When the wolf at the door is bringing sugar

BigLittleWolf has given me a prize.  Thank you Wolf.  Another word for prize, if we elevate it up to something “big,” is a “boon.”  This is the treasure that the hero seeks in the hero’s journey.

Given my interest in micro-parenting (an ethic of each of us making little differences rather than big, grandiose, change-the-world visions), I sometimes look at parenting in terms of the hero’s journey, a paradigm in which we parents (i.e. those who might embrace a parenting attitude, in other words simply caring about one’s little corner of the world, whether or not that includes children) might each be in the midst of a million small hero’s journeys—no longer gathering around the fire to hear about Ulysses or Hercules (not that story-time isn’t fun) but instead living our own small terrors and triumphs, mostly unseen, unaided and uncelebrated.

In The Hero with a Thousand Faces Joseph Campbell says, “A hero ventures forth from the world of common day into a region of supernatural wonder: fabulous forces are there encountered and a decisive victory is won: the hero comes back from this mysterious adventure with the power to bestow boons on his fellow man.”  Couldn’t we rephrase this as, “a parent, upon having a child, tumbles into a radically different way of being:  one wrestles one’s own demons and the victory of becoming one’s true self, free of bullshit and inauthenticity may, at much cost, be won:  the parent learns how to truly love, and is then able to love the world.”

I like blogging because to me it is like a network of neurons awakening and communicating—only connecting… and there is love in this world still cooing and playing with its feet in its crib.  Just like the human brain in early stage development, every (reasonably obscure) blogger can currently connect with every other (reasonably obscure) blogger.  Later, I predict, the limits of human time and attention inevitably narrow the number of relationships one can manage and sustain, so that the ones we have built get stronger while there is less openness to new connections.

But for my readers, and the bloggers I read and who read me, these are golden days of early-stage awakening collective human consciousness.  In the old days we had “heroes” who woke up and told us what time it was: Abraham, Moses, Jesus, Mohammed, Buddha, Lao Tze, The Dalai Lama, etc.  In this day it is us regular folks who are waking up, and knowing that we’re awake, and not wanting to be told what to do or how to think.

Society currently suffers from a calcified hierarchy around location, money and social contacts—not to mention myths about capital and the future itself that are crumbling.  My blogging connections exist in a different sphere—diverse economics, geography, points of view… and yet a glue of kindredness of spirit.  In the blogosphere I see a new consciousness emerging—one that no one is in charge of, but which we collectively architect through participation, not control.

I imagine that in the old days, people didn’t confuse themselves with heroes, with Hercules or Ulysses.  Spend any time around Wall Street, private schools, movie studios, big banks or hospitals and you’ll see that many of us do confuse ourselves with larger-than life heroes.  Heroes are archetypal; humans, when they inflate, are merely entitled.

The boon, a “sugar doll,” which Wolf bestows carries two conditions:  give it to someone else; and disclose ten things readers might not know about you.

As for the re-gifting, I want to encourage readers to visit the bloggers I tend to read, but which Wolf has already dusted with some sugar (i.e. the kitchen witch and ivy league insecurities as well as wolf’s own daily plate of crazies); two moms who have also tasted the sugar of the Wolf, and to whom I specifically pass the baton, (even though one got prized this week and one back in December) are A Design So Vast (for her sense of poetry and bravery and the beauty of her prose) and Motherese (also for the quality of her writing, thinking and heart);  both of these bloggers are a decade and a half younger than me on the parenting hero’s journey trail, but they speak a dialect to which I resonate, and offer healing voices in the mutual wish to care about all our collective children.

One other virtual space that I find hauntingly worth visiting is (The art of memory), this place loves the films, feeling tones and some evocative je ne sais quoi that I just like.  Since Neitzsche, Kafka, Durrell and E.B. White are all dead and, thus far at least, unable or unwilling to blog, I nod to this mysterious gatherer of image and emotion.

