the tao of jaklumen

the path of the sage must become the path of the hero


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Cimmorene remembers: Sacrifice (…the father becomes the son.)

From REBLOG: …the father becomes the son. (more thoughts) August 14, 2015:

About a week ago, Cimmorene remembered where she was during my father’s near-death experience, and the weight of the sacrifice that I made to encourage my father to resume his life, so mine could begin.

Anyone who thinks the term “soulmate” is the stuff of cheesy Hollywood romantic fairytales and is nothing but fluff and shiny optimism, I must tell you, dear readers– in my experience, it’s a lie.

It’s true that Cimmorene and I remember a life together before mortality.  We remember bonds that have been forged and reforged many times.  But for all the light, wonderment, and immense awe, there is sorrow, darkness, and pain.  There is anticipation of regret even before the blood, sweat, and tears began.

As usual, she remembered something I did not.  She said that for that small moment, it was like I wasn’t there anymore.  After much reflection, I remembered that I didn’t want to leave her side, but I had to.  I had to.  Much planning, work, and preparations were at risk.

It was a shock when I saw him.  He was wandering around aimlessly, obviously not in his body.  He was NOT supposed to be here.

“What are you doing here?  You need to go back, and be my father, just as we planned!”

“I’m tired.  I hurt.  I don’t want to go back to a broken body.”

“But you need to go back!  We agreed!”

If he died, I would have to start all over again.  Everything we had planned on would have to be redone.  My life would have a completely different foundation.

It was obvious that I was not going to persuade him by plans of the future.  I would have to appeal to his here and now.

“What about your family now?  Won’t they miss you?”

I didn’t know the ties of mortality yet.  But even his present family ties didn’t seem to be enough.  I needed something more.

“I… I will carry a part of that pain for you.”

“You don’t have to do this.”

“Yes… yes, I do.”

Cimmorene said we took time to ratify it with Father.  I was reminded that it was a heavy sacrifice; that I might regret this decision.  I said I was sure.  I was told that my choice was right.

And so my father chose to live.  We helped him back into his body and said our goodbyes for the moment being.  Some time after he departed from us, then, Cimmy said, then, I wept.

I have only begun to realize the full weight of the pain, the suffering.  But I know that chose this.  I did it… because I had to.  No matter how much I have been tempted to regret this, I know that I had to.  But now, the empathy is visceral.  So many days we compare notes on pain.  It’s not exactly the same, of course, but much we need not explain to each other.  We live it.  Many days, he still wants to die, but I remind him he’s still needed.  The time is not yet.  It will come, most likely the moment I must begin to prepare for something more.

HeroesjourneyAtonement


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…the father becomes the son. (more thoughts)

[ADDENDUM: 11 January, 2015]  When my father first told me of his near-death experience, many years ago, a flash of memory hit me, like a curtain being drawn from my mind, to reveal the light of the morning sun.

I remember begging, pleading with him, to go back, so that I would have a chance to be.  I did not remember all, but over the years, I came to know the deep sacrifices that were made in those moments.  I would revisit them when he nearly died, again, and each time I climbed up on the surgeon’s table, the last time being the 7th of January, 2015.

This is my Atonement with the Father.

JOR-EL: Once, when you were small, I died, while giving you a chance for life.

It was a shock when I saw him.  He was wandering around aimlessly, obviously not in his body.  He was NOT supposed to be here.

“What are you doing here?  You need to go back, and be my father, just as we planned!”

“I’m tired.  I hurt.  I don’t want to go back to a broken body.”

“But you need to go back!  We agreed!”

My father first got really sick in 1992, when I was hundreds of miles away going to college in Rexburg, Idaho.  When I crashed out of school and took the rebound to community college, I came home one day to see him carried out on a stretcher into an ambulance.

Almost two decades passed and he got really, really sick again.  As in deathly ill.  He could barely move and he grew a beard because he didn’t feel well enough to even shave.  “Not now,” I thought.  “I still need you.”  But I talked with my youngest sister about it, and we made peace with it; we were ready to bury him if that was really to be.

I sent him pictures of me and my son to try to cheer him up.  He was in really bad shape.

A Boy and His Dad

It was obvious that I was not going to persuade him by plans of the future.  I would have to appeal to his here and now.

“What about your family now?  Won’t they miss you?”

That seemed to be more persuasive.  He softened a bit and looked more ready to turn back.

Dad found a specialist in Walla Walla that seemed to know what was going on, finally, and he recovered.

JOR-EL: And now, even though it will exhaust the final energy left within me…

CLARK
(turns frightened)
Father, no!

JOR-EL
Look at me, Kal-El!

“Wait, before you go.  I have to do something.  I… I will carry a part of that pain for you.”

