We might be a little tired on our quest. I mean, sheesh! Since we started this journey there has been little rest. We’ve faced lions and tigers and bears, oh my!
Many of those were folks we thought to be friends. So the emotional toll has been relatively high as well. Facing an unknown enemy is so much easier than one you thought loved you. Or at least had your best interests at heart. Those are the ones that sting.
And oh, what we wouldn’t give for a nice cup of tea and a warm snuggly bed . . .
Stop! You don’t get that yet. Before the reward stage can be realized, the crux of the matter comes straight up and bites your butt.
Or that’s what it feels like anyway. Right now, this day, when you least expect it, the major beast you’ve been stuffing all this time rises right up in your face. And while it can affect the other folks hiking with you, and they may want to help you fight it, this is your dragon. And only you can slay it.
Dang those dragons!
This is where the inner and outer worlds collide. And for you anyway, it’s the thing you fear the most, the thing you’ve “put off” dealing with all this time (possibly all your life), but the monster that if you don’t slay now, or at least tame, leaves you stuck in your tracks, unable to move forward.
To add insult to injury, this isn’t even the final ascent of your journey!
I have an editorial client whom I just love. She went from being an awkward non-athlete, two-pack-a-day smoker, embroiled in a marriage and life that was draining her to the bone. She took up jogging. Then rock climbing. Then those mountains looked quite inviting . . .
She ended up running 7 marathons on 7 continents, and climbing the 6 major peaks on 6 continents.
Everest stumped her.
She failed the first time. It was awful. And horror of horrors, she failed the second time. She had some physical conditions that would have stopped a normal woman from even attempting this, but it was her fear that conquered her.
When she got home that second time (which is about ¾ into the story—right where it should be), she faced that fear at its root. It wasn’t pretty. It’s a tough part of the book to read. But find it and face it she did. And set her sights on Everest again . . .
Did she succeed? You’ll have to read the book! Ha. But that’s not where we are on our journey.
And while Everest was the outer fanged monster, her inner fear was every bit as huge. That’s the mirror of the inner and outer beasts. And it always corresponds and correlates—in everybody’s stories.
Because slaying those demons is just about slaying the dark aspects. That’s what true myths and fairy tales are about. That’s what the hero’s journey is. Just think of the story above. It fits the myth to a T . . . As Joseph Campbell said, “The ultimate dragon is within you.”
Myths just help us make sense of the experience.
But this juncture is what determines whether you succeed or fail—if you slayed the beast within you. Because if you don’t, you won’t have that missing piece that caused you to fail before. I mean, if you’d already mastered it, you wouldn’t need this quest!
This is the internal piece, strength, insight that will be the final key necessary for the ultimate battle (our climax, still well down the road). If you don’t get it here, your quest may indeed prove tragic.
Face it. Stare it down. You don’t have to be a Ninja warrior to fight this one, you just have to have the strength to look it in the eye and not back down.
As Aristotle said: “You will never do anything in this world without courage. It is the greatest quality of the mind next to honor.”