Tag Archives: Hero

Featured Intent: Hero In My Own World

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Who are you waiting on to save you?
Superhero films are a big market and it’s not just because we would all love to be super strong, super fast or super good looking. There is the relieving part of knowing that someone is coming to save us, that we’re not on our own, that someone else will step in. But what happens when they don’t? And do we really need someone else to step in? Sometimes, sure. Sometimes, being a hero is an outside job and that is okay. But we can forget that we also have the power to be our own heroes. Who knows us better than ourselves? Who else knows our distraction tactics, the lies we tell ourselves, our biggest triggers? We can be very dangerous to ourselves, but we can also be the heroes we need, because who else knows what we love, what really motivates us, what makes us light up?

So today we want to lean into that space- the space where we get to be the hero we’ve been looking for.

You too? Here are 3 resources to help: Continue reading

Discovering Your True Self

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My best friend Erin always felt like she was a follower because she never had a “thing”.
She liked basketball and played in a league but it wasn’t her whole life.
She played music and owns a couple of instruments but it didn’t consume her.
She writes but mostly for herself even though she’s really great at it.

There wasn’t one circle of friends or work or life she felt defined her. She could come and go from a variety of circles and as a result always felt like it must mean she wasn’t a good leader. She must just be a wanderer going from place to place, never being confident enough in one thing to really take charge.

Then we both took the Clifton’s Strengthfinders Test that asks you a series of questions and returns with your top strengths out of 34 on their list. Surprise, surprise- Erin found that one of her top 5 strengths was ADAPTABILITY.

This aspect of her life that had for so long felt like a weakness was actually a strength! She found that she had the ability that so many lacked to be able to be thrown into a variety of situations and really thrive. For the first time, she found truth in discovering who she was.

I know she’s not the only person who saw themselves as an Ugly Duckling of some sort, only to find that maybe they were just a swan and didn’t know it. While we will surely spend the rest of our lives growing and developing, cutting off things that don’t work in our lives and investing in things that do, maybe it’s time to shine a little light of truth onto the uniqueness of who you are!

So here are some thought-provoking questions:

1. What are your favorite parts of yourself? Maybe it’s your love of family. Maybe it’s your recipe for brownies. Maybe it’s your legs. Whatever they are- how are you engaging them and how are you using them to help other people be more alive?

2. When it comes to the things you’re least proud of, what would you say to your best friend if they shared the same thing? We tend to be most hard on ourselves- we aren’t eating right, we could be better friends, we should be over this relationship quicker. But when it comes to those we love, we tend to offer more grace and see things in a better light. Take a moment and imagine what you would say to your best friend if they had the same thought or feeling about themselves. And then take a dose of your own medicine.

3. Who are your heroes? There are surely qualities that your heroes possess that you value. So what might happen if you intentionally fostered those qualities in yourself? Selflessness, patience, fearlessness. Heroes aren’t just born with a supernatural ability to be great. They sacrifice and choose those things when they could choose others. You can do the same thing. You are every bit designed to be a hero.

You don’t have to lie to yourself. We don’t encourage you live in a fantasy world.
We do encourage you to be true to who you are.
We encourage you to discover who that person truly is.
Nice to meet you!

8 Quotes to Help Define a Hero

A hero can come in all shapes and sizes – from 91 year-old grandmothers to 7th graders standing up for healthier school lunches. Sometimes they wear costumes and uniforms, at other times they blend in right next to us and we never know they were there. They save us from burning buildings, or maybe they save us from ourselves. Heroes are the people that are selfless enough to put the needs of others before their own and they are there when we need them most. Every person picks their heroes for different reasons, but there are certain qualities that appear in many of those we look up to. Do any of these quotes describe someone you think secretly hides a cape under their day clothes?

