Just Another FGO?

It seems that in most of our lives, we are confronted with our own Hero’s Journey at some point. We are presented with the opportunity to make a life-altering choice on our path.

For some of us, it happens over and over again. We confront cancer, a devastating divorce, the loss of a loved one, or myriad other situations that bring us to our knees. We experience these events as crises, often as horrendous, torturous events. We despair and at times lose hope.

In 12 Step parlance, these experiences are sometimes referred to as FGOs. Fucking Growth Opportunities.  Undoubtedly, they are.

But it is in the viewing of them as Opportunities, rather than seeing ourselves as victims in these particular situations, that we commence the Hero’s Journey.

We have to be willing to slog through the muck.

(it isn't pretty)

It is a choice. We can make it or not. Do we persevere? Do we face the Ordeal? Or do we retreat, collapse and withdraw?

The pivotal point in this Journey is the Ordeal – where “out of the moment of death”, a new life is born.

In our country we are facing a Hero’s Journey. We’re being confronted with our Shadows, the Threshold Guardians, the Shape Shifters, the Tricksters and the Allies, as described in Christopher Volger’s outline of the Archetypes of the Journey.

It’s too early in this particular story to know where we will end up, but the demons are certainly gnashing their teeth and wringing their hands in anticipatory glee.

Having recently finished reading “Diana, Herself”, an allegory of awakening by Martha Beck, I recognized that I, too, am in the midst of my own hero’s journey.

Serendipitously, the book arrived just as I reached the point of the Ordeal. For me, this was a personal bottom. It was a place where, despite continuous and countless attempts in every direction to start businesses or land jobs, or to simply cobble together freelance income, it was never quite enough.

Having gone on like this for more than four years, I found myself deeply in debt. Never before had I been unable to support myself – that is, without some rescuer swooping down to save me.

And it seems I had been waiting. Holding out hope that from somewhere, somehow, everything would magically fall into place. Holding my breath. Holding my ears, singing “la la la la la la” – unwilling to hear that I simply had to let go.

Over this period of time, friends and family were as supportive as they could have been – but essentially would shake their heads and shrug their shoulders and could not understand why this was all happening. Needless to say, nor did I!

Bottom line was that I had to let go of the child-like wish that I would be taken care of – by human beings, that is. I had to let go of my will. And my way. To show up. Stand up. Stand still. And listen.

And when I finally did (really did), what I heard, was that I am taken care of – but not by any other person. Not by any other circumstance. Not by the having or not having any other thing.

I am taken care of - by Source. In every way. In every situation.  At every time. AS LONG AS I STAY OUT OF THE WAY.

But every time, because of my fear and lack of trust, I would jump in with a solution. A band aid. A fix. Because I couldn’t bear the stillness. I didn’t have the faith.

When really, I needed to let myself fall. All of the way down. All of the way to the bottom of the abyss. And to see that I wouldn’t die. That I am held. That I really do have a pretty charmed, incredible life – whether or not I have any money.

And so, like prying fingers from their death grip on my past, I have been letting go. Slowly. Sometimes very painfully. One by one. Releasing a finger at a time, until my hand was left open to receive.

It seems that I am beginning to crest the peak (or the valley!) of the Ordeal. The view of the vast, stunning horizon in front of me is slowly coming into focus.

Through this, I’ve been given the opportunity to reconfigure my self, my values, my spiritual connection, my relationships, to come into alignment with my essence, to get woke.

And it’s just beginning. There is most certainly more to come.


Sharon Eisenhauer