(14) The Rescue from Without - Helping Hands to get back Home
“So, the pandemic forced everyone to learn using online tools, and that unexpected event increased the number of potential client that you could serve as a coach from remote. Do you recall any other situation that helped you reach faster your goal to reach more people?”
Gisela’s eyes sparkle with joy.
"You bet it. I started a successful partnership with a coaching service provider. It led me to a profitable increase in the number of coaching contracts with clients from different regions who wanted to gain more clarity, dissolve emotional blocks, and take the next step in their work and private life.”
"On top of this, I received a speaking assignment for a company that serves people from all backgrounds. It included an inspirational talk and a group coaching afterwards. I had been so excited about it!"
In addition to The Magic Flight, which is driven by supernatural forces coming from the Deep Space of the Journey, Joseph Campbell points us to another step, The Rescue from Without.
‘Without’, as opposed to ‘within’, indicates that the Hero is rescued from people who are standing on that other side of the veil and who are well grounded in the Ordinary World.
Society, Campbell says, is oftentimes jealous of Heroes who stay away from it and tries to recall them.
In other cases, the weak or injured Hero wouldn’t be able to cross the Return Threshold without help, and a caring hand comes just in time.
That’s what the rescue is about.
So, while the Magic Flight comes as a ‘push’ generated within the supernatural world, the Rescue from Without comes in the form of a ‘pull’ that roots again the Hero into the world of the living.
The Rescue from Without in The Odyssey
Nausicaa, the beautiful daughter of Alkinoos, King of Phaeacians, is sleeping in her room.
Athena, in the form of a dear friend of Nausicaa’s, appears in her dreams and invites her to go to the river, close to the woods where Odysseus is sleeping.
Once awake, the maiden follows the instructions and reaches the river.
The man wakes up, sees her, and begs her for help.
Nausicaa, moved by his words, provides him with clothes and arranges to guide him to the Palace.
There, Odysseus prays Alkinoos and her wife Arete to help him come back home. He recounts them his story and they agree to support him.
A few days later, the Phaeacians prepare a vessel that swiftly take Odysseus back on the shores of his beloved Ithaca.
The Rescue from Without in Alcestis
Euripides narrates the story of Admetus, Thessalian King, who was granted by the Fates a special privilege. In fact, he would live beyond the time allowed to him if he found someone who would sacrifice in his stead.
When Death comes nearer, Admetus hasn’t found a substitute yet. Not even his parents accept to sacrifice for him.
Finally, her loving wife Alcestis steps in. She doesn’t want that their children grow up without a father, and she couldn’t bear living without him anyway.
Alcestis prepares herself for dying. She prays, hugs her children for one last time, and bids everyone farewell. While hugging her, Admetus promises he won’t marry again and will conduct a solemn life in her honor.
Thanatos, the personification of death, comes with his sword, and Alcestis passes away.
By pure chance, Heracles, Admetus’ old friend, shows up at the Palace. Once discovered what has happened, he goes and fight Thanatos, overpowers him, and forces him to give her back to life.
Alcestis, covered with a veil, returns with Heracles. She remains silent for three days, to purify herself from the darkness of the Hades, and is restored to life.
The Rescue from Without in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland
Alice is invited to attend a trial, where the Jack of Hearts is accused to have stolen the Queen’s tarts. The girl starts growing larger and larger, and is requested to leave, but she refuses.
As the witnesses are questioned, Alice complains about the stupidity of the nonsense conclusions that the King and the Queen are drawing.
Enraged, the Queen orders to cut her head, and the card guards jump all over her. Alice cries and, almost overwhelmed, tries to get rid of them.
“Wake up,” her elder sister tells her, while wiping off some leaves fallen on Alice’s face as she was sleeping on a riverbank, “You’ve slept enough!”
The Rescue from Without in Avatar
Pandora’s goddess Eywa sends out, in a Magic Flight, the whole wildlife to fight and overwhelm the humans who had already destroyed the Hometree and who still wanted to steal the planet’s resources.
The humans’ army is defeated, and the Na’vi rejoice.
Yet, Jake Sully is in danger.
In fact, Colonel Quaritch, the army’s leader, wants to kill Jake for having betrayed his race. First, in a robot-armed suit, he tries to kill Jake’s Avatar body, but then he sees the lab that contains the avatar link unit from which Jake’s human body maneuvers the Avatar, and breaks the lab’s windows.
Pandora’s atmosphere is poisonous for human lungs, and within the lab Jake stops breathing, unable to reach out to his respirator mask.
Neytiri, Jake’s Na’vi mate, reaches out just in time. She shoots two poisoned arrows that instantly kill Quaritch, and jumps into the lab to put the respirator on Jake’s face.
The man coughs and start breathing again. He’s back to life.
As you may have noticed, the Rescue from Without in Avatar takes a new twist.
In fact, the agent that rescues the Hero doesn’t come from his original Ordinary World, but from the same Deep World where he has taken his Journey.
It shouldn’t come as a surprise, though: Jake had already decided in his heart that he would have left the human race behind and become a Na’vi in every way.
