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Home / Articles / Arts & Entertainment / Celebrities /  Who Are Our Heroes?
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Monday, December 2,2019

Who Are Our Heroes?

By Liz Sterling  
When we think of heroes, a variety of images pop in to mind. Fictional superheroes, like Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman give way to the mythological figures of Orpheus, Icarus, Perseus or Heracles. Of course, historical heroes including Joan of Arc, Julius Caesar and George Washington have left deep impressions in the expanding hero list.

This month, we broaden our perspective even further to embrace modern heroes. Right alongside Nelson Mandela, the Dalai Lama, Martin Luther King, Jr., Mother Teresa… we acknowledge our teachers, firefighters, police, nurses, doctors, kids making a difference in their schools, and teenagers speaking at the United Nations. And to this list, I am also adding YOU!

According to psychologist and author Scott T. Allison, “Your purpose in life is to live the life of a hero.”

He writes that, “Hero stories endow our lives with meaning and reveal how a human life is meant to be lived.”

Allison continues, “Hero stories illuminate your true purpose in four ways,” and he illustrates the steps of the journey you and I will take in this life. I’m proposing we view ourselves as the hero — waking up to our greater purpose so we can find the strength to be world-changers.

Read on and see that you and I have great capacities waiting to be actualized.

Scott T. Allison is a psychology professor at Richmond University. He holds a Ph.D. from University of California Santa Barbara, and has authored over 100 periodicals.

His distillation of The Hero’s Journey is as follows:

1. “You will go on a journey. At some point during your life, you will journey away from the comforts of your familiar world. In ‘The Wizard of Oz,’ a tornado sends Dorothy to the land of Oz. Brace yourself – your life always includes some type of voyage, fraught with discomfort but crucial in revealing your life purpose.”

2. “You will grow from adversity.

Overcoming obstacles and failures is a central part of your life journey. Children’s fairy tales prepare us for adversity by featuring heroes who grow from their setbacks.”

3. “You will assemble a team of allies. You should never undertake your journey alone. Heroes find a way to attract sidekicks, friends and mentors to help them overcome obstacles. Trusted allies will guide you through adversity and will assist you in becoming forever transformed by your journey.”

4. “You will give back to society.

– The hero’s journey is far more than mere personal transformation. Once you return from your journey, you will use your newfound gifts to make the world a better place. Your life purpose is to use your own personal transformation to help transform society. Once mentored by another, you will now mentor others.”

“We’re not on our journey to save the world but to save ourselves. But in doing that you save the world. The influence of a vital person vitalizes.” – Joseph Campbell “Star Wars,” “Harry Potter,” “The Hunger Games,” “The Hobbit,” “The Lord of the Rings” all teach us about The Hero’s Journey. As we enter 2020, bring forth your inner hero, find/discover your team to support and guide you so whatever trials and tribulations you may encounter, you will rise and emerge a hero on this exceptional journey of life.

This summer, I met an inspiring man named Dan McKernan in Chelsea, Michigan. He was called from a deep place within, he told me, turned his back on city life, and returned home to convert his family’s generations-old farm into a rescue for barnyard animals – with absolutely no experience.

Barn Sanctuary was founded by Dan and his dad around a common goal: to save farm animals from perilous situations, and give them a place to live out their natural lives in safety and peace.

I was at the farm when Animal Planet sent a crew to live among the family and animals, and capture the heartfelt outpouring of love, kindness and care at the sanctuary. This coming year, a new series, “Barn Sanctuary” will inspire viewers of Animal Planet with rescue stories, unique medical cases, charismatic characters – both human and animal – while shining a light on modern day farm life, with a distinctive twist. This is a story of a heroic and bold adventure.

It is very hard work for Dan and his dad to care for the turkeys and pigs and cows and goats, and the farm — and to me they are heroes. Their passion and purpose is palpable. The day I was on the set, I hung out with the turkeys and sheep and could feel the blessings of what rescue means.

I also learned they have established programs for children from the community to come and learn about the proper care of animals. There was a month-long waiting list for the extremely popular Saturday Barn Sanctuary Tours.

After seeing the love and learning about the philosophy of making these rescue animals friends, I can truly understand why all the folks at Barn Sanctuary are proponents of a vegan lifestyle.

I’m beginning to think that the atrocities endured by factory farm animals must be reduced by reducing the demand, and I’m hoping that increasing awareness of this situation will lead people to make better choices. Each of us can do our part by consuming less meat and fowl that comes from animals that have been abused, neglected or treated inhumanely.

I hope I am tugging at a chord of compassion, and that you will be inspired to listen to your heart and become a hero to help save our planet in any way you are called to participate. We can do this together! Here’s to a new decade filled with new inspiration. From my heart, Liz


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