Last Saturday night, I threw a party and no one came.
Well, not a party, exactly, but a workshop -- the one on grief and condolences that I’d been writing and talking about for weeks.
As I waited for people to arrive, I listened to music, put some finishing touches on my outline for the evening, watched the sunbeams move across the room, and mused about my situation.
It's a scenario I'd always feared. I thought it would be devastating. I knew it would bring up deep wounds of rejection and ridicule, and that I could never let on to anyone that my event -- and therefore I -- was a failure.
All of those thoughts and feelings did pass through me, it's true. But in the end, what dominated was this: I was proud of myself.
I was proud of putting in the effort to prepare a great workshop, and proud of being willing to put myself out there for something I care about. And I was delighted to realize that, if for just that moment, I didn’t need to prove how great or successful I was in order to feel worthy as a human being.
I sat in that empty room with a big smile on my face.
Later, I came home to watch Finding Joe, a documentary about the hero’s journey that I'll be featuring in an upcoming workshop. It describes a familiar story that transcends time and place: a person leaves the comfort of the known, finds and slays dragons that they once feared, and comes back transformed, a hero.
Yes, I thought. That’s it. That story isn't just about heroes. It applies to everyone. My evening sitting alone didn't dictate my future or my identity; it was just part of my journey. Another dragon slayed, and in the slaying found not to be so threatening after all.
What about you? What unknown territory have you entered? What dragons have you slayed? Which ones do you still fear? How are you being transformed by the story of your life?
Happy dragon slaying to all -- even if your dragons just look like an empty room.