“You don’t have to do this.”

“Yes… yes, I do.”

“No, you don’t.”

“I do.  I promise, I will help you.”

“Very well.”

My back was thrashed– not too long  after my son was born, I found out that some of the discs in my spine were wearing out, and one was being crushed like a pancake, pinching the nerve (sciatic) in my right leg.  In the first week of October in 2009, I had a fusion surgery, but the nerve damage was done.

I found myself comparing notes with my father on pain.

JOR-EL: The Kryptonian prophecy will be at last fulfilled. The son becomes the father – the father becomes the son.

My father later apologized to Cimmorene, and to me, for his mistreatment of me in the past.  He got it.  Things would never be the same again.

HeroesjourneyAtonement


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The Surfer Regains Humanity: Return to the Outer Journey

Since I’m still waiting to see about a permanent stimulator implant and I’m not sure how much wrestling I’ll do with pain until then, I’ll be reworking and reposting some series I’ve done earlier. This week I am reposting, reworking, and continuing the Silver Surfer and the Hero’s Journey series.

I am glossing over some details a little bit.  Going back to the comic book cover of “The Coming of Galactus!” I will quickly note that another character called The Watcher fulfills the role of Supernatural Aid in the outer sphere of the Journey, as far as Earth and the Fantastic Four are concerned.

Uatu “The Watcher” warned Earth of the coming of Galactus

I had said in The FF4 meet the Silver Surfer: The Outer Call to Adventure that the Silver Surfer was an unknown to them.  But since I wished to focus on the Silver Surfer as The Hero, I focused on his origin story as an inner component, with the previous posts.

Although Galactus had taken the memories of Norrin Radd and had compelled his service (in this case, overriding his desire to scout out uninhabited worlds), the Silver Surfer still yearned to understand his place in the universe.  He sorrowed at the hostility he found, even on Earth.  A woman called Alicia Masters, a blind sculptor and romantic partner to Thing (of the FF4), appealed to him.

Alicia Masters is able to intuitively sense the inner Norrin Radd and his compassion, despite the exterior of the Surfer. The fact that she is blind further emphasizes this intuition

She is a Known bridging the Unknown.  I find it difficult to call this an Atonement; the closest thing to a Father is Galactus, or maybe The Watcher.  It is clear, though, that Alicia Masters, and then the Fantastic Four, unlock the humanity within the Surfer.  Apparently, Norrin Radd is not completely dead.

Perhaps it is a folding back on the Ordeal, because the inner suffering and goodness of the Surfer is revealed.  After this, the Surfer decides to spare Earth and rebel against Galactus.

NEXT POST IN THE SERIES: Galactus is Defeated: Return With Elixir

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Norrin Radd becomes the Silver Surfer: Death and Rebirth by Transformation

Since I’m still waiting to see about a permanent stimulator implant and I’m not sure how much wrestling I’ll do with pain until then, I’ll be reworking and reposting some series I’ve done earlier. This week I am reposting, reworking, and continuing the Silver Surfer and the Hero’s Journey series.

reborn

Norrin Radd dies…

...and The Silver Surfer is born.

…and The Silver Surfer is born.

HeroesjourneyRebirthTransformationNEXT POST IN THE SERIES: The Surfer Regains Humanity: Return to the Outer Journey

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Sacrifices: Norrin Radd’s Threshhold

Since I’m still waiting to see about a permanent stimulator implant and I’m not sure how much wrestling I’ll do with pain until then, I’ll be reworking and reposting some series I’ve done earlier. This week I am reposting, reworking, and continuing the Silver Surfer and the Hero’s Journey series.

The Call to Adventure is not without sacrifice.

So it was too, with Norrin Radd.

Not only would he say goodbye to his world, but to the love of his life, Shalla-Bal.

Furthermore, as “herald”, it is possible that not all life can be spared, as Galactus declares:

When hunger truly strikes, I will not hesitate to feed.

When hunger truly strikes, I will not hesitate to feed.

HeroesjourneyFullThreshold
This is the crossing of the Inner Threshhold, and also the Ordeal. Such Temptations and Challenges, so to speak, will turn up later again in the story of the Silver Surfer.

NEXT POST IN THE SERIES: Norrin Radd becomes the Silver Surfer: Death and Rebirth by Transformation

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Norrin Radd meets Galactus: The Inner Call to Adventure

The trial period for the spinal cord stimulator is over; the leads have been out for a little while now. Since I’m waiting to see about the permanent implant and I’m not sure how much wrestling I’ll do with pain until then, I’ll be reworking and reposting some series I’ve done earlier. This week I am reposting, reworking, and continuing the Silver Surfer and the Hero’s Journey series.

Who is The Silver Surfer?

