Find Your Worth [Seer Crawl day 40]

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Your thought to ponder for today: a slow read through THE SEER. Day 40. [all material from the book appears in italics]:


Parcival failed in the Fisher King’s castle because he did as he was taught to do. He heeded Gornimant’s advice. He lived within the code as the only way to fulfill his heart’s desire. Like me, he stopped seeing. Like me, he cut himself off from his nature.

The Fisher King gave Parcival a sword. The detail of the story that I play over and over in my mind is the maiden coming out of the woods and telling him his name: Parcival the Unfortunate. She also warned him that the sword, the gift from the king, would fail him when he most needed it.

I wondered what was my sword? What was my destiny? How had my sword failed me when I needed it most?

Parcival was confused and ashamed. Remember, he immediately sought Arthur’s court for help and guidance. He entered the court wearing his shiny new armor and carrying a new sword. And before he could ask anyone to explain what had happened in the castle, the loathly damsel entered, denounced him, stripped him naked before the whole court, and blamed him for the horrors to come.

Parcival was more confused and more ashamed than ever. He left Arthur’s court with all eyes avoiding him. He left vowing never to rest in the same place for two nights until he found the Grail Castle again and set things aright.

He kept his vow, too. For five years he searched for the Grail Castle. He was, as they say, completely in the field of action. He was a knight. A warrior. He rescued damsels. He defeated dark knights. He conquered ogres and giants and dragons. He liberated villages from curses and cretins. And during those five years, despite his best efforts, the crone’s prophecy still came true. Many knights died. The land became barren. People starved. Children were orphaned. Widows mourned their losses. It seemed that the more Parcival searched, the harder he looked, the more he tried to prove his worth, the more independent he became, the more devastated and empty was his world. Which made him fight harder to prove himself worthy. He thought that if he sacrificed himself he could keep the land alive.

Have you ever been so good at something and wanted to succeed so badly that you unknowingly compromise your self? Your work becomes about proving yourself instead of serving others? You find, one day, that everything you’ve strived to create is empty and you are living out of balance. That’s what happened to me. I was working so hard to prove myself that I forgot why I was doing what I was doing.

Parcival also forgot the object of his quest. He forgot that he was searching to find the Grail Castle. He became filled with a kind of fervor, zeal. Every act became an act of redemption. Every action was an exploit to prove his worth.

No one and nothing could defeat him in battle. He became famous! People talked of his sword, this magic sword, and after awhile even he came to believe the sword was the source of his power.

The parallels between the story and my life are startling! That is why stories are so useful: learn to see the patterns and read the metaphors and you will see yourself in them. The metaphors open when the story takes you. This is what I see: in my business, every action was intended to prove my worth. And, like Parcival, I invested my power, my safety and my security in an illusion. Parcival came to believe his sword was the source of his power and I came to believe that my intellect, my knowing was the source of my power. My knowledge was my sword and I wielded it like a weapon. Tim had tried gently to explain why our primary client dropped us: I was the reason. I was too much the expert. I became a fixer, an answer man who had no time to hear the client’s story.

Stories often turn on the moment when the main character learns how drastically that he has separated himself from himself. Trying to prove worth is an act of separation. Investing in an illusion like a magic sword or sharp knowledge is an act of separation. It reinforces the belief that our power is external to us. Worth is not something that can be proved or attained. It is in us all along.


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