During my lunch hour the other day, I was reading Joseph Campbell’s HERO WITH A THOUSAND FACES, on my iBook application. I was struck by the part about dreams being the stuff of unresolved childhood issues, which are the seeds of unrealized potential. As adults, we may have to regress to find those seeds again, in order to undergo transformation, which is a way of returning to the immortality of our soul. That got me to thinking about God, faith, and fate. And, of course, you can’t ponder such things without thinking about love, soul mates, and a sense of purpose. Thus, the theme for this month’s Keynotes, “Fated Love,” was born.
And then I needed to pee.
When I returned from my bathroom break and illuminated my iPhone, iBook had mysteriously switched to my Nook application, and my animal totems book was open to the Kookaburra, of all things. The subtitle read, “The Kookaburra is your power animal.”
Huh. Well, that was curious! Not only because some ghostly hand had decided I needed to read this passage (and is apparently up on the new OS 7), but also because I had no idea what a Kookaburra was. Turns out, a Kookaburra is a bird.
The text said: To manifest your dreams, stay centered, maintain your focus and determination, and let nothing deter you. The best way to overcome your fear is to face it and do whatever you need to do in order to accomplish your objective. Release behavior patterns that no longer serve you.
I started crying. Yes, again, at work (but not as hard as I did this morning on the toilet). I think the waterworks were for three reasons: One, because I felt like somebody was paying attention to me (so what if only an angel or disembodied spirit? Who am I to be picky?) Two, because it was terribly vague (if the great beyond wanted to give me a don’t-give-up pat on the back, they could have at least included a time table. Like, “An agent will pick you up in approximately three months at 18:00 hours”). And three, I wasn’t sure if they were talking about ambition or love.
Naturally, I had to get my boss’s input. She said, “I don’t think whatever is in charge could get any clearer than that. Your need for further clarification is just a manifestation of your baseless doubts about achieving what you are obviously destined to do. Take it for what it is, which is a ‘good job, keep up the good work.’ Focus on what you’ve been doing and it will be fine.” Have I mentioned I have an awesome boss?
“But what if I end up alone for the rest of my life? I’d like to think I would be okay with that, but I wouldn’t be. And I think that makes me flawed and weak and common.”
She rolled her eyes. “Men are not going to let you live the rest of your life alone. It’s not possible. Look at you.”
“No, but what if it is?”
“Youth sags, and beauty fades.”
“Stop assuming everyone else’s problems. You’re not them. Your story is your own.”
Later that evening, I sought the male opinion from a pen pal. He said, “You won’t be alone, you require someone.”
Ugh! I cringed. Like I had gone to school naked and forgotten my homework on the bus. “How do you know that about me? Doesn’t that make me co-dependent and pathetic?”
“It’s not, Red. Everyone wants someone. It’s human nature.”
As much as I’d like to deny it, relationships have deeply affected my self-concept, (not the least of which, my failed marriage). Campbell states, “In the United States there is a pathos of inverted emphasis: the goal is not to grow old, but to remain young; not to mature away from mother, but to cleave to her. And so, while husbands are worshiping their boyhood shrines...their wives, even after fourteen years of marriage and two fine children produced and raised, are still on the search for love--which can come to them only through the mythical crea tures of their dreams or the big screen.” I don’t know one woman over thirty who wouldn’t understand this statement (and a few over the age of twenty-five).
Look at the popularity of Romance fiction, for example, which was the largest share of the U.S. consumer market in 2012 at 16.7 percent. Of that 16.7 percent, 91 percent are women. And these women are no morons (as my grandmother would say), these are women between the ages of 30 and 54, earning between $50,000.00 and $99,000.00 per year, more than half of which are married or have a significant other. And they are loyal readers; 44% percent considering themselves “frequent readers,” and 41% percent have been reading for over twenty years.
Okay, so, here I am. Trying to be a romance writer, a weaver of fantasies and a proponent of the “happily ever after,” aka, Fated Love. Maybe that seems like a wrong direction to take if I want to find love in reality, but a belief in fated love is closer to reality than you might think.
Campbell states, “The happy ending is justly scorned as a misrepresentation; for the world, as we know it, as we have seen it, yields but one ending; death…and the crucifixion of our heart... The fairytale of happiness ever after…belongs to the never-never land of childhood…just as the myth of heaven ever after is for the old. [But] these in the ancient world were regarded as of a higher rank than tragedy…of a deeper truth, of a more difficult realization, [and] a sounder structure. The happy ending of the fairy tale, the myth, and the divine comedy of the soul, is to be read, not as a contradiction, but as a transcendence of the universal tragedy of man.”
In other words, the happy ending is not a contradiction to “real life,” but hints at the transcendence of the soul—which is immortal, sustaining, and capable of transforming. To believe in the happy ending is to integrate anxiety-provoking ambiguities. This helps us endure and change, when the world around us remains the same.
I like that. And I’ll take it. In fact, between Campbell and the Kookaburra, I’m feeling pretty damn optimistic right now. So, I will embrace the Kookaburra’s magic, and keep reading and writing happy endings. Because in every happy ending, we are fated to find love, whichever way you slice it. ♥
Mac Perry is a Creative Arts Therapist, adjunct professor, and aspiring author of urban fantasy. When she is not corralling her three-year-old son, she is blogging and working on her passion’s pursuit. To learn more, check out her web site at www.macperry.com, or her blog at www.macperrysblog.blogspot.com.