We discover later he is Norrin Radd, a citizen of a world called Zenn-La.  Though this world is presented as a utopian ideal, there are hints of a decline.  Although his father had pushed him to pursue self-mastery in study and achievement to response to the hedonism of Zenn-Lavian society at the time, it was not enough for Norrin, who later delved deep into Zenn-La’s ancient and primal past to find challenge and struggle he could not find in his present society.

Enter Galactus, the World Devourer, who threatened to consume Zenn-La to satiate his hunger.  This is where the Inner Call to Adventure begins.  After convincing a Council of Scientists member to provide him with a spaceship, Norrin faced Galactus, and pled with him to spare his world.

Norrin Radd appeals to Galactus to spare Zenn-La

Norrin Radd appeals to Galactus to spare Zenn-La

Galactus imposed a condition, however, to grant Norrin’s request.  Norrin must agree to serve him, and find worlds uninhabited of life; for Galactus had no time to distinguish such worlds while feeding his hunger.  While Norrin quickly agreed, Galactus informs him that such an obligation is not temporary:

This job is eternal, man of Zenn-La.

This job is eternal, man of Zenn-La.

Thus we arrive to the Inner Threshhold as well.
HeroesjourneyKnown

NEXT POST IN THE SERIES: Sacrifices: Norrin Radd’s Threshhold

 

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A Hero’s Journey: Norrin Radd, the Silver Surfer

The trial period for the spinal cord stimulator is over; the leads have been out for three days now. Since I’m waiting to see about the permanent implant and I’m not sure how much wrestling I’ll do with pain until then, I’ll be reworking and reposting some series I’ve done earlier. This week I am reposting, reworking, and continuing the Silver Surfer and the Hero’s Journey series.

He is sometimes called “Christ on a surfboard”, but I have yet to see many writings that tie this Jack Kirby comic book character to Joseph Campbell’s Monomyth.

Especially compelling is his origin story, which fairly quickly traces elements of the Hero’s Journey in his transformation from Norrin Radd to the Silver Surfer.

The Silver Surfer gazing on the world he dared to protect

But even in extended stories such as the Infinity Gauntlet (which is said to really be about the Surfer, despite affecting all characters in the Marvel universe at that time), there are still emphases of the Monomyth.

Both ideas will be explored in future posts. Previous articles from this blog will rise to the present again (some have already), to show that the current focus I have taken here has had seeds planted in musings of the distant past. Perhaps eventually I will show you, dear readers, of why I find the Silver Surfer such a personally compelling figure…

NEXT POST IN THE SERIES: A Hero’s Journey: Summary of the Silver Surfer

 

 

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Window to the Future (Zero to Hero Day 6)

Day 6 Assignment: publish a post that includes a new-to-you element.

After promoting a stopmotion animation by my daughter, I didn’t have anything else I normally would have posted today, so I decided to try the Weekly Photo Challenge for this week:

This week, in a post created specifically for this challenge, share a photo with a window.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Three shots from three of the last four holidays. (A-ha, you didn’t think New Year’s couldn’t have window dressing? Cimmorene thought otherwise!) Each a window to a different home. Three different photographers (jaklumen, Cimmorene, and Princess).

Bonus video from Cimmorene:

and finally, some poetry, something ENTIRELY new to any of my blogs:

I love you, my dear, every time I go
You have a way to let me know
No matter how upset I may be
I know when I return, I can always see
That signal waiting home for me
Welcoming me home with light so low
That sign so warm, that candle in the window.


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A Hero’s Journey: Autistic Abyss/Death/Crisis

I have mentioned a number of times that I am learning about my son and his experience with autism.

I don’t think I have mentioned that I am finding it in myself, namely, Asperger’s.

Some of it is freeing, an insight into understanding myself better.  But most of it is painful memories.  Memories of being teased and bullied because I was different… even by parents.  The more I study, the more I seem to find reminders of the nightmare.

I *hate* the term “little professor”.   Hans Asperger may have used it with love, but “big” professors already bear some scorn: “the ivory tower syndrome”, and “people who live inside their heads.”  If my experience runs anything true to that detestable term, then that ivory tower is actually a cage, like the stocks or the pillories, where passers-by can throw rotten produce at the hapless person within.

Here’s a bitter irony: I had a band director in my first year of college (a religious-affiliated junior college) who I thought was a putz.  He was not overtly mean, but he did seem to me to have an inflated ego and the group played better when he was gone.  He’s one of a number of reasons why I don’t play golf: would you, slicing bad on the 16th hole, walking the course, like golf if your host rode up in a golf cart and shouted, “Hey, what’s taking so long?  Hurry up!”

