When I was young, I was constantly retreating to my bed and reading. It was a great way to feel safe, be peaceful and escape whatever was going on downstairs in my home, which was often chaotic. I never got disciplined for reading, I didn’t run the risk of upsetting my parents, and I could dream of other worlds where there were wizards, dragons and people who needed saving. In my wild childhood imagination, I was going to be the one doing the saving, the one saving the day, the one who everyone revered and admired.
I especially liked fantasy and science fiction. When I was 6 I buried myself in Le Morte D’Arthur which was the story of King Arthur and the knights of the roundtable. By 12 I had moved on to The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien. I continued reading science fiction by Robert Heinlein and Arthur C. Clark throughout my adolescence and teenage years. The more fantastical and magical the better.
One thing these stories don’t always show are what the heroes have to go through behind the scenes. What do the knights do when they go home after battle? How do they take care of themselves? And who takes care of them?
I did not have a happy childhood. My parents were very strict, and rigid physical discipline was constant. After years of therapy and healing work, I realized that they wanted to keep me safe. But that did not change that I experienced deep childhood trauma and was later diagnosed with PTSD stemming from it which along with 5 near death experiences, caused a myriad of mental and physical health issues that lasted for decades.
Reading about knights, quests, adventures, and magic soothed my soul. The notion of chivalry and integrity as moral imperatives was a heady concoction of honor and nobility. My personal hero was Merlin, who was wise beyond his years and the master of his reality. Merlin could summon storms and dragons, befuddle the senses, and heal the sick and wounded. The more books I read about the Arthurian legends the more that I became convinced that I wanted to be a wizard. And a knight.
It is no surprise to me that I became a trial lawyer, who can be seen as a modern-day equivalent of a knight. Even though I disliked the conflict, I could imagine myself saving those in need and protecting the weak, just like a real knight. I faced great family pressure to become a lawyer, as I was a third generation attorney, but my own desire to be a warrior for justice was what tipped the proverbial scales and drove me headlong into the practice of law.
Despite my zealous start and lofty goals, I later discovered that there is a downside to the White Knight mythology. By spending my time focusing on the responsibilities of knighthood and rescuing people, I avoided looking at the problems I was struggling with. I believed that the stress of practicing law and leading an unhealthy lifestyle could be ignored by focusing on saving the day and winning case after case with my heroic lawyer skills.
I was always trying to save other people rather than try to save myself. I could justify my pain and suffering with the noble cause of saving my clients and fixing their problems. Unconsciously I sought out people who were emotionally damaged, like myself, and time after time focused on their problems instead of my own. These people latched on to me like remora fish do to sharks and whales, more than eager to take up the scraps from my conquests, and to drain me in the process.
Instead of becoming the savior I’d imagined since childhood, I was slowly eating away at my confidence and resilience by constantly focusing on the problems and not the solutions. I found comfort by associating with people who were as emotionally damaged as I was. I resisted offers of help because I still saw myself as a knight in shining armor, not a victim.
But eventually the stress and conflict eventually won the battle as I burned out and had a nervous breakdown, so severe that it forced me to quit practicing law.
Since I couldn’t be a knight through the corridors of justice, I changed my focus to being an energy healer, like Merlin. I traveled the world healing people with the healing techniques learned from masters all over the world. A part of me relished the idea of healing serious illnesses for people, though I later realized it was the same desire to save the world that had led me down the road to burnout as a lawyer.
Even though I was very successful as a healer, there still seemed to be something missing in my life; a hole that I couldn’t fill, no matter what I tried. I had to become a master coach, hypnotherapist, and mentor to discover what was missing. What was missing was me. I had spent so much time playing a role, whether it was a knight or a wizard, that I really had not focused on my inner self, the core of who I am.
In obtaining my multiple master certifications, I was required to go through numerous self-realization processes and let go of tons of toxic programs I had created throughout my early traumatic life and my adult life of trying to please others. It was time consuming and cathartic. On the first step of this quest when I’d just hit the wild benchmark of 50 years old, I asked myself “whose life is this anyway?”
After three years of intense introspection, my life transformed, and I gained a clear understanding of who I am. Both of my parents have passed on, and that was instrumental in taking control of my life. For so many years I had struggled (mostly unsuccessfully) to meet their expectations of me and to keep up with the proverbial Joneses ~ with the best cars, the most cases won, the most money in the bank. But that drive was what knocked me out of the Game of Life completely for a while, and the long road back to myself was both expensive and arduous. Now that I have found the path to my own happiness and fulfillment, I stay on it by doing what I love to be doing with people I love being with. I’m also content with being alone in a way that I never was before.
I like to think that I am living out that boyhood dream of helping others and being a knight and an alchemist. As a lawyer, despite not taking good care of myself, I did succeed at defending and bringing victory to many clients. Since then my decades of healing others, and myself, has filled me with the energy of magic that I hadn’t imagined since those early years of fantasy based reading. And to bring my life full circle, I was recently honored by being inducted into The Royal Order of Constantine the Great and St. Helen. I am now a real knight in an organization that has existed since 312ACE. It is an outstanding honor.
Do you remember any of your childhood dreams, even the ones that seemed most farfetched? To understand the arc of my story, I realized that what I needed to focus on was how those boyhood dreams felt. In my young mind, I fervently wanted to be a hero, a knight in shining armor, but as I grew older, I lost sight of why I wanted it, and what I wanted to feel like. I had a fantastic career in law, but it didn’t feed my soul as it wasn’t what I truly wanted to do. My real rewards came later, when I let go of the demons that haunted my mind and started healing people without involving conflict. I’m a walking example that you can actualize your dreams if you know yourself and listen deeply to the calling of your soul. I will always uphold ideals of integrity and honor, and now I have a sword and cape to go with them.
If you want to learn more about how you can achieve your dreams using your imagination and the power of your thoughts, I highly encourage you to read the blog post The Power of Imaginary Memories and One Thought Can Save or Ruin Your Day; Choose Wisely.