Maya Angelou said, “I believe that a hero is anyone with the intention of making this a better world for all people.” Have you ever looked for heroin quotes? The dearth of examples is absolutely infuriating. Of the few samples we find the cinematic reality of the female detectives, the wonder woman and then we have the realist Harriet Beecher Stowe “To be really great in the little things, to be truly noble and heroic in the insipid details of everyday life. a virtue so rare that it is worthy of canonization. “
Aren’t women heroes? What is the name of a mother who takes care of a sick child so that he can regain health? Is she not a hero in the eyes of that child? What do you call a woman who follows her passion in the face of war, like Rachel Corrie? Not a heroine? What do you call a woman who is clearly different, diagnosed as autistic, but continues her life creating beautiful and moving art? Not a heroine? How do we define and synthesize being a woman and a hero? Are they the only examples in history, in the movies or in martyrs?
When I talk again about the heroines of the fables that I love: the sister of the seven swans sewing, or the girl who confronted Baba Yaga. Each has little hope and yet trusts that they will be fine. They endure even when the chances of success seem slim. The Seamstress Sister nearly burned at the stake for her intransigence. The girl facing Baba Yaga could turn into a deformed chicken at any moment. They are heroines because they kept going, determined and confident that they will be fine. A heroine cannot afford to be hopeful, she must have courage when there is no sane reason to be courageous. A heroine has to securely tie the rope to the tree trunk before hanging over the edge to rescue someone. You have to trust that it makes those knots work, not expect them to work. We are heroines in our own history. We are here with a greater purpose than we have lived up to now. We have a higher purpose, and the first step is to listen to our intuition, our instincts, and anything that says “yes!”
What are the steps to awaken our inner heroine? Everyone has their own path and their own inner guide to guide them. When we wake up, we can ask our higher power, our soul or Great Spirit: “What is your will for me?” We will receive a response if we are willing to listen. The answers are conveyed through synchronicities, people (acting as angels), signs, symbols and songs on the radio, or animals that cross our path. The next correct step will come if we are willing to listen and wait for the guidance that is already there. And with each step more will be revealed as we are ready to take it. Maybe going to your child’s parent-teacher talk when you feel like “it’s a bad hair day” is today’s version of being a hero? When we put our children, lovers, or friends first, before our own insecurities, that is a heroic act. Perhaps releasing the limited vision of who we think we are and acting from our authentic selves is an act of heroism?
When I stop having to be perfect and get the help I need, hiring a writing coach, working with a therapist, or saying no when I want someone to like me is a heroic act for me. When I break my long-standing belief that I am self-sufficient and realize that self-reliance to the extreme means isolation, and I choose to seek support, that is a heroic act for me. When I share my vulnerabilities and realize that I am not the only one who feels this way, it is a heroic act for me. I am a reluctant heroine. I prefer to be comfortable and do only the things in life that I prefer. Still, I’m driven by the impetus to dig deeper, to do the things that scare me, to step up and share my truth in any open way. Maybe that’s not heroic, maybe it’s just being an ordinary strong woman.
We need more heroines to evolve this world, to heal this planet. At the very least, we need more quotes about heroines to pass on to our daughters, sisters, and granddaughters.
This week’s exercise consists of observing the daily actions that you carry out and seeing them through the eyes of others.
1. Be forgiving and open-minded with yourself. What could you see that is heroic?
2. What are the challenges you take on and achieve? Are you a hero to yourself?
3. What do you do with courage, even if it seems impossible?
4. How are you an everyday hero?