I was struck by the juxtaposition of these two quotes this week, the first from Mark Nepo’s webinar series on Fear, Pain, and Grief:
Heroes didn’t leap tall buildings or stop bullets with an outstretched hand; they didn’t wear boots and capes. They bled, and they bruised, and their superpowers were as simple as listening, or loving. Heroes were ordinary people who knew that even if their own lives were impossibly knotted, they could untangle someone else’s. —Jodi Picoult
And the second from re-reading Madeleine L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time, from her grand-daughter Charlotte Jones Voiklis:
My grandmother gave us protagonists who are heroic not in spite of their imperfections but because of them. For the most part, Meg and Calvin are pretty ordinary. And yet they have the capacity and the strength to make difficult choices, help each other, and save the universe. After all, how many of us are going to discover that we have magical powers or were actually born demigods? Nevertheless, we all might discover one that that we are called to accept our faults, risk being vulnerable, and, in the course, of things, overcome darkness.
Thirty years of helping people accept their faults, untangle their knots, make difficult choices, and overcome darkness have taught me that people are heroic when they can listen, be vulnerable, love themselves, care about others.
So I’m reaching back in the archives, to a newsletter I wrote in June 2009. The Wise Listening Leads to Conscious, Compassionate Connection newsletter is a wealth of reflections, exercises, stories and quotes that immerse you in the power of empathic listening to heal and empower. It’s long, as my newsletters were in those days. It might feel heroic to find your way through all the depth and breadth of the offerings. And, there are gems there to re-kindle your faith in your own capacities to be resiliently heroic in these difficult times.