “assess and reject the allure of an easier, showier, and more obvious path.”

All learned to be free of fear.

The purpose of these stories, fiction or non-fiction, is to unleash our own heroic potential, to show us what we must do to create a better world and how best to meet the challenges of our time!  They are to BIND us, not divide us. No longer should we compete for whose hero is the best hero, like children; rather, we should strive to embrace, share, and embody the strengths of each.

In studying the luminaries of the past, gleaning wisdom from the virtues they bravely upheld, we can better fulfill our own heroic potential.

Wisdom Fruit Two:  Like A Loved One From A Fire

For most of us, the presence of a kicking hero within’ is no ground-breaking revelation.  It’s fulfilling the potential that is difficult.

Battle one is the REPTILE!  We discussed this last week.  But before we can more aptly love and create change in the world, we have to more aptly love and create change in ourself!  This is a daily conquering.

The next task of our hero, as if the first isn’t difficult enough, is to somehow carve a legacy in this massive, aggressive, tangled world!  We can be crippled by the weight of this gargantuan challenge, or we can meet other heroes, wake other heroes, and be empowered and excited by the chance to meet the questions present in each single, living day.

We should not approach our task with the harsh zeal of a reformer; there should be no anger, frustration, or impatience in our survey.  Think outside the box, be powerful, search with joy, create with passion, embrace tension, shoo fear, and above all ACT.

Wake your inner-hero like a loved-one from a fire!

Wisdom Fruit Three:  Concentric Circles

Confucius modeled the sharing of compassion on concentric circles.  At the center is our family, then friends, then your community, your country, those outside your culture, and so on, until eventually you sharing compassion even with your enemies.  Each ring moving outward is one step less tribal; one step more human; one step further in transcendence of the self.

This is the path of every great hero.  Armstrong suggests we focus on three main arenas to begin.

1.    Family:

It is true, as the age old adage says, that charity begins at home.  The family is a school of compassion because it is here we learn to live with other people.  Family life involves self-sacrifice; nearly every day there is something to forgive.  Instead of seeing this as an irritant, we should see these tensions as opportunities for growth and transformation.

2.     Work:

Your work place is a small world in its own: family, friends, people with different ideologies, different behaviors, people who test you deeply.  You will grow stronger by each ring you further stretch compassion and love.

3.     Community and Country:

What are the strengths of your community?  What are the strengths of your country?  What are their weaknesses?  If compassion were at the core of their movement, how incredible could they be?  How can these strengths be tailored to meet the weaknesses?


This is where lovely change has arrived!   Our acts need more structure and simplification.  So I’ve laid the week out and given each day a focus effort.

Print the week’s plan below.  Carry it in your purse, in your briefcase, in your heart and in your mind.  This is a simple and vital investment in an awesome week ahead!  I’d be honored if you join me.

Thank you for your love, just by reading this; by listening to one hopeful broadcast after the next.  You are a gift to this universe, every uniqueness, every wrinkle, every beautiful act.  Wake your inner-hero like a loved-one from a fire!



* – Armstrong’s suggestion


1.  Draw your inner-warrior!  The strengths he / she has and the strengths you dream him / her to acquire.  Post it next to the REPTILE.  This is the first test of every day.

2.   Pick a hero, myth or man, and decide what – exactly – you most admire about them.  Dedicate your day to these attributes.  Feel the hero in your chest and carry these powers with unwavering strength.  You are MIGHTY!


*1.  Ask yourself what you really feel about your family.  What makes you proud and happy about them?  Make a list of the ways in which your family nourishes you.

 *2.  Make your family today’s school of compassion.  Dedicate today to avoid speaking hastily; to listen lovingly.  And make a serious attempt to treat every member of your family with compassion.  If they were to die tomorrow, what would you say to them today?


*1. To whom in your profession and your own place of work would you give a Golden Rule prize?  Tell them.  And work to embody their strengths today in your environment.

2.  Make your work place a school of compassion.  Work to treat everyone you encounter, particularly those who present tension (the greatest opportunity for growth!), with patience, thoughtful care, listening and compassion.


*1. What are the strengths of your community?  And the weaknesses?  Ask yourself what your particular contribution should be and where you should concentrate your efforts in contributing to the bettered welfare of this placeYour unique strengths and vantage point are yours alone, be empowered by them!

2.  Every man or woman in the street can become a force for good in the world.  Prove this to be true!  Commit a random act of kindness; forge some kind of compassionate connection with a neighbor, a shop keeper, a stranger.  Just a caring ‘how are you?’ will start.


1. Who of your friends and family embody heroic attributes?  What admirable characteristics do they flex with strength?  Share your admiration with them!  Tell them in an email, in a hug, in a phone call.  More than one person.   The more you shine light upon beauty, the more beauty shine’s light back.  It’s infectious MIGHTY LOVER.


1.  Look for awe and wonder!  Look for beauty and love!  At home, in the park, on the street, in the sky.  There is magnificence in the purpose, creation and entire cycle of all things.  Dedicate your day to falling madly in love with the smallest wonders and grandest gifts of this life.


1. Week Four!  Let’s Dig It.

“Trim what is too long, and stretch out what is too short, eliminate surplus and repair deficiency, extend the forms of love and reverence, and step by step, bring to fulfillment the beauties of proper conduct.”

~  Xunzi  ~


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