Last week I wrote about the course I'm taking on the archetypal nature of war. Our Thursday discussion touched on the cause of one of the deepest traumas of war: when individual morality gives way to a collective mandate. Edward Tick writes in his book Warrior's Return "PTSD results when your head tells you to do what your heart tells you is wrong. . . as a warrior, do you judge that you were used for good or ill, for preservation or aggression? The invisible wound results from the degree to which an individual soldier fulfills or fails to fulfill, betrays or feels betrayed by, the pursuit of the Warrior ideal."
Having never been a soldier, I am interested to hear from those of you who are/were about your thoughts on this statement. The discussion and writing got me thinking about all of us who allow our individual selves to disappear into the norms of the collective. Do our souls also suffer? Perhaps when we betray our own vision of the human ideal we create an invisible wound within ourselves.
I talk with many people who give way to the collective in every-day life and feel a loss of self. They take actions against their moral code to keep their jobs. They stay silent to keep peace in the family. They pursue a career void of passion because of others' expectations. They spend beyond their means to keep up appearances.
"I don't even know who I am," people tell me. When I dig deeper, they reveal the truth: that they are a mix of what everyone else expects them to be. If you are in this state you are not alone. It's hard work to reclaim your identity, but it is possible. Sometimes we are buried so far beneath our false selves that we must embark on a deep excavation. Other times all it takes is a reminder that we are subject to invisible forces that want to swallow us up and "normalize" us.
The good news is that however deep your pure self is buried, you can emancipate it. As a starting point, just be present. Be present to what you like and what you don't like. Feel in your body when you become truly alive and notice when your spidey senses tell you something's wrong. From there, you will find yourself speaking up, taking alternative actions and moving closer to your vision of the human ideal.
Ready to Excavate Your True Self?
There are only a couple slots left in our upcoming Flourishing for Midlife Seekers Workshop on October 20th and 21st. If you identify with the writing above, this workshop is ideal for you. I'll provide frameworks for exploration and tools for self empowerment and expression.
Whatever your reason for coming, you'll leave with a new understanding of the stories that frame your life, the values that drive your fulfillment and the purpose that only you can fulfill. Register today to reserve your spot!
A Big Thank You!
A big thank you to the National Military Spouse Network for the opportunity to speak about living courageously to members in Fort Walton Beach, Florida. A fantastic group showed up to strengthen their skills, expand their networks and learn how to create their own courageous lives.
This week I'm heading to The Leadership Circle's Summit in Park City, Utah. I'm thrilled to bring my Soar project to coaches and leadership development professionals elevating the practice of conscious leadership.
Tune in for #WeLiveBigWednesdays!
Be sure to tune in for this week's #WeLiveBigWednesdays Challenge where I'll broadcast LIVE from beautiful Park City. You can find me at 9am Eastern on the We Live Big Facebook Page!