the tao of jaklumen

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


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Arise, jakimus Prime.

I participate in a chat on Twitter on Tuesday evenings to gain support, strength, and learning about my childhood abuse.

The title above came from these tweets– especially with some inspiration from Rachel Thompson:

This is a reference to Stan Bush’s “The Touch“, which was featured in the animated Transformers: The Movie:

and I was watching/listening to this clip during the movie, which prompted Cimmorene to tweet this:

and then later, she said this:

which prompted this thread:

Now, I’m still working on a post series on how this movie maps out the Hero’s Journey.  Suffice it to say, the hero here is not Optimus Prime, as he iconically is for many fans– but Hot Rod.  And why do I put this movie in context of abuse?  Imagine that Hot Rod is like us who are survivors.  We are wounded.  Our innocence and even our loved ones die (see The Hero’s Journey: The Death of Optimus Prime).  We are not necessarily confronted by evil and suffering directly– our Unicrons, but often see that it drives those who abuse us, like Galvatron.

These abusers are often driven by greed for power.  Their theft and treachery seems to serve them for a time, that they can change how society perceives them:

Although they are driven by forces symbolized by Unicron, they often hope to have the control themselves.

[Galvatron triumphantly holds the Matrix in his hand]

Galvatron: Unicron, my master… with this, I shall make you my slave.

Anyone who has dealt with narcissistic and sociopathic people, I think you know exactly what I mean.

We rarely see this for ourselves, but they cannot unlock the creative spark the Autobot Matrix of Leadership symbolizes– nor can they hope to control the darkness that drives them while in such greed.

Even though our abusers wear this spark close to them, it is up to us to reclaim it from them, and unlock the light, to illuminate our darkest hour.

We have the power.

There’s a hero inside every one of us.

Till all are one


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Teaser Introduction – A Hero’s Journey: SUPERMAN

The Hero’s Journey of Superman will commence soon

 


 

Coming tomorrow: Introduction to the Richard Donner story of Superman


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The Hero’s Journey: Equilibrium

Today Cimmy, myself, and the kids are starting an unplugged week, so it’s time for a week+ of reruns. Also, I’ve been in horrid pain, so creating new posts is tough. Please enjoy (even if you’ve read this before).

John Preston: From Tetragrammaton Cleric to Champion of the Resistance

John Preston: From Tetragrammaton Cleric to Champion of the Resistance

Kurt Wimmer‘s movie Equilibrium, I think, is another fine example of the Monomyth, or The Hero’s Journey, in the transformation of John Preston.

I will tell you straightaway, dear readers, why I relate to this movie.  The central idea to the film is that emotion is a human characteristic, and to suppress it in the name of freedom and peace is to instead promote tyranny and enslavement.  Some time ago, I was proscribed a psychiatric drug that had the unfortunate side effect of cognitive slowing, both logically and emotionally.  I literally found it difficult to feel.  Such a state drove me to madness.  I was not able to break free even after threatening suicide and being committed inpatient, where the psychiatrist there severely curtailed the dose.  No, it was not until the state (which supplied my only insurance at the time) forbade such off-label use.

No, it was not Prozac, although the movie calls its drug Prozium, a rather sly reference to the same.


In the following posts, I will show how the Monomyth cycle applies to the film, although some elements have some interesting twists.  I hope to persuade you all that the film is much worthier than the panning it received from critics and some audiences, especially as an example of the Hero’s Journey.  It is not considered much as such an example, but it is deserving of mention.

NEXT POST IN THE SERIES: Partridge forsakes his training: John Preston’s Call to Adventure

 


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Zero to Hero officially ended, but I’m still on the Journey

Zero to Hero officially ended when the month of January did.  I was late in getting started, and I just had too much difficulty churning out a post every day (there were thirty days in the challenge).  I posted when it felt right, and sometimes I decided to do maybe a little more than was asked for, especially if I wasn’t satisfied with previous results.

And then there were days where I just totally stalled out.

On February 4th, I got an email with a link to a quick survey.  I decided to answer those three questions, as well as the 10-question survey:

Just to summarize (if you’re too pressed for time to click to see the images full-size), the 3-question survey asked if Zero to Hero worked well for me, while the 10-question survey asked for more specific feedback (say, if WP did this challenge again in the future).

I decided to send Michelle Weber a quick note as well, since she works on the Photo challenges I’ve really been enjoying, too:

Hey Michelle,
I just wanted to give you a quick note of thanks for this Zero to Hero challenge, and for many engaging Daily Writing/Photo challenges.  I was especially inspired by your Cambodian prison photo for the Juxtaposition photo challenge… it looked a lot like a photo my daughter took when she was getting started in photography.
to which I got this lovely reply:

Aw, thanks so much for the note! I’m glad you enjoyed Zero to Hero, and that The Daily Post is helpful.

