“You’re a great healer – just don’t do anything!”
These words came from an older man, a psychotherapist of 50 years, and a person who I held dear as the father I never had. I should correct myself. I did have a father, to whom I am so very grateful for bringing me into the world and making sure I was safe and well educated. But there was a part of me that he never saw, loved or fostered, and that was my deepest inner being. Those post-war years were more about getting ahead in the world, mastering survival and amassing financial fortune, and he was very good at that. My true father’s care for me was shown by deeds. I was blessed with the best schools money could buy, and as a result I am gifted with the opportunity to communicate effectively. Without him I would not be able to present this book to you.
Don, the father I never had, was more esoteric than my own father. He was a committed searcher, exploring his psyche from a young age. 18 years ago when he said those words to me, I was ready to remember them, but not to receive their full meaning.
In my mid 40’s, at the peak of an illustrious career and the founder of a thriving international business, I was deeply dissatisfied with life, and the creeping dread that no matter the trappings, there was a hard fall to come. It was dawning on me that all I had accomplished was actually worth very little. Cars, houses, boats and trophy women had little to offer that part deep inside. Yet here was a man, wise beyond his years, who had every reason to hate me. 15 years earlier I had left his daughter with a young child, and disappeared from their lives. Only Don sought me out, not with judgment or venom, but with love, and the understanding that what I did had little to do with who I was. He saw something in me that I hoped to have, but had never believed in, my essence.
Those few words well etched into my mind, took me a few years to fully understand. I had already begun my own esoteric journey as much as my busy life would permit, and was on the edge of my first Great Fall. A moment of reckoning was coming at me full force – although I couldn’t see it. Until it happened.
Now I know that there can be no growth from where I am today without taking stock of who I am first. Just as any journey on any map requires that we know our starting point, before I could really grow I would need to take a real look at who I was, the composite of experiences, choices and events that had crafted my character. I would need to embrace those parts of me I had hidden from, many of which were detestable.
The journey I was about to make looked impossible, like climbing a smooth rock face without hand or foothold. I sincerely wanted more value in my life, but I had thought that taking workshops, study programs and retreats would give me what I needed.
Many times I had been told I was a healer. One time at 30 I had my aura read, to be informed by a surprised practitioner that I was pure and had great things ahead of me. I had an exceptional heart that could change the world. Sounded great, nurtured some vague hope that the future would bring me wonders, and of course inflated my sense of self.
So study I did, searching for the building blocks I could use to construct my new self. I was diligent, committed and capable, but inside I felt like a fraud. I juggled my business self with my spiritual quest, one foot in each camp. But they were so far apart that my legs had to open wider and wider to keep in touch with them both until finally I fell into the chasm of my own darkness, and my own Hero’s Journey began.
This is a journey we all get to make. Those who are wiser do it by choice, but others of us get thrown into it by surprise, often an accident or an illness. We are taught to relate to the hero figure early in our lives, by fable, myth, and story. We see the hero’s journey on 3D screens and television sets, and it has become a fundamental part of our lives to watch the journey being played out by others.
But how many of you are aware that you are on your journey now? Above each of us is a space we can grow into. We call it potential, a permanent possibility for those committed to their own self-development. What is your own next step to greatness?