Find Your Second Master [Seer Crawl day 46]

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I just used this image but it seemed appropriate for today’s post. This is WEEPING MAN

This is how I have been reading books lately. A few paragraphs at a time. Maybe a page or two. To really read and not just consume. Recently, I decided to re-read my book in the same manner. So, your thought from The Seer to ponder for today: a slow read through THE SEER. Day 46. [all material from the book appears in italics]:

 

29.

When my business failed my confidence collapsed. Like Parcival’s sword, everything that I thought I knew was worthless and lay in pieces all around me.

I stayed in bed wallowing in my misery for a week with my blankets pulled over my head. When finally I realized that I had nothing else to lose, I got out of bed and called Elizabeth. My business was gone, my pride, my reputation, my intention, my identity. I was pinned down and had no fight left in me. I surrendered. And that was when I found Virgil.

It seemed that the Parcival story was a braid strand entwined with my life story. Was I following the story or was the story following me?

Parcival’s sword exploded. The pieces of his power lay all around him.

The panther, the warrior of the earth, stood above Parcival poised and ready to strike the fatal blow. Parcival was pinned down by the weight of his armor. Laying on his back, he looked up into the warrior’s eyes, surrendering himself to death. He closed his eyes thinking, this is going to hurt. Nothing happened. Parcival opened his eyes and the warrior, like the castle and the maiden, was gone. Parcival managed to roll onto his knees and something broke inside him. He wept.

After the warrior vanished, Parcival retreated deeper into the woods. In his five years of searching he had become intensely self-reliant. He couldn’t go back to court. He had no idea how to get home. The source of all his power had just been shattered. His life was not unfolding as he had imagined that day long ago, when he first bumped into the knights and confused them with gods and he decided that he, too, would become a knight.

While Parcival was deep in his despair, he was discovered by a hermit. Now, it’s harder to be discovered by a hermit than you might imagine. A hermit, by definition, likes to be alone and generally avoids contact with other people. However the hermit found Parcival just as Gornimant had found him. Because Parcival was ready for his next life lessons, his teacher emerged.

That’s the same story I tell myself about for Virgil. I was ready and he emerged. Elizabeth had given me Virgil’s contact information a few months before I emailed him. I wasn’t ready to learn until I experienced the collapse of my business. Just like Parcival, I needed to lose my sword before I was ready for the teacher to find me.

Parcival was sitting on a stump, helmet off, weeping – which was why he retreated deeper into the woods because he didn’t want to be seen. It was the perfect time for a hermit to come along. I think the sight of a knight in full armor, sitting on a stump having a barking-style cry got the best of the hermit. It piqued his curiosity.

Hermits are notoriously quiet so Parcival didn’t hear the recluse sit down on the stump next to him. You can imagine his surprise, after his cry had run its course, when Parcival heard a crackly old voice say, “That’s a hell of a giant you’re fighting in there. What’s his name?” Parcival yelped and jumped from his stump. Keep in mind that this story is happening in the days when forest spirits showed themselves to mortals. Parcival wasn’t sure if he was about to be spelled or cursed. When he jumped up, he landed sideways on his foot and, being in full armor, he made the sound that a stack of cans in a grocery store makes when a cart bumps into it. He kind of looked like that too, as he crumpled all the way to the ground.  

The hermit chuckled and said, “Simmer down boy. I’m not going to turn you into a frog or nothing. I’m a hermit!”

That was not very comforting although it did help Parcival relax a bit. The hermit helped Parcival out of his armor so he could stand. The hermit looked him over, and invited Parcival back to the cave for some stew. Parcival went with the hermit, leaving his armor behind.

He broke his vow not to stay two nights in the same place until he found the Grail Castle again. Parcival stayed with the hermit for a night, then two, then he lost count of how long he’d been there. You’ve probably guessed by now that the hermit was his second master. The first master teaches craft. Second masters are the midwives for the birth of the heart.

 

 

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Play A Role [Seer Crawl day 9]

a slow read through THE SEER. day 9. [all material from the book will appear in italics]:

 

Some cultures actually believe that stories stalk you. They believe that a story is given to you before you are ready to hear it and then the story follows you throughout your life. Stories are patient and will stalk you for years. When it is first given, you miss the meaning of it or perhaps only understand the most superficial layer. So, like your shadow, the story walks with you waiting for the moment that you need it most. At that very moment, it penetrates your being. It becomes you. You become the story.

***

Stories are like mirrors. They help us to see our selves. Also, we project our selves into them and, in turn, they project adventure into us. Stories are not passive. They are living things. That’s why we seek coaches and counselors: to clarify our story. To un-block our story. To change our story. To challenge our story. To plug in to our story.  It’s why businesses hire consultants. To guide them through a forest. To take them to a high place so they can see. To challenge them to press through simple exploitation of resource into greater service. Business alchemy is a hot and fast moving fire.

That’s why I threaded the story of Parcival through The Seer. To help you see yourself in a mythic context is a great mirror.

***

Details are important in stories. They reveal pattern. They are very easy to miss and, once missed, the pattern remains invisible. It is an important detail to know that, at this mid-point where we enter the story, Parcival didn’t know his name. His mother had always called him “Dear Son”; she never spoke his name. Just like someone calling me an entrepreneur, or doctor, teacher, lawyer, manager, knight…. Parcival was a role. He had no father. He had no siblings. He had no friends. He’d grown up isolated deep in the woods. For all he knew, “Dear Son” was his name.

***

Stories begin when someone, the main character, you, gets lost or is knocked off balance.

***

It’s the first question. It is a great and scary question. Who do you believe yourself to be? Who are you beyond your role?

 

 

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Know The Patten [Seer Crawl day 8]

a slow read through THE SEER. day 8. Excerpts are in italics]

[today’s excerpt to ponder]:

Another valuable thing I learned about stories is that they unfold according to established patterns. Beginning, middle, and end are a simple pattern. Within this simple pattern is a more complex pattern structure. For instance, in order to grow, the main character has to leave behind everything he knows and go on a journey. That journey can be literal or an inner, metaphoric journey. To leave behind “the known” is part of the pattern that leads to trials, confrontations, and catharsis. It’s a pattern. Since each of us is the protagonist in our own story, the pattern is alive and at work in our lives. The trick is to become aware of where you are in the story cycle. Do you need to let go of what you know in order to grow? Are you navigating the trials? What happens once you’ve experienced catharsis?

Stories never begin with being found. We hear a call. We pursue it blindly and discover that we are lost in the woods. Stories begin when someone, the main character, you, gets lost or is knocked off balance.

[You are the protagonist in your own story. Where are you in the story cycle? Where are you in the pattern? These question/concepts apply to businesses as well as people. It’s all a story]

 

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