 
See you ‘round the photo challenge comments 🙂
 
Cheers,
Michelle
I’ll keep working on Zero to Hero challenge elements, but I’ll devote a little more time to some other projects that are still kicking around my brain.  It’ll be a shifting gears of sorts.  What all that might be… well, you’ll just have to stay tuned, and see!

I'm a Zero to Hero Blogger!

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Another retrospection (Zero to Hero Day 7)

The Day 7 assignment is create and upload a simple header, or test out a few different backgrounds.

Unfortunately, the Greyzed theme doesn’t allow headers or backgrounds.

So, I’ll take a look back at some of the headers I’ve used over the years.  LiveJournal didn’t allow for any that I can recall at the time I was there.  (If they did, it cost money.)  VOX called them “banners”.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

There was a group at VOX totally devoted to “banners”, as they were called.  Various artists contributed pictures already cropped to VOX’s standard of 940 X 200 pixels.  They were free for anyone to use, but I often edited them a bit to make them my own.  When I came over to WordPress, I reused some of them and rescaled them for whatever WP theme I was using. (EDIT Jan 21, 2014: Please note that the first three headers, i.e., the ones that don’t have captions, are derivative work. The others are taken from photos I have done.)

Now, I don’t recall LiveJournal offering backgrounds for free, either.  They weren’t available on VOX, for certain.  As a general rule, while VOX was designed to be user-friendly and easy to use, it was actually REALLY HARD to customize it (I’m saying this now so hopefully I remember not to repeat it too many times on future Zero to Hero challenge days).

This was the last background I used here at WordPress:

Heroesjourneyand since it wasn’t very visible, I tried to spread it out into a tile pattern.  I see now that it was visually distracting after switching to the Greyzed theme from Superhero, and some of you dear readers confirmed that.

Have you tried different headers and backgrounds on your blog?  Are there any favorites you had?  Would you like jak to stop asking silly questions because you’re happy with the header and background you have?

I'm a Zero to Hero Blogger!

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A 10-year blogging journey: Woman as Temptress

This is another one of the stages Campbell lists.  EDIT: I have just recently received some kind support from a blogging friend that remembers me telling this story before.  I remember some discussion on hers and other blogs that creepy stalkers can be male OR female!  Never fun when that happens.

My first Internet stalker was female.  I didn’t think of her as a creepy stalker at first– initially, I wanted to think of her as an online friend– but she was definitely predatory.

Homestar Runner

Homestar Runner was a very popular animated series site at the time, and the creators decided to promote it on a LiveJournal feed.  I seem to remember there was also a community for the site, or something like that, and that’s where she said she found me, when I asked.

No biggie, I thought at first.  But then came the first red flag.  Maybe you’ve noticed, dear readers, that most people read the latest posts on a blog, and it’s unusual for them to dig into the archive, unless older posts are promoted.  I was flattered at first that she was reading and commenting on older posts– but then, when I saw how far back she was combing, I was a little disturbed.

Maybe you remember that quizzes used to be a trend on blogs.  Out of misplaced curiosity, I’d posted one from an LJ friend… and this stalker answered.  Then I decided to visit the talker she was a part of.  I was curious– it reminded me of Grex (and their old protocols) and the community was also in the Midwest.

I’d never used a talker before, but I was familiar with the MUDs they were based on.  Think Second Life, but all text.  Once I got there, she’d whisk me away to a restricted room to cybersex me.  She wouldn’t take no for an answer and didn’t seem to care that I was married.  I found out she was engaged, too.  What the hell?

I made the unfortunate mistake of going along with it, and Cimmy was understandably upset when she found out about it.  I don’t mean to excuse myself, but this wasn’t the first time I allowed a crazy woman to grab attention from me, and in much that way, too.  (One of many reasons why I regret being part of the LARP and Camarilla scene.)

But Cimmy didn’t stay too mad for long and she definitely found ways to help me get even.  She cornered this woman and turned on the bright interrogation lamps, so to speak.  We also wanted to see how far she would push this to real-life, like with a telephone call.  sigh It turns out she was pretty cowardly.

The frosting on the cake came when she found out her fiancé was cheating on her– and then she ranted about it at her own space.  Oh, the hypocrisy.  This upset me a great deal, but I didn’t dare to comment too much, lest I be lambasted for my own part.

But now it’s out in the open.  Think of me what you will, I guess– this predatory behavior was more subtle, and I got emotionally hooked.  I am grateful that my wife helped me break out it.

