Dan Needles: The Hero’s Journey and the Human Condition

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My mission as both a high-end consultant and a writer is the same. It is the same mission shown in every story ever told – the Hero’s Journey. That journey is the human condition. While a small number of us came in as the Bill Gates of the world, that really is just the 2%ers (as they say in the USA.) Most of us are set on a different path than the one we intended in our dreams. For it is only in pain, struggle, and discomfort that we learn our boundaries and as such who we really are since boundaries separate us from the rest of reality. That allows us to connect to others on a deep, spiritual level through our vulnerabilities.

On the “other-side” we can be God-like: all powerful, all knowing, and all just. This is the easy path.  In this state we know nothing of who we are or our place in the universe. We are the universe, without end or boundaries. Here on Earth we choose to have limits, which allows us to pick the hard choices of: sacrifice, forgiveness, and other human qualities that as a God you have no chance to experience or express. Every story is about this human condition and about how we learn to live with limitations and become greater than the Gods; we become human. This last week I met two courageous souls who I hope I can live up to if I ever fall into the dire straights they find themselves in today.

This week my outing with Ben ended up at Dungeness Spit. Though Benjas had a few autistic melt downs, the consistent wind muffled things and oddly made the venture quite private… well except for that poor Japanese couple. I guess they got a new take on the ugly American not yet written about until now.

Anyway, feeling a bit down and sorry for myself, I ended up befriending a man and his two kids. He was camping out (literally) between jobs. It really put Ben’s autistic melt down in perspective and humbled me (not an easy thing to do.) The man kept a positive attitude and giving approach on life despite clearly extremely hard times for him and his family. It also reminded me of events earlier this week

On Tuesday one of my wife’s Facebook friends, due to horrible circumstances, lost their home and had to contemplate putting her autistic son in a home so she could take care of her daughter and hold a job. We scraped together hotel points and with some extra cash secured a hotel for 4 nights. The hope was that other plans would come together to find a more stable place and keep the family together. That didn’t happen. Yesterday Allison told me that her friend thanked her and said it allowed them to spend a few days together as a family before the son had to be separated from them. Again, I am humbled by the strength and foresight of this woman to put the situation aside and connect and plant memories for her son that will carry him through the dark times ahead.

When I encounter great spirits such as these I am always in awe. It provides a mirror into the future possibility of myself. Almost always society takes a different view of these individuals. That view is rooted in fear either due to their differences or the suppressed understanding that any of us some day could end up in their shoes. But if you can see past the trappings of societal norms and connect with them in their darkest days often you will find deeper truths about yourself – because they are at a vantage point where life has allowed them to be closer to truth of reality and their place within it.

 

Dan NeedlesDaniel Needles is a friend of Lou Aronica. His novel Terminal Connection was published on Jan. 24, 2014.

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On July 2, 2014
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