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Wings of the Dawn

Whatever your personal and political views, we can all agree that we are smack in the midst of global challenges.  How we explain them and how we navigate through is the focus of this article.  Last month the Tampa Bay area hosted the first “Women Taking Care Of The World” conference and concert. What underpinned all the speakers and performers was a call to all attendees to face personal and global challenges with a new resilience. In fact from the first speaker to the last performer, we were expected to question our current level of resiliency. So let’s begin this pilgrimage with a series of questions; What sets our inner compass?  How adaptable are we to changes? Can we be comfortable with discomfort? How important is creative expression in the time of challenge?

Author and teacher Howard Thurman writes, “ Keep fresh before me the moments of my high resolve…..that in fair weather or in foul, in good times or in tempests, in the days when the darkness and the foe are nameless or familiar, I may not forget that to which my life is committed.” Dr. Thurman is asking us to decide what sets our inner compass.  What keeps our inner gyroscope from being impacted by external forces? What keeps us going when there is an external force in opposition to our forward motion or a desire to move through the opposing external force. We are better able to face the demons when we remember we have faced them before and won. We don’t plan on forgetting and we aren’t bad because we have forgotten however well intentioned in those moments of clarity, we forget. Dorothy remembered that her heart’s desire was there all along and Scrooge remembered how to love when he remembered he was loved. The Harry Potter series is the encapsulation of his development of resiliency.This familiar theme is ubiquitous in movies and in fact is the basis for most stories. We comfortably align with these stories because they are our stories.
I was first introduced to Joseph Campbell in the 1980’s while still living in California. Bill Moyer presented a series with Joseph Campbell and I along with many others was hooked on mythology. Dr. Campbell’s explanation of the hero’s journey will give us a superb framework.  There are three stages in mythology that coincidentally describe our stages of growth. Separation, initiation, and return are the familiar themes.  Let’s look at each as we answer the next of our questions. Separation is the first phase and it represents a ‘call to adventure’. We have a choice to go willingly into the unknown but go we shall. The changes may be a shift in awareness or may be more concrete like a change in our work or relationships. We will always be asked to shift a perspective and change our center of gravity.  To move from the known to the unknown. The challenge here is to be comfortable with often overwhelming feelings of discomfort and it is at this point that Dr. Thurman will remind us to ‘keep fresh before me the moments of high resolve’.      

From here we will encounter the unknown in people or events who may block us in some form. This is where many of us jump ship screaming all the way down, “Humbug” or “Auntie Em”, “I can’t do this” or the ever popular “ why is this happening to me”.   Our fears and doubts creep in and keep us from facing the challenge and discovering our strengths.
The second phase is Initiation where we are faced with a series of trials. This is sometimes referred to as the “dark night of the soul” or “the wilderness experience”.  This is the journey into the unknown.  If you are a fan of Harry Potter you will see this phase depicted expertly from the first book to the last as you see Harry move from childish behaviors to enormous resiliency.  Like us, Harry’s adventures put him more and more at risk and it is here that his and our maturity is developing. If we stay the course, we will surface having made a dramatic shift in our view of self and our world.

The final phase is the Return phase and it is here we return to our everyday life with the gifts from the journey.  Now we are able to say with conviction “if I ever go looking for my heart’s desire again, I won’t look further than my own back yard because if it isn’t there I never lost it at all.”  If you recall the Wizard of Oz and the final scene, you will recall that not everyone believed Dorothy had taken a trip to OZ.  Often times we will emerge from our journey and our message or the changes that have taken place within us are not accepted or understood. This is not the time to question our achievements or new awareness or to become disillusioned.   We may discover the people and places that provided us support will change and new people and opportunities present themselves.
This entire process is a creative endeavor. The degree to which we have developed our ingenuity is a vital part of the process. To be sure when we emerge from this quest, we will have developed ingenuity however we are diving deep and surfacing from these journeys throughout our lives. I have observed that those people who have developed their creativity don’t enter these times kicking and screaming like the rest. Creative expression take a multitude of forms from music, art, writing, dance, literature and singing and all these forms draw us inward and connect us to the place that is called first when a quest is upon us. Developing your creative/intuitive nature makes you ready to receive the call to adventure and proceed through to growth and possibilities.
What is happening in our world today is not so new or even unexpected and it certainly is not a judgment upon us for our shortcomings.  Yet the growth journeys will continue because without them we have no hope of becoming great and loving.



Renee Gillombardo, M.ED., MA, LMFT, is a psychotherapist, life coach, and business consultant.  She assists people in developing their highest potential.

Renee Gillombardo, MEd., M.A, LMFT
Renee C. Gillombardo, LMFT, PA
Psychotherapy, Consultation, Spiritual and Professional Coaching

Office:  727-385-0209


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