Hero - Mr Rogers

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Maya Angelou quote

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Christopher Reeves quote

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Ralph Waldo Emerson

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Mike Alsford

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Bob Dylan

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Romain Rolland

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Who is your hero? Do any of these quotes describe them? Share your stories of people that save you or inspire you on a regular basis! Let us know what makes them so special to you in the comments below. 

Who Are Your Patron Saints? Here Are Mine

winston_churchillPeople often ask me, “Come on, what’s the key to happiness? If you had to pick one thing, what would you say?”

I think that question can be answered in several ways, depending on what framework you use.

But one answer would certainly be: self-knowledge. It’s the Fifth Splendid Truth: We can build a happy life only on the foundation of our own nature.

But it’s surprisingly hard to know yourself! So how can you sneak a glimpse into your own nature?

You can ask yourself: Whom do I envy? What do I lie about? The answers to these questions reveal the way in which your life doesn’t reflect your values.

You can ask yourself: What did I do for fun when I was ten years old? You’d probably enjoy as an adult a version of what you enjoyed as a ten-year-old.

You can ask yourself: What do I actually DO?

You can ask yourself: Who are my patron saints? (A “patron saint” is a saint who has a special connection to a person, place, profession, or activity, or in more casual terms, a person who serves as a particular leader or example.)

I have many patron saints, but here are six of them:

Benjamin Franklin: practical, curious, inventive.

St. Therese of Lisieux: showing great love through small, ordinary actions. St. Therese is also my spiritual master.

Samuel Johnson: wildly eccentric, with a deep understanding of human nature. This patron saint made it into the subtitle of Happier at Home!

Julia Child: goofy yet masterly; light-hearted yet authoritative. For some reason, she’s been on my mind lately.

Winston Churchill: indefatigable, indomitable. I wrote a biography of Churchill, Forty Ways To Look at Winston Churchill, so I have a special attachment to him.

Virginia Woolf: intensely attuned to the power of the passing moment.

When I look back on the pieces I’ve written about my patron saints, I see that they’re among my favorite posts.

How about you? Who are your patron saints, and why?

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Double Amputee Marine Visits Boston Bombing Victims – Inspiring Video

As news coverage of the last few days has captured the thrilling, cowboy Western-esque hunt for the Boston Marathon bombing suspects, victims of last week’s devastating attack have meanwhile lay recovering in hospitals around the Boston area. Many of those injured lost legs, arms, ankles, even multiple limbs, the effect of which can have a profound and shattering impact on a person’s life.

Now, there has been no shortage of stories about the heroes of the Boston bombing – spectators who sprang into action to help the injured, runners donating blood, people opening their homes. This story is right up there. In this video, we see a double amputee Marine visiting Celeste Corcoran and her 17-year-old daughter in the hospital, both gravely injured by the bombs. Celeste lost both of her legs just below the knee, and both she and her daughter have had three surgeries since April 16.

As their visitor tells them, “This is the new beginning…So many opportunities are going to come your way.” Watch the video and let us know what you think:

How’s that for some human-to-human support and compassion? We are so inspired by the outpouring of love and mutual support that has come out of this terrible tragedy. It speaks volumes for the resilience and empathy of the human spirit.

Superheroes: Do We Have a New God in Town?

Who do you pray to when you’re in a jam? Superman, of course! In this week’s episode of “Holy Facts” on The Chopra Well, Gotham Chopra discusses the spiritual side to superheroes, from Hercules to Jesus to the Marvel gang.

Even if we don’t all regularly pray to Wonder Woman or Batman, there is no denying the beloved place these heroes occupy in our collective imagination. As far back as ancient Greece, we have legends of larger than life warriors and leaders. Figures like Agamemnon and Achilles, if true to the tales, would have been giants among men. Superheroes in the flesh.

When times get rough, it’s comforting to think a hero with super-human powers might rush to our assistance. We appeal to higher powers through prayer, visualization, and affirmation, hoping that even if we aren’t powerful enough to right every wrong, perhaps there’s a force out there that is. Deepak Chopra might remind us that we actually have much more control over our environment and circumstances than we’d imagine. And perhaps we should begin acknowledging the superhero aspects within ourselves – the heroes and heroines of the everyday.