I remember a performance review at the end of the first semester: the classic fill-in-the bubble multiple choice sort of thing.  He promised that our comments would be anonymous, but he hauled me into his office after reading mine.  I will never forget what he said: “You think differently.  You need to think more like the way other people do.”

It was 1992.  Asperger’s syndrome did not appear in the DSM-IV for two more years.  If I remember right, that was about when my cousin was diagnosed with it.

My undergraduate studies came to an end in 2000, a full eight years later.  I was at a university where a divorced professor was waging political war with another professor.  She had managed to wrangle the directorship of the choral department away from him a few years earlier, and that year, she managed to force him out of the university entirely.  The music department brought students into the mess, and they all had their political alliances for her, or for him.  Now, the spurned professor was married.  The department did not want to lose his wife, who was very talented as their music education specialist, but he got the axe, so she was rather forced to go with him.  So we students also had to choose her successor.

I was locked in battle with the Curriculum & Supervision department.  I had failed the pre-Autumn experience.  I had failed student teaching, while repeating pre-Autumn along with it, back to back.  They were supposed to be providing me disability accomodations.  They dropped the ball.  I walked into a meeting where a man turned from a hungry jackal to a mortified deer in split seconds, I suppose because I met his searing criticism with a look of burning rage.

Other professors were going to the local news media, their faces and voices obscured, with one phrase ringing in my ears: “I am employed in a hostile work environment.”

I flash back to a time in my early childhood, when I excitedly started describing something I was interested in.  “You’re such a little professor”, my mother said.  Fast forward again and speaking with my father, he recalled the moment, or moments: “You were such a little professor.”

FUCK.

More racing thoughts… I hate this, but can I use it to connect more deeply with my son?  The school evaluation said he was right between high-functioning and Asperger’s, if such a designation even exists, because the two terms were also used interchangably.  I did not struggle especially academically, only socially, and very much so.  Boy struggles socially, but he does have some developmental delays that are documented.

But Boy changed my life.  Ever since he started to walk and talk, he demanded physical touch.  Hugs, pats, whatever.  If I provided it in some way, even if I was distracted, he was usually satisfied.  He demands more, now, but again, always with touch.  He is starting to say, “Daddy, pay attention to me!” even as he is head-butting and wrestling me.  That touch fills an emptiness in my soul, even though others in his life (women, for some reason– Cimmy, Princess, his schoolteacher) find so much of it annoying.  I want him to be well-mannered, but secretly, I love this.  I want him to spar with me, or that he suddenly decides he is one of our favorite foods, or that he is a pet dog, or any other number of his imaginations.  I  enjoy and love it.

My father was not cold and distant, but in my early childhood, he tried to be.  He responded to my social awkwardness with harsh discipline or angry words.  I learned that it was a mask of sorts, or rather, he didn’t know how to deal with me.  Recently, we have found common ground in shared pain.

But… the touch is not there.  It’s not the same.

Dear readers, let us revisit a clip I’ve posted here before.

Compare this with Joseph Campbell‘s observations of inititation rituals in tribal societies:


(start at :43 if that helps)

Note the mask in the repowering scene, and Jor-El becoming corporeal to put his hand on his son’s shoulder, repowering Kal-El to one again become Superman.


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Stranded on Earth: The Surfer’s Belly of the Whale

Cimmorene is tired, so I will give her some time to rest and recuperate before asking her to share her favorite examples of the Feminine Monomyth.  So I will return to our tale of Norrin Radd as the Silver Surfer.

To summarize from the last post, the Surfer was stripped of his heraldic duty and imprisoned on Earth by Galactus:

The Surfer is trapped on Earth

Although outwardly it is a punishment for foiling the desires of Galactus to consume Earth, I believe the barrier was created to stop the Surfer from returning to Zenn-La, which will be expounded later in the story.

According to a synopsis by Wikipedia, The Belly of the Whale  is defined as a representation of the final separation between the hero’s known world, and the self.  In this case, it is literal as well as figurative.  Although I connected Norrin Radd’s sacrifices upon the Inner Crossing of the Threshhold to the Ordeal, this Belly of the Whale connects to an outer Ordeal, or Road of Trials.  While the previous difficulties are revealed Unknowns (and serve as Temptations & Challenges later), this is very much within the Known World again.

Of course, a lot of Earthlings don’t understand him at all.

In fact, for many years, Stan Lee used the Surfer to make commentary on social issues of the late ’60s.  For the time that the Surfer was bound to Earth, he would give the outsider’s view of humanity on earth, while reflecting on his own.

Although he’s an alien, he cares.

The Hero’s Journey of the Silver Surfer will return with a post on the Magic Flight: Surfer Escapes His Prison On Earth and further stages presented in the Infinity Gauntlet series.

Stay Tuned