“One of the open secrets of life on earth is that the answer to life’s burning question has been inscribed in one’s soul all along. The soul is a kind of ancient vessel that holds the exact knowledge we seek and need to find our way in life. Each life is a pilgrimage intended to arrive at the center of the pilgrim’s soul. From that vantage point, the issue is not whether we managed to choose the right god or the only way to live righteously; such notions fail to recognize the inborn intimacy each soul already has with the divine.”
“Maybe the hero’s journey has taken us far enough, and the time has come for a different mythic imagination to rise and offer multiple approaches to the many dilemmas and complicated problems. Whereas the hero’s journey tends to be conceived as a courageous search in distant lands, the genius myth involves a turn within that leads to a deeper sense of self, but also a return to the origins of our lives.”
“Living myth is about the experience of the waters parting again in the here and now. As a critical moment opens before us the spirit of life and genius of the soul speaks to us and through us. What was about to crush us suddenly parts before us and we shoot forward with the sudden vitality of life, fueled by the living imagination needed to survive.”
― Michael Meade
It matters how we imagine our lives. The hero’s journey has been popular all my life, but I could never quite seem to fit the template. When I review my big projects, the upshot was some kind of personal search. Finding a vein of energy and inspiration via just trying things to see how they felt. Sometimes a surprising energy poured forth, like when I discovered expressionist painting in Florence, Italy of all places.
I stumbled into that quite by accident, but it really does seem that the universe puts those kinds of accidents in your path to help you. That idea gives me the feeling there are forces working to help us at our task of living as who we really are.
Finding our inner genius is crucial to living out our purpose, that gyroscope of the soul that makes our life mean something. In my case, since I somehow never felt like a full member of my family of origin, I became attracted to anything that suggested “home.” I was always leaving and returning to a home base. I was always renovating old houses. It’s easy now to see how I was trying to heal my relationship to home and what it meant.
Real home is in being who you are regardless where you are, though. It has taken me most of my life to learn that. Living outside the U.S. most of my adult years satisfied my urge to both leave home and find a home that corresponded to my spirit. If I had felt more connected to my family, I might not have done that.
It was very important to me to speak at least one foreign language. That impulse was undeniable, ever present and persistent. I think everyone has that kind of focus on something they are made for, something they’ll be miserable if they don’t do. It’s hard work you are made for, that you can’t wait to tackle. That’s the inner genius calling you to your real life.
My father called me “a strange one” and I did feel somewhat estranged from the family group, but looking back I wasn’t all that different from my parents. Nobody else was interested in foreign languages, but art, music and books were ever present at home. It’s just that I gravitated to language in a different way than expected.
I naturally expanded — modestly — on what I was given, and I was given a lot.