But, Superman, if you’re out there and reading this, we won’t put you out of a job. You can come save the day anytime you want.

Subscribe to The Chopra Well, and check out Gotham and Deepak’s book The Seven Spiritual Laws of Superheroes!

Hero’s Quest: What It Takes to Be a Great Leader

A good story is the story of the hero’s quest, and a hero’s quest begins with a dream. This is why all great leaders are visionaries. They ask themselves mythical questions: Who am I? What do I want? Who are the heroes and mentors our society can learn from?

In this week’s episode of “The Rabbit Hole” on The Chopra Well, Deepak Chopra explores the key elements of visionary leadership. History traffics in myth-making, which is based on personal charisma and uses spin to evoke an aura of destiny. But it is alarming to witness how often leaders come to power through the force of arms and money. When the strong and ruthless rise on the world stage, we find ourselves led by kings and generals, autocrats and dictators, power-hungry premiers and presidents. Leadership of this sort is flawed. Power and prestige do nothing to ensure leaders like this will actually improve the lives of those who follow them.

Screen Shot 2013-03-20 at 10.00.36 AMA truly successful leader, Deepak suggests, learns to cultivate her power as the result of being tuned in to her inner voice and guided by intuition. The inspired leader walks a path laid out by her own soul, characterized by love, creativity, and intelligence. In her core self she strives for alignment with the greater, collective society she serves. In this way, listening comes first, followed by comprehension, empathy, and, finally, action.

In the midst of chaos, certain individuals step out of the shadows in order to lead society in new directions necessary for further evolution. Only a truly great leader will find wisdom in the face of mythic-proportion challenges. And only a leader who operates from the soul level, with vision, creativity, and love, will be remembered as such.

Subscribe to The Chopra Well and order Deepak Chopra’s book, The Soul of Leadership!

How to Survive the Dark Night of the Soul

It’s happened to all of us at some point in our lives. The storm hits. The light goes out and we can no longer see the forest for the trees. Friends try to cheer us up, and tell us to look at the bright side, but we can’t see it. It’s gone. We feel locked in darkness and that’s when it happens: we lose hope.

Or, do we?

If we take an objective, honest look back at those moments in our lives, we see that we got through them. And, while we may not have known at the time how we could possibly overcome the great obstacle, we did. If you’re reading this right now, it’s proof that somehow, you’ve survived the darkest nights of your own existence and lived to tell the tale.

There was something that pulled you through. Some part of you that stepped up and took over and allowed you to navigate the darkness and realize the power of your own character. In every case, when we’ve conquered a true dark night of the soul, it was a turning point for us to round the corner of bleakness and slay our inner dragon to walk a little more fearlessly into the future.

If we’ve triumphed over a sickness or disability, we now know what we’re capable of. If we’ve survived death or loss, we now know the value of life. If we’ve pulled through a financial or domestic disaster, we know that we can carry our home on our backs. If we’ve lived through abuse or neglect, we know the power of kindness. No matter what kind of darkness our lowest point was steeped in, each one of us, in some way, has gotten through it.

But, how?

In that moment when all hope is lost and the walls come crashing down, we suddenly step up to the plate to slay the proverbial demon and ignite some deep inner fire that may not have been given any spark before. We may do this unconsciously. Life may force us into this corner, but our own soul steps up to fight our way out.

Basically, we choose life.

When we choose life, the vibrancy that may have been locked behind fear, mistrust, doubt and hopelessness is released into a force that can overcome anything. To choose life means to choose all that life deals us: the good, the bad and the ugly. Choosing life means that we embrace the bright spots and the challenges and we push nothing away. Life is gritty, sometimes painful and can even be unbearable. The darkest of moments have the potential to reveal our greatest sources of strength. It’s as Goethe said, “Mine the darkness and see by the path you leave behind.”