The new Ordinary World in which he will close the circle, then, is Pandora, and from there his rescuer comes.
The Rescue from Without in Chris Gardner’s Hero’s Journey
In 2008 Chris Gardner is at the peak of his career. He is on the road for speaking engagements or for business meetings two hundred days a year. He is in love with a beautiful woman, Holly, his best friend, soulmate, and joy of his life, who had been his partner since 1992.
The Call to Adventure comes that same year. One morning Holly wakes up and tells Chris she’s losing her vision. By the tone of her voice, he understands that the issue is beyond what a pair of glasses can solve.
They reach out to the best medical specialists, and Holly is diagnosed with an inoperable but benign brain tumor that is pushing on her optic nerves. She’s losing one eye, and half of the other one will soon follow.
Regular radiation treatment is out of the question, since it would destroy both bad and good cells.
Chris refuses to accept any negative thought and enters denial mode.
In his life he had already overcome any obstacle, achieved every goal, slayed every dragon.
“This can’t be different,” he keeps telling himself and Holly. “We can do it.”
He’s scared as hell inside, but to protect Holly he doesn’t show it.
There could be a chance for Holly to be treated with an experimental protocol, Proton Radiation. It’s a therapy that in 2008 only five places in the US do. Holly and Chris rush to Bloomington, Indiana, hoping for the best.
The Supernatural Aid comes to Chris in the form of an unexpected free calendar for him for the next six weeks. He takes it as God’s message that there’s something more important than business and public speaking for him to take care of.
With the treatment, Chris and Holly cross the First Threshold. Failing her vision, Chris keeps reading to her book after book. They spend together all their days and rediscover the preciousness of time. They even coin the term ‘Atomic Time’, the awareness of how every single moment matters.
He enters his Belly of the Whale by studying all what he can about the therapy. How does it work? What side effects could it have? What changes should we expect? He realizes he could lose her, but he keeps repeating that they will continue with their normal life.
The Road of Trials though is an uphill struggle. Holly has a series of falls, and a new diagnosis tells that the tumor has evolved into a stage IV brain cancer. They both know that the clock is ticking.
Chris lovingly performs his role of primary caregiver. He takes care of Holly in any possible way, day and night. Holly is worried that the illness could take them apart, but Chris dispels all doubts with his loyal nature. That’s their Meeting with the Goddess.
The thought of a life without Holly is unbearable to Chris, and she knows it.
She feels that Chris has stopped dreaming. He’s falling to the Temptation to giving up on his own journey.
“I don’t want you to cry because it’s over,” she tells him, “but to smile because it happened.”
And, with all her love, now that they’ve realized how short life could be, she keeps asking him what he’s going to do with the rest of his life once she’s gone.
It’s her way to tell him to reclaim his right to dream.
Holly’s conditions quickly worsen.
She has a stroke.
In a short while, she’s completely paralyzed, except for her right foot. She can’t speak, and communicates by moving it.
These are their last days together, and they savor every remaining second, until the very end.
Here’s the Atonement with the Father for Chris, the moment in the Journey when we look in the eyes our greatest fears.
Something – a belief, a behavior, a no more fitting identity - dies for a new awareness to arise.
And, in the context of this Journey, Holly’s passing resonates with the Apotheosis, her becoming God through her sacrifice, transmuting her form to enable Chris to take his next step and touch the lives of even more people.
The question keeps returning for Chris every single day after Holly is gone.
“What are you going to do with the rest of your life?”
He realizes that, after 30 years being world-class in the brokerage business, he doesn’t want to do it anymore. He sees that when you do something you’re not passionate about you’re compromising yourself, and you can’t get to the next chapter without turning some pages. That was the Ultimate Boon of his Journey.
Chris takes around five years to answer that question, a long Refusal of the Return.
But then he kicks off his “Back 2 High School” project: visiting one hundred schools and reaching hundred thousand students. He realizes how enlivening it is for him speaking in front of young people, the next generation of change makers, nurturing them with the awareness that they can do and be whatever they want, that they have the potential to be the next Chris Gardner or the next Oprah Winfrey, and that each of us has the ‘Permission to Dream.’
That’s the signature title that he gives his speeches, and that’s the title of the book that he will then publish in 2021.
His Magic Flight takes speed. The goal of reaching hundred schools stretches further. Today, as ‘CEO of Happyness’, he works with community leaders, executives, organizations, and institutions, that provide opportunities to all those who want to give themselves permission to dream. He teaches to ask not how we can benefit from our dreams, but how our dreams can benefit the world.
All these experiences fall into the metaphor of the Rescue from Without of Chris’s main Hero’s Journey.
All of them have led him to take his next leap. He has built on his past experiences, and when life has provided him with non-negotiable situations, like the loss of a loved one, he’s taken his next step and driven beyond the wall, beyond the fears, to help people of all ages embody a masterpiece of life.
The Rescue from Without in My Story
I sense that something is shifting for the client in Modena.
Their Company’s reorganization brings instability, and the client’s manager that I reported to is promoted and substituted by another one. The new one seems distant and less interested in agility, and this matches the behavior of the new managerial group that is now taking the lead in my area.