As for ten things to share that you wouldn’t already know from reading Privilege of Parenting…

1.  I once actually caught a softball in right field to win a game for my team in 7th grade gym class.

2.  I once got sent to the principal in forth grade for being the pathetic side-kick to a friend who was a bully, and who made a second grader crawl on hands and knees across the field (I’m not sure if I’ve paid this karma off yet).

3.  Speaking of the unspeakable, I stole a green felt-tipped pen from John Flannery in second grade.  I hid it in the frame of my mattress until the heat had blown over, but by then the marker had gone dry (and I still believe that one could write the magical story with that boon that was not meant for my hands).  If John ever reads these words, send me an email and I’ll send you a marker.

4.  If we’re going dark here, I’ll also confess that, at my mother’s urging, I cast a deliberate spell, using a voodoo doll my mom brought as a present from New Orleans, on a woman she was to play against in her golf-club championship.  Her opponent, a legendarily solid and steady player, had her worst round ever.  It’s my mom who pays the karma on that one, however, since I was just a kid.

5.  In fourth grade I had the pervasive fantasy that there would be an earthquake during school and I would be trapped in the rubble in a practical embrace with the girl I had a crush on, but was too scared to actually speak to.

6.  I used to stand outside my house as a kid with a flashlight and try to get the jets passing over to lower their lights (a plane version of getting a passing truck to honk).  At least one time a huge jet did it and cast a blinding “Close Encounters” sort of light over the trees and houses of my little patch of world as it passed.

7.  The scariest bully in my neighborhood, who humiliated me several times during the course of an unhappy childhood, “grew up” to be a pimp and a drug dealer.  Driving to Florida “on business,” a car went off an overpass and crushed him in an accident of freakish timing.  He was the youngest of 8 or 9 boys in a brutish family where his older brothers beat him.  I think of him every day with compassion and affection.

8.  A friend and I started a school of philosophy, based on our high school troubles finding love.  It was called Pas sur la bouchisme (not on the mouth-ism).  We were the only two adherents of this rigorous and arcane path.

9.  I learned about sex from reading The Happy Hooker aloud to my best friend, my brother and my best friend’s younger brother.  “What did she do with the German Shepherd?”

10.  I’m an unreliable narrator.

So, let’s dedicate today to imagining that we’re all on the hero’s journey when we strive to do our best as parents—re-visioning the “hero” as the consciousness we co-create and the “boon” as the love we manifest between us all—in the service of each other and all our collective children.

Namaste, Bruce

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6 Responses to “When the wolf at the door is bringing sugar”

  1. Lindsey Says:

    Bruce,
    Reading your kind words about me makes me cry. Thank you. It is truly an honor to hear that you find value in my writing, that you like it. And to be mentioned alongside Kristen, who is one of those writers whom I esteem most highly … well, this is a good morning indeed.
    Thank you, thank you. I learn from you every single day.

  2. Kristen @ Motherese Says:

    Thank you, Bruce, for sharing this honor with me. Seeing my name in a piece of yours and connected so closely to Lindsey’s makes me blush and smile all at once.

    I love what you say here about blogging and the nature of connection. (E.M. Forster would be proud, I dare say.) I am grateful to you and to Lindsey – and to BLW, TKW, and Aidan as well – for being such important cogs in my own wheel of understanding on the adventure of parenting.

  3. BigLittleWolf Says:

    This dusting of sugar is very sweet indeed. I smiled at your selection of choices, and again, at what you shared with us here.

  4. privilegeofparenting Says:

    Perhaps some good Irish whiskey (water of life) to cut the sweetness? Still, thanks for these lovely comments guys… bittersweet namastes all around.

  5. Mwa Says:

    I learned about sex by reading The Happy Hooker secretly in bed! That is too funny.

  6. Laurie Says:

    I too read the Happy Hooker in junior high with two buddies of mine (it was my mom’s copy). I a young girl and they young boys. We stopped reading it together after it became so very apparent what the entire book was about and it became uncomfortable. I finished it on my own : )
    As always, thanks for your insights.

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