And, do you know what’s great? All of us already know how to do this.

Again, if you’re looking back on the hardest times of your life, there is evidence of this. You’ve already proven to yourself the power of your character, the potency of your human spirit and the fortitude of your soul’s fierce desire to express itself in the world. Boom.

Here’s the clincher.

We have to go through it. The famous line by Harvey Dent from the recent Dark Knight trilogy is, “The night is always darkest before the dawn.” As a practical metaphor, one cannot experience dawn without first experiencing the night.

This darkness unknots your soul. It releases its bondage so you can be free to move into the next phase. Without this release, we stay locked inside the labyrinth of smallness and suffering. It sounds dramatic (it often is) but this is how humans have struggled and triumphed through their dark nights of the soul since the beginning. Similar to the butterfly who must push and squeeze her way out of her cocoon to find her ultimate release, these times of despair and darkness are the moments that we can blossom more fully and better express the life force that exists within us.

And like Ariadne and her magical thread, you will always be lead back from the depths of the labyrinth. The thread that is left behind as we wander into the darkness is the thread of hope, love, and faith. We rediscover this as we slowly wind our way back out. But first, we must go in.

No, it’s not pleasant. But it’s the necessary transition for our humanness to struggle through this phase in order to realize a new level of understanding and evolution. This isn’t fancy frou frou lingo. This is practical, time tested, and just plain true. Every story in our human history shows that our mythical heroes fight and kill their dragons before actually realizing their true heroism. As Joseph Campbell states:

“…the point is not that such-and-such was done on earth; the point is that, before such-and-such could be done on earth, this other, more important primary thing had to be brought to pass within the labyrinth that we all know and visit in our dreams. The passage of the mythological hero may be over-ground, incidentally; but fundamentally it is inward–into depths where obscure resistances are overcome, and long lost, forgotten powers are revivified, to be made available for the transfiguration of the world.”

The next time the dark night is upon you, get ready. Brace yourself. Keep your eyes open. Nocturnal vision is not the strong point of our eyes or mind, but our heart and spirit can navigate just fine. Recognize that this is the inevitable transition before greatness arrives with the dawn. You can do this. And in all likelihood, you have. Believe in the power you already possess and get ready for what the dawn will reveal to you: You are the hero of your own journey.

photo by: phatman

4 Ways To Help Your Child Find the Hero Within

This past Halloween I watched as a parade of fairies, princesses, kitty cats and iCarly-lookalikes pranced by my front window. And then came my daughter. Dressed in camouflage fatigues and desert boots, a smudge of charcoal under each face, my girl looked every bit the soldier. But when she ran up to me and told me she wanted to protect me, I suddenly remembered the intention of her costume: My nine-year-old wanted to be a hero.

I had to laugh. As a child I adored Superman, the Bionic Woman, Gandhi, Mother Teresa, Julie Andrews in "The Sound of Music" and TV doctors like Marcus Welby. And as disparate as these idols may seem to some, to me they were all profoundly connected. In my mind, all of these folks were heroes — people helping other people.

My daughter and I have had so many conversations about heroes. I tell her that I look up to those who teach me about courage, about standing up for the weak, about giving voice to the voiceless. A hero shows me a better way to live my own life and inspires me to push myself beyond my boundaries, to open my heart to those who may be nothing like me, and to offer my help whenever I can.

We talk often about the people in our lives that we admire. When I think heroes, one of my first thoughts is of Christopher Reeve. Here was a man who had been stripped of almost everything: as so much of America knows, this world-famous actor suffered a horseback-riding accident in 1995 that injured his spinal cord and caused him to be paralyzed from the neck down. And yet even after this twist of fate, his brilliant and generous mind continued to work overtime. He was still every bit Superman. In fact, you could say that in his own way, he developed x-ray vision into the future. He spoke out and rallied for stem-cell research in the hope that scientists would then be able to find cures for paralysis and other life-altering conditions such as diabetes, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s. Christopher didn’t just accept his terrible injury; he was reinvented by it. He transformed his celebrity and accident into a crusade that brought hope to millions of lives. He found the hero within him, and that hero was even greater than any Superman could ever be.

