By Mari Selby
Maya Angelou said, “I think a hero is anyone with an intent to make this a better world for all people.” Have you ever looked up heroine quotes? The paucity of examples is absolutely infuriating. Of the few samples we find the cinematic reality of female detectives, wonder woman and then we have the down-to-earth Harriet Beecher Stowe “To be really great in little things, to be truly noble and heroic in the insipid details of everyday life, is a virtue so rare as to be worthy of canonization.”
Are women not heroes? What does one call a Mother who nurses a sick child back to health? Is she not a hero in that child’s eyes? What does one call a woman who follows her passion in the face of war, like Rachel Corrie? Is she not a hero? What do you call a woman who is clearly different, diagnosed as autistic, but carries on her life of creating beautiful, soulful art? Is she not a hero? How do we define and synthesize being a woman and a hero? Are the only examples either in history, in the movies, or martyrs?
When I go back over the heroines in the fables I love: the seven swans sewing sister, or the girl who confronted Baba Yaga. Each one has little hope, and yet still trusts that they will be okay. They endure even when the odds of their succeeding seem dim. The sewing sister is almost burned at the stake for her intransigence. The girl confronting Baba Yaga could be turned into a deformed chicken at anytime. They are heroines because they kept going, with determination, and trust that they will be okay. A heroine cannot afford to have hope, she has to have courage when there is no sane reason for her to have courage. A heroine has to firmly tie the rope to the trunk of the tree before she dangles over the edge to rescue someone. She has to trust that she makes those knots work, not hope that they will work. We are heroines in our own story. We are here for a bigger purpose than we have lived so far. We have a higher purpose, and the first step is to listen to our intuition, our gut feelings, and anything that says “yes!”
What are the steps to awakening our inner heroine? Everyone has their own path, and their own inner guidance that will lead them on. When we awake, we can ask our higher power, our soul, or Great Spirit, “What is your will for me?!” We will receive an answer if we are willing to listen. The answers make come through synchronicities, people (acting as Angels) signs, symbols & songs on the radio, or animals that cross our paths. The next right 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 in. Maybe going out 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 place our children, or lovers, or friends first, before our own insecurities that is a heroic act. Maybe releasing the limited vision of who we think we are and acting from our authentic selves is an act of heroism?
When I let go of having to be perfect and get whatever help I need, hiring a writing coach, working with a therapist, or saying no when I want someone to like me is an heroic act to me. When I break my long standing belief that I am self-reliant and realize that self reliance to the extreme means isolation, and choose to reach out for support that is an heroic act to me. When I share my vulnerabilities and realize I am not alone in feeling that way that is an heroic act to me. I am a reluctant heroine. I would rather be comfortable and only do the things in life that are my preference. Still the impetus to dig deeper, to do the things that scare me, to step out and share my truth in whatever ways are open drives me on. Maybe that’s not heroic, maybe that’s just being an everyday, 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 along to our daughters, sisters, and grand-daughters.
This week’s exercise is to look at the everyday acts you do, and see them from another’s eyes.
1. Be forgiving, and open-minded towards yourself. What could you possibly see that is heroic?
2. What are the challenges you take on and accomplish? Are you a heroine to yourself?
3. What do you do with courage, even though it seems impossible?
4. How are you an everyday heroine?