29K - Atonement/Apotheosis Redux - Significantly Higher Stakes
As a marketer and entrepreneur, I am my brand and its message. In the months leading up to the launch of the Centurion Commission, however, that message was, to put it mildly, unclear and scattered. On YouTube I was pumping out a great interview series called “Something Something Something Creative” and I was very proud of it; although I must confess, I started it mainly as a means to talk with a woman I had a crush on (insert simp jokes here). Over on TikTok I had been putting out more eclectic content, with some videos about gratitude, some joking around with my daughter, and still others of an original character cosplay I created named Devon Tannhauser, the Mystical Merc. Meanwhile on Instagram, the platform on which I’m most active, I spent the majority of my time posting dark and funny memes for lack of knowing what else to do. In short, I was spinning my intellectual wheels and getting nowhere.
The thing about the hero’s journey (which is what my company is ACTUALLY about) is that it applies to so many things – from addiction recovery, to sports, to art, to finance, to mental health, to relationships; the list goes on and on. Making it the axis mundi of my life’s work is both a blessing and a curse. While its adaptability allows me to connect with so many other interesting concepts, it also makes it hard for an ADHD-riddled squirrel-brain like mine to move in a manner that mere mortals can keep up with. However, by early November I decided to get a little more serious and focused with my work, so I started dropping posts about leadership, resilience, setting a positive example, etc. What I learned on that beach, however, was that I didn’t lack focus, it’s that I had lacked faith…in myself. Addicts hide their feelings behind their habits, and true-to-form, I was letting my habits (aka: default patterns) veer towards scattered ramblings and sardonic humor to avoid the truth, which was that while I was sincere, I still wasn’t being fully authentic. I was saying the truth, just not ALL of the truth.
When I started Hero’s Breath, I wanted to jump straight into what’s commonly referred to online as the “Manosphere”. I wanted it to be a brand for men; to talk about stoicism, about building confidence through struggle, and about the great accomplishments of Western Civilization that birthed the giants on whose shoulders we can now stand. I wanted to talk about the need to embrace tradition and reject the degeneracy of the modern world, not from the perspective of a religious zealot, but from a position of someone who used the formula laid down by his ancestors to pull himself out of hell. I wanted to do this from the start, but I was advised against it, for fear that it would put me in direct ideological opposition to people with whom I had been associated. These were people who reviled Western Civilization, saw manliness as a toxin to be avoided, and cried for the censorship of any opposing viewpoints. To pump out such content when I started my company would have ruffled too many feathers in the community into which I had just begun to settle, and as I was still unclear of a lot of things, I defaulted to others’ advice in this case. Regardless of where the idea came from, there’s no doubt in my mind that had I done as I originally intended, I would have gone down a dark rabbit hole, as my antagonistic nature, my Shadow Warrior, would have taken over.
By Christmas Eve the confrontation with my Shadow Warrior was months behind me, and I was no longer at the mercy of the old addiction pattern he represented. Having accepted and integrated more of my worst traits, I was then given the gift of having died at the hands of a god and was reborn at the feet of two beautiful goddesses. I call that a gift because firstly, it marked clearly the end of the Apotheosis phase, and secondly, because it set significantly higher stakes for the next phase of my journey. Odin’s warning to me that slipping back into old patterns would have dire karmic consequences didn’t really click in my mind until more than a month later when I saw the results of my failure first-hand and instantly.
One night in late January I attended a weekly training at the WFG office as usual, but unlike most nights, I wasn’t quite “feeling it”. Maybe I was just a little overworked, or maybe I had had too much caffeine that day. Whatever the reason, I didn’t leave the office feeling like a winner on the cusp of greatness; I again felt like a perpetual failure that was simply too stubborn to quit. However, I had sworn to Odin that I wouldn’t speak of myself in such terms again, so I didn’t say it out loud, not even to myself, but doubt was definitely settling into my heart, and I drove away that night with a heavy burden weighing down on my soul. As I got onto the Long Island Expressway, a wave of cars and trucks kept me trapped in the right lane, putting me on a collision course with one of the many potholes that New Yorkers pay through the nose to enjoy. As my front passenger wheel hit the corner of the gap, the rim sliced into the low-profile tire, not only relieving it of air, but making it unrepairable. With my plans to drive up to Vermont the next day to see my daughter hanging in the balance, I pulled to the side of the road, put the donut on, and called my buddy John at Cold Spring Harbor Garage who made some time for me early the next day. Thankfully he got me squared away and moving again with little fuss and little expense, but I was left wondering why it happened.
Yes, I know that not every event in our lives has to have meaning, but I couldn’t shake the feeling that this did. And ordinarily, I’d assume that even negative occurrences like this would all be part of a kind of butterfly effect scenario that leads to positive change. Even my car accident proved to be a catalyst towards getting me back on my journey, but this still felt different, and that feeling nagged at me until I started writing these blogs. Being forced to recall my conversation with Odin in detail enabled me to find the context I had been missing, and it all fell sharply into place. When Odin warned me of a karmic backlash, he wasn’t kidding. There was no hidden benefit in my busted tire, and no lesson to walk away with, save for one: I had no room left in my life for doubt.
Cold Spring Harbor Garage: FB: https://www.facebook.com/coldspringharborgarage/