“It is only when we learn to evaluate ourselves in terms of our own inner values that we can exist in a positive emotional state, aware of the continual opportunities for growth and for feelings of satisfaction.” Dickerman (pg. 138)
Following Your Path by Alexandra Collins Dickerman has quickly become one of my favorite books. It’s funny because it sat on my bookshelf for eons, which is my dramatic way of saying “at least a year”… “possibly more”… “a long time in Sheryl years”… which is to say: Too long. How I wish I’d cracked it open long before I did. But again, you know me! I believe everything happens for a reason! So, perhaps (no “perhaps” about it) I was meant to read it when I did.
Oddly enough, my right (writing) hand was in a big bandage after my surgery, which you can read all about here if you should desire. Go ahead, I’ll wait. Or perhaps you think this all sounds vaguely familiar? That’s because I did a brief mention of the book here. Super brief…
So, there I sat in my bed, my hand curled in a perpetual curve that somehow was just the right way to hold a pen without pain. This was important because this is a workbook with lots of fun exercises based on myth, symbols, and images… and your (my) imagination.
Totally cool… and I HAD to dive in! Right? Bandaged hand