I’ve always enjoyed Greek mythology, when the gods help some poor soul on an impossible mission by giving him a few special gifts.
Gifts like a knapsack, winged sandals, a sword, a helmet of invisibility, and a shield that’s been polished to reflect like a mirror.
Perseus was such a person, and his impossible task was to slay a Gorgon monster named Medusa, who most notably had venomous snakes for hair. This creature’s gaze had the power to turn you into stone.
Armed with these gifts from the gods, Perseus entered the Gorgons’ cave and found a sleeping Medusa. Using his polished shield to view Medusa’s reflection, he safely approached the Gorgon and cut off her head. Then he popped it into the knapsack to cloak its evil powers and used the helmet of invisibility and the winged sandals to escape the other Gorgons.
That collection of gifts from the gods was exactly what Perseus needed to complete his mission. But, without the mission, he might have been like, huh? What am I supposed to do with this stuff?
What if he worried that his friends might make fun of the knapsack or thought the helmet made his hair look funny? Maybe it was easier to stay at home and gaze into that polished shield. Maybe his sword wasn’t up to the task. Maybe it wasn’t worth the risk of going to slay a Gorgon.
What’s interesting about this story is not only does Perseus accomplish this incredibly difficult task, but once he has the head of Medusa, he builds on his success by wreaking havoc on his enemies. He seeks them out and pulls the dreaded head out of the bag because her gaze still has the power to turn them to stone. He uses his success as a stepping stone to accomplish even more.
You too have been equipped with gifts from the gods. Only you know what these special gifts are, the ones you were born with, the ones that make you who you are.
When we’re afraid to embrace our unique gifts because we’re worried about what people will think or we’re afraid to stand out in the crowd, we deny the gods and the gifts they bestowed upon us.
Even when we deny our gifts, we can’t give them back. We carry them around like a dead weight, and the weight of unused gifts feels like fatigue and sadness.
Some quest is always beckoning, but maybe your gifts are gathering dust on a shelf, while you stare at them from across the room.
The gifts you possess are exactly the right ones you need for your creative life. They are your tools to move boldly in the direction of your quest. Use them. Get comfortable with them. Use them as a tuning fork into the future. The gods are rooting for you.
Whatever is holding you back, whatever you are afraid of, it can’t be as horrible as slaying a Gorgon.
Gifts are bestowed.
What are you waiting for?