Nonetheless, I continue to serve my teams. They too are sensing that the ground is trembling, and they can’t foresee what’s beyond the next turn. I keep them focused on continuing getting business results and keeping their unity.
And then, in mid-June, I get a text from the new manager.
He wants to talk.
On the phone, he gets straight to the point.
They’re so happy for the exceptional work that I’ve done for them for almost three years and a half, but now things have changed.
They have to cut on budget, and they won’t renew my contract.
In less than two weeks’ time.
I stop breathing.
My first thought is not for me, but for the team members.
Since the beginning of this month, I’ve started training them on a new complex and strategic tool for collaborative remote working.
It’s a pilot, only few other teams are using it, and I’m one of the very few people in the company with hands-on experience on it.
They should be ready for kicking it off by the end of the month, but if in two weeks’ time I won’t be there, who is going to coach them on it?
Its standard configuration will need to be adapted based on how they’ll use the tool as a team, and I know that it’s quite a tricky try-and-adjust operation that will take weeks, maybe months.
Who is going to support them?
I share with him my concerns.
“This shows how professional you are, Danilo, and I appreciate that. But just don’t worry.”
You clearly don’t understand, I think, while I hit my tongue and keep my mouth shut.
I’ve been working with some of those guys for two years straight, almost every single day. I’ve seen them struggle, and have insights, and then grow strong beyond their and their company’s expectations, and evolve both as individuals and as teams.
I’ve facilitated those teams’ dynamics, coaching them on how to sort out internal issues that looked insurmountable and that now are just a pale memory in their journey.
Together we had learned to look at every new challenge as a way to expand our comfort zone and become more insightful and cheerful.
I’ve coached them on sharing our vulnerabilities and support each other, making the team a safe place to be and a “value-creating machine”.
It was a never-ending journey of continuous improvement.
And, in two weeks’ time all of this is ending.
From an emotional standpoint, I’m devastated.
I didn't serve "users" these years, I've served people, with their own stories, struggles, and victories.
They've been my "extended family" for so long.
But, as I let my thoughts settle, and I look at the silent space between and beyond them, I sense that everything is ok.
Through my journey I've made friends with uncertainty.
I've learnt to dance with change, rather than fighting it.
I've gained an understanding of the "inside-out" nature of creation.
“That's why I coach people around transformations and I guide them all the way through,” I tell myself, “so that they don't mess up as I did when I tried it on my own.”
I’ve learnt to be fluid with my own identity, with how I perceive myself.
Not settling with what I think “I am” right now.
Not identifying myself with what I’m doing.
With my job title.
With my job description.
Rather, I stay on the edge of what's possible.
I let potentials show up, I don't constrain them with what I believe is possible.
I sense that the game is much larger and wider than I think.
I stay open to the possibility to be part of the process, the creator, and the creation itself.
All at the same time.
A friend asks me, right after learning that my contract is over, "Are you looking for something else now?"
To which I reply, "I don't look for, I create."
After my initial shock and disbelief, I enter my silent space within.
And, maybe for the very first time, I get fully in touch with what I stand for.
With what I am for.
I feel empathy for all those entrepreneurs who are facing this transition with no certainty that their business will be able to see the light at the end of this tunnel.
And from a wise inner place, words come out:
I feel the responsibility to share with companies, leaders, and professionals what I've learnt along my transformative journey so far.
I want to support those who are aware that there will be no "Back to Normal", that the "New Normal" is something yet to be created, and that it will respond to rules still unimaginable today.
I want to help companies, leaders, and professionals, who might be feeling confused right now and who feel the urge to be on the edge of what's possible, to be rising again and thriving in the "New Normal".
I let this come out and settle.
And, rather than "How can I get back in?", this time I ask mySelf:
"How can I be of service?"
"Who can I support today?"
"Whom can I share my gifts, and talents, and insights with?"
I feel calm, and clear, and sharp.
This time I don’t sense uncertainty, I sense potentials that are only asking me to be turned into matter.
I see how the interruption of this long-term consulting contract is a blessing in disguise.
I’ve actually been “rescued from without” by that manager.
I was identifying myself with just a story, and he’s cut that chord.
And I clearly see now that there’s a universe beyond my story.
I’ve connected the dots.
I’ve discovered what I’m here for.
And, that the coolest way to show other people how to surf uncertainty and take the leap, is doing it myself.
So, I do it.
Do you remember a moment when you felt like everything was lost, and someone reached out and saved the day? What happened? How did it feel like? Did you feel humbled and grateful, or just surprised?
Beyond Your Story
Look beyond the specific events that you may have recalled in the point above. Sometimes the universe has a way to keep us back on track by providing us with physical helpers. They give us back roots, human connection, and sympathy. We don’t feel alone anymore. Or, they take us out of situations that are not optimal yet are familiar to us, and that we didn’t have the courage to depart from. In this case those helpers could seem annoying, yet they’re the ones who save us from our limited thoughts and propel us to complete our Journey. In this light, what new insights emerge for you, beyond the story of those events?
Is this post lighting you up? Are you willing to Open Up to Your Potential?
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