Next post in the series: A 10-year blogging journey: New Life and the VOX years

The Spoon Theory written by Christine Miserandino is one of the most cited analogies for seemingly invisible and chronic illnesses, especially in explaining the challenges of such illnesses to loved ones.  I have blogged about this idea before.  Here is an excerpt, if you would like a quick recap (Christine has Lupus):

I explained that the difference in being sick and being healthy is having to make choices or to consciously think about things when the rest of the world doesn’t have to. The healthy have the luxury of a life without choices, a gift most people take for granted.

Most people start the day with unlimited amount of possibilities, and energy to do whatever they desire, especially young people. For the most part, they do not need to worry about the effects of their actions. So for my explanation, I used spoons to convey this point. I wanted something for her to actually hold, for me to then take away, since most people who get sick feel a “loss” of a life they once knew. If I was in control of taking away the spoons, then she would know what it feels like to have someone or something else, in this case Lupus, being in control.

I thought of this analogy, and its connection to the Hero’s Journey, reading a comment on rarasaur‘s International Label Day 2013 post.  A user named merbear74 commented, and said her submission had been missed.  She said she was a “Fibro Warrior”.  I asked if fibro was short for fibromyalgia, and she said yes.

Those of you who have been reading this blog for a while might remember that I’ve had problems with chronic pain, including nerve damage.  One of the drugs I have been taking recently for nerve pain is primarily marketed to individuals with fibromyalgia.

I think life with chronic illness or other conditions fits the Hero’s Journey well enough– both in the inner and outer sense.  It is an Ordeal, and often a Big Change that requires facing fear, and accepting what consequences (for good or bad) that the illness brings.  I think it’s also possible to go through this cycle again trying to explain it to loved ones– hence, I share the Spoon Theory, once again.

To paraphrase my next comment to Mer: Fight on, brave warriors.  Hope for victory; we shall not let sentiments of “but you don’t look sick” get us down.

 


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The Inner Journey: Initial thoughts

First of all, I’d like to credit Kenneth “The Culture Monk” Justice for inspiring many of my thoughts here.

The Hero’s Inner Journey, as summarized by Christopher Vogler, is more difficult to write about.  It is closer to everyday reality, which is not as epic or dramatic as the Monomyth cycle.  But such a life is not bad; it is much more stable.  These were my thoughts, along with thoughts of other commenters at Being ‘good’ is REALLY boring.

This way to death by alcohol…REALLY??? reminded me of the cycle of pride, and I realized that it could be compared to this Inner Journey cycle.  I had commented on being “blinded by pride” from above (arrogance) and beneath (self-pity), and descending into some of the very addictions I despised.  When I compared further, I had a thought: Vogler divided the Inner Journey into 12 steps.  12 steps… 12 Steps… hmm… shades of Bill W. here.  So I’ll compare here, as follows:

  1. Limited awareness of problem
    We admitted we were powerless over our addiction—that our lives had become unmanageable.
  2. Increased awareness of need for change
    Came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
  3. Fear; Resistance to Change
    Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.
  4. Overcoming Fear
    Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
  5. Committing to Change
    Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
  6. Experimenting with new conditions
    Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.
  7. Preparing for major change
    Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.
  8. Big change with feeling of life and death
    Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.
  9. Accepting consequences of new life
    Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
  10. New challenge and Rededication
    Continued to take personal inventory, and when we were wrong, promptly admitted it.
  11. Final attempts and Last-minute dangers
    Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.
  12. Mastery
    Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to other addicts, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.

innerjourney


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The Hero’s Journey: Equilibrium

John Preston: From Tetragrammaton Cleric to Champion of the Resistance

John Preston: From Tetragrammaton Cleric to Champion of the Resistance

Kurt Wimmer‘s movie Equilibrium, I think, is another fine example of the Monomyth, or The Hero’s Journey, in the transformation of John Preston.

I will tell you straightaway, dear readers, why I relate to this movie.  The central idea to the film is that emotion is a human characteristic, and to suppress it in the name of freedom and peace is to instead promote tyranny and enslavement.  Some time ago, I was proscribed a psychiatric drug that had the unfortunate side effect of cognitive slowing, both logically and emotionally.  I literally found it difficult to feel.  Such a state drove me to madness.  I was not able to break free even after threatening suicide and being committed inpatient, where the psychiatrist there severely curtailed the dose.  No, it was not until the state (which supplied my only insurance at the time) forbade such off-label use.

No, it was not Prozac, although the movie calls its drug Prozium, a rather sly reference to the same.


In the following posts, I will show how the Monomyth cycle applies to the film, although some elements have some interesting twists.  I hope to persuade you all that the film is much worthier than the panning it received from critics and some audiences, especially as an example of the Hero’s Journey.  It is not considered much as such an example, but it is deserving of mention.

NEXT POST IN THE SERIES: Partridge forsakes his training: John Preston’s Call to Adventure