His wife, my dear friend Dana, didn’t just stand by her man; she became one with him. After Chris died of heart failure in 2004, Dana took over the foundation that they had created, and she devoted the rest of her life (she died of lung cancer in 2006) to developing programs that would enhance the quality of life of people living with paralysis. Was Dana a hero? Many, many times over. To me and everyone who knew her, she was an angel who moved among us on earth.

ABC journalist Bob Woodruff was reporting in Iraq when an explosive device sent shrapnel in to his brain; after the attack, Bob fell into a coma. When he woke up 35 days later, this die-hard journalist, who was known to read nine newspapers every morning, discovered that he had to learn to speak English again. He had suffered a traumatic brain injury, and for two years he labored to recover his life. But he never once showed any signs of bitterness or despair. His wife Lee has often said that after the accident, Bob "wakes up every day loving everyone and just grateful to be alive." Does he ever ask God, "Why me?" No, he doesn’t. Instead he asks God, "Why not me?"

Five years after Bob’s near-death experience (to this day, he is still trying to pop small pieces of rock from the bomb out of his skin), Lee wrote a memoir, "In An Instant: A Family’s Journey of Love and Healing." I am forever touched by how this couple faced their personal crisis with such resilience and love for each other and for the world; they inspire me in profound ways.

Did Lee and Bob find the heroes within themselves? Yes, and their story can show all of us how to rise above our own adversity and become the best people we can be.

I always say to my daughter that for me, heroes aren’t just the people we read about in history books or gaze at as they wave from a shiny convertible in the New Year’s parade. My father is my hero for having made it through a boyhood of total poverty; he was a first-generation Italian boy who had to learn English and build himself from sand. He did it, and he kept his humor. My mother is my hero for conquering every situation with her otherworldly patience, and for rebuilding herself from scratch when her midlife divorce left her scrambling to make a living. My brother is my hero for mentoring and coaching children for little or no pay.

This past Veteran’s Day, I thought about the men and women who fight to keep our country safe. They face gunfire and bombs while we head to our offices, watch our children’s soccer games and walk through our flower-lined parks. To me, each one of them is a hero.

When my daughter and I talk about the people we think of as heroes, I notice that her lovely brown eyes begin the shine. She revels in the idea of helping people and caring for animals. Her learning about heroes has made that her aspiration. If she sees a wounded bird, she wants to nurse it back to health. Whenever an elderly friend of ours comes to visit our house, my daughter always walks her back to her car and makes sure she is safely buckled up. When my girl dressed up as a soldier for Halloween, she told me she did so because she wanted to protect other people. My daughter is my live-in hero for sure.

I have witnessed first-hand how vital heroes are to our children’s lives. For my little girl, they encourage her to dream about the person she hopes to be someday. They also remind her of the compassionate, loving hero she already is right now.

Here’s how you can inspire your child to find the hero within:

1) Talk About Your Heroes

The people I have always looked up to are those willing to put themselves out on the line to help others. As a little girl, Jeanne Meyers, the co-founder of MyHero.com, a website designed to help young people realize their own potential to effect positive change in the world, "loved determined leading ladies who faced challenges with courage and kindness and a little bit of magic." She says, "The Wizard of Oz’s Dorothy and Mary Poppins gave me and my friends strong-willed female role models." Talking about your icons of courage with your children is a way of sharing your dreams and giving them insight into who you were growing up. It’s also a lovely way to communicate to your kids that they can have big dreams about who they want to be, too. I have so enjoyed talking about this over my Facebook and Twitter platforms, as it has been a wonderful journey for me to hear from everyone on this topic. I love learning about how others introduce this inspiring discussion with our youth.

