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English: Armoured samurai with sword and dagge...
English: Armoured samurai with sword and dagger  (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Usually, I curate articles I like on my own website. I take a bit of their stuff, add a dash of mine and serve it up to my own community. This time, I want you to have the full experience for yourself from the master Denise Linn. I hope you find this article as moving and as inspirational as I did.
8 Ways to Become More like a Hero by Denise Linn
I was on a flight into San Francisco  and I surreptitiously noticed the young man sitting next to me in the middle  seat. He radiated a calm centeredness. He didn’t seem to be squirming in the  struggle for “personal boundaries” that so often accompanies those who are  stuffed into tight middle seats. As I’m always intrigued to find out what  beliefs are held by those who seem at peace, amidst the chaos of everyday life,  I engaged him in conversation.
He explained that he was a Marine and  had been stationed four different times in Iraq. He said his life was often in  peril and there were many times when buddies, on either side of him, had been  killed or seriously wounded. I couldn’t understand how someone—who had been in  that much constant danger and who had seen so many violent deaths and carried  shrapnel in his arms—could be so at peace.
When I asked him what sustained his  spirit, he pulled out a dog-eared, well-worn book. He said, “As a warrior, I  know that death is always a possibility. I have found my peace through studying  the way of ancient samurais.” The book he held in his hand was called, Bushido:  The Way of the Samurai.
He said, “In a way, this is my manual  for life. I read it over and over.” He explained that the concepts in the book,  which was written in eighteenth century Japan by a respected samurai warrior,  were very difficult for the Western mind to comprehend. However, there were  aspects of the code that really appealed to him, such as being in absolute  service for the well-being of others and a willingness to die at any moment.
He said, “In Iraq I woke up every  morning accepting my death. I know that this sounds strange, but it gave me a  kind of peace. I wasn’t afraid of dying in battle, because I had already  accepted my death. This allowed a kind of peace to fill me and maybe it also  helped keep me safe because on the battlefield I wasn’t always reacting out of  fear.”
I told him that I was of Cherokee  heritage, and Native American warriors had a similar code. My ancestors would  wake up in the morning and say, “It’s a good day to die.” This didn’t mean that  they wanted to die, but it meant that in every moment there was a feeling of  completion and a satisfaction. In a way, this is totally being in the present  moment. It is a powerful stand to take in life. Accepting. Open. Present.  Aware.
As we were leaving the plane, he put  something in my hands. I looked down and saw his tattered book. He said, “I’m  grateful for our conversation and I want to give you my book as a gift.” I  proclaimed that I couldn’t take his beloved copy. But he insisted saying, “I  really want you to have this.” As I saw him turn the corner in the airport, my  heart was so open.
Because of this chance encounter I  started thinking about the power of releasing the past, being in the present  with acceptance of “what is” even if it means facing death, and what it means  to be a “hero.” (For me this young man was a kind of hero. Putting politics  aside, he was willing to put his life on the line to be of service to others.)
I have written about this before but  it’s worth repeating. I think that we all want to be heroes. (I know that I  do.) I believe we all have an extraordinary, courageous being inside of us.  It’s just a matter of letting her/him out. So I started to think about what  code of honor I would need to accept for myself if I were to start becoming  even more of “a hero.” (You might find that you have a different creed for  yourself, but this is what I came up with for myself.)    To me, being a hero means:

  • To       do what’s right…even if you are afraid.
  • To       listen to the inner wisdom of your soul…and not the random opinions       of others.
  • To       be kind…and remember that sometimes the person you need to be       kindest to is yourself.
  • To       live by choice…not chance.
  • To       pursue excellence…excel, but not compete.
  • To       have integrity…keep your word and your commitments.
  • To       make corrections and changes…not make excuses.
  • To       be fair and treat all people with respect, and understand their point of       view…even if you don’t agree with it.

Most of all being a hero means  accepting yourself with a depth of kindness even when you act less-than-noble.  All bad behavior comes from fear or ignorance and when you judge anyone  (including yourself) for acting badly or imperfectly, you lose the ability to  influence that being.
When you accept your imperfections—and  still are willing to brush yourself off and start again—you can make changes…for you are on a heroic journey of the heart. To me this is the best kind  of hero. The kind of hero I strive to be.
For me one of the most powerful ways  to step into being the hero is to live as this Marine did…to accept my  death (for this way I can truly live life to its fullest), release my past and  be willing to live in the present moment.

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