I’ve had a lot of people tell me after the Quest series that they didn’t have anything that important in their lives. That their lives were filled with the mundane, with driving kids to various functions, toiling at their jobs, volunteering, etc., etc., and none of that was worthy of a quest.
Really? Yes, most days are filled with chopping wood and carrying water, as the Buddhists say. Both before and after enlightenment J It’s part and parcel of life.
But when I dig a bit deeper, with everyone who’s spoken to me about this, there is a quest within that lies dormant, waiting to be allowed a voice.
We have this idea that setting out on a hero’s quest is just that—setting out. Leaving home and hearth and venturing the roiling seas to find whatever one is searching for. But most of the time, we undertake that journey right where we are.
And often, the very act of living one’s life is a quest in and of itself.
Becoming a mother is a quest. I know of no more difficult role. As Joseph Campbell said, “Giving birth is definitely a heroic deed, in that it is the giving over of oneself to the life of another.”
And therein lies the seeds of what this journey is all about. Because no matter if you’re donning that role, or setting your sights on the cosmos in the sky, the entire point of this quest, and of life itself, is to become the thing that you can be. And then bring your gifts back to the world.
No matter how different we all appear to be, we’re all in this together. On a round planet, we can’t really choose sides, can we? Because in the end and from space, it looks ridiculous when we do so.
Once a reporter ran up to Mahatma Gandhi and asked, “Do you have a message I can take back to my people?” As this was Gandhi’s day of silence (don’t you love that! A day of silence. Ahh!), he scrawled a note and gave it to the reporter. The note said:
“My life is my message.”
Don’t you love that?
Now, I can hear the response of, “But that was Gandhi! He did great things!”
Yes, he did. But he, too, had to accept the call to do them. And while we think of heroes in these larger-than-life roles, the fact is that we’re all called to live better lives, to become who we can potentially be. And potential lives within us all.
The more we can grasp that fact, the more we can live out our own hero’s quest—whatever that looks like—and the better off we’ll all be.
Does it matter if I write this? Sometimes I do wonder. And then someone contacts me and says how something I wrote spurred them on. Made the world make some sort of sense. How a piece of it was the missing one from their own puzzle.
That might not seem like a big thing. But we all have fears and desires, goals and dreams. All of us. And if what you do can shine one ray of light into the darkness we all wade through, then womankind is better off for it. We’re all better off for it.
At times, we all need another to help us up.
What I know for absolute true is that yes, your quest matters to us all. This is why we’re here—all of us. To become who we can be, and then bring that to the world.
As author Gertrude Stein said, “Anything one does every day is important and imposing . . .”
What is the message of your life?