2) Don’t Judge Who They Choose As Heroes

So maybe we’d prefer our daughter to admire Burma’s Aung San Suu Kyi over Miley Cyrus. But try not to show your disappointment and celebrate the positive aspects of her choice instead. For example, you can point out that "Miley has certainly worked hard to become such a successful star — that kind of commitment is what it takes to reach her level of accomplishment."

3) Show That Heroes Are Human

Even those who act in courageous ways don’t always do everything perfectly. Sometimes they fail; sometimes they make poorly informed decisions. This is something that’s essential for kids to understand. "Children should know that heroes are also fallible people," says Pat Harned, the president of the Ethics Resource Center. "The more we talk about our heroes, the more we not only see the traits that are good, but we can also learn about how to handle challenges, too."

4) Praise Your Child When He Acts Heroically

If he stands up for his friend against a playground bully, tell him you’re proud of the courage he showed and the example he set for all his friends. You can also connect his positive actions to a hero you admire. "That’s the kind of courage Mahatma Gandhi might have shown," you could say. Or, "Rosa Parks stood up for people, too, by refusing to give up her seat at the front of the bus." By aligning your child with heroes we all admire, you give him the vision and support to become the greatest person he can be — and to find the hero within. Please share with me some of the heroic acts of your child.

 

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Cristina Carlino is a mother, poet and the founder and creator of philosophy skincare, on of the most beloved brands in cosmetic history. Carlino is currently working on Project Miracle, a grassroots social network connecting miracle-makers to the miraculous. Be an angel and make a miracle. To learn more, join Cristina at Facebook.com/CristinaCarlino.

 

PHOTO (cc): Flickr / j.coppolo

Be a Real Life Superhero (With or Without the Cape)

So you want to make the world a better place? Maybe start with your block, or your neighborhood. Maybe start with an awesome costume. You don’t need superhuman powers or otherworldly resources to be a Real Life Superhero, just plenty of passion and a taste for the theatrical. We recently spoke with DC’s Guardian, about what it takes to be a costumed crusader for good. He had these six tips for making the world a better place, one neighborhood at a time.

1) Know what you stand for. It’s not a prerequisite to don tights or a mask, but every Superhero builds an identity around good morals and values.  Likewise, you’ll need a cause (or several) for which to crusade. Look around your community for action groups that need help.

2) Identify your weapons. And we’re talking personal skills here, not nunchucks.  After identifying a cause, ask yourself what you can bring to the table to help fulfill that need. Take stock of your interests and find a way to donate your time and talents in ways that will be compatible with your lifestyle.

3) Dress for the fight. While it doesn’t take spandex to be a Superhero, always come prepared for the task. Whether the job entails managing logistics for a fundraiser, educating local youth, or just showing up to the right place at the right time with the right supplies, you’ll want to be known as a responsible and accountable crusader.

4) Don’t get mistaken for the bad guy. Real Life Superheroes can be activists, volunteers, educators, or neighborhood safety patrollers, but in order to establish an identity as a community crusader for long-term success, you’ll have to work closely with local citizens, civic leaders, and law enforcement. Collaboration and communication are key.

5) Don’t break the law. Never go above the law, and always stand firm behind your actions. As DC’s Guardian says, “If you can’t stand up and say ‘I did this!’ you shouldn’t be doing it.”

6) Be humble. There’s no such thing as a self-serving superhero, in real life or otherwise.

DC’s Guardian is prominent figure in the RLSH community and President of Skiffytown League of Heroes – a national network of original superhero characters dedicated to performing acts of community service.

Poster image courtesy of Peter Tangen

This post originally appeared on www.refresheverything.com, as part of the Pepsi Refresh Project, a catalyst for world-changing ideas. Find out more about the Refresh campaign, or to submit your own idea today.

 

 

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