💜🐸 I feel and have experienced each part of this clip. I’ve been the toad (too many times), the finger (setting off a response, oftentimes without knowing or having had the intention of doing so), the expanse of floor (feeling chaos move over and through me), and the wall of solace.
* * *
Cartography is embodied. I know that parts of my brain are unchartered territory, while others are mapped in languages I seem to have forgotten. But this much I *do* know, a remembered and familiar stretch of road that I can travel when I feel lost:
The heart is center. It is both touchstone and cipher, and it can point to each person’s true north if we allow it the time and space and good feeding it needs.
When I feel adrift—like I do for reasons I can only guess at today—paper mentors speak to me. These, I have come to understand, are guides in the Hero’s Journey of my life. Do you know it? Joseph Campbell’s Monomyth?
“Meeting The Mentor” is part of a large mythic structure (Thanks, Joe) in which each of us can become the Hero in our own life. In the original Hero’s Journey, there’s just the one trip, but some of us roadtrip through life a few times.
At crucial turning points, the Hero (if we take up the journey) desperately needs guidance. When all seems lost or in the dumps, the Hero meets a mentor figure who provides something needed. The Hero (you, me, whoever) is given an object or teaching of great importance. Could be a physical item, training, advice, or a metaphoric 2x4 across the back of the head that creates a crystalized moment of insight. Whatever it is that the mentor provides the Hero, it serves (in part) to illuminate the path, dispelling doubts and fears about the road ahead. The mentor’s gift offers strength and courage to the Hero to begin or continue the journey. It is a type of spiritual feeding like lembas bread.
Lembas, for those unfamiliar with the geekdom that is Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings series, is a special bread made by elves. Lembas is shaped into cakes and often carried on long journeys because of its unusually filling nature. The ideal road snack.
But some of us are more like hobbits than elves:
🍞 Legolas : Lembas! [nibbles a corner]
🍞 Legolas : One small bite is enough to fill the stomach of a grown man!
🍞 Merry : [to Pippin] How many did you eat?
🍞 Pippin : Four. [burps]
In this dramatic life reading, I am Pippin: “What about second breakfast?… What about elevenses? Luncheon? Afternoon tea? Dinner? Supper?”
Bring on the mentors and spirit guides. They might come in dreamvision or in passages carried in my body, remembered parts that intertwine with my DNA. And sometimes mentors visit through odd video clips of screaming toads. “Here’s your lembas and the path.”
Maya Angelou showed up today with bread, a 2x4, and this message:
“I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
And so it is.
Lick your wounds and rest today. Consider your actions. Breathe and be present. And here’s my last paper mentor message from Tolkien to Angelou, delivered then from me to you.
Drink some water with that spirit food, you dehydrated Fool of a Took.