What does it mean to be heroic?
I’m sure you’ve heard us talk about the importance of crafting a movement practice that cultivates our most heroic selves. We want to use our daily mental and physical training to become the version of ourselves that we would most admire.
It is a central tenet of our method because it’s played such a huge role in the lives of our coaches and many of our students.
While that imagery speaks to a large percentage of our audience, we do get challenged from time to time by people who feel that striving to be “heroic” is an inappropriate message.
It’s understandable that all this talk of facing chaos, confronting fear and slaying dragons might create a sense of inaccessibility for those looking to movement practice as a means of finding balance and serenity in their lives.
The truth is that practicing movement affords all of these qualities and more.
It is not just about training the capacity to charge headlong and conquer adversity with the sword, though that can be useful, it is just as much about finding resonance with nature and holding space for the creative and expressive powers that exist within us.
This aspect is just as huge a part of our work and practice, and when we tell our students the stories of Saint George and the Dragon, or The King of Odd, the central focus we point to is that there are multiple expressions of the heroic self that each and every one of us has access to.
You might call it masculine or feminine, yin and yang, hard or soft… however you like to conceptualize it, the truly heroic self we strive for carries with it the ability to recognize when and where either approach is necessary, and utilize the strength that each one has to offer.
The problem is that for most of us, when we hear the word “Hero”, we tend to immediately think of archetypal “Warriors”. We think of soldiers and superheroes, gunfighters and brave knights, brawny, wild characters that don’t back down and who mercilessly crush their foes.
While warriors are usually portrayed as being heroic, the two terms are not synonymous. While they may not be conventional warriors, are the loving mother, the healer, or the shepherd any less heroic? They face chaos and adversity not with sword and shield, but with compassion and wisdom.
What we want to point out in this episode is that there is an archetype that embodies both the gentle and firm aspects of heroism, and striving to embody this archetype is a far more relevant and useful aim than putting all our eggs in the basket of warrior-hood.
That archetype is the Sage.
Sage characters have power and compassion in equal measure. A sage has, against all odds, faced down their inner darkness, broken the shackles of their ego, and cultivated a wisdom that affords prosperity and security to themselves, but more importantly their people.
The Sage Is a warrior, a scholar, a healer, and a devoted caretaker.
This a much more complete idea of what we’re striving for in our quest to become our most heroic self. Can we develop a strong and capable body, a sharp and curious intellect, and a deeply compassionate heart…
More so, can we integrate these aspects of ourselves together so that they are aligned towards creating a better world for our community and the world at large?
In today’s episode of the Evolve Move Play Podcast, we asked John Vervaeke to join us because in a recent talk he did with colleague Anderson Todd, while there were a ton of great insights in that episode, we also noticed that they were conflating the hero with the warrior.
Since this is highly relevant to our work, It seemed that this would be a perfect way to engage in a mutual dialogue about these topics so that all of us involved can come to a better understanding of these ideas and the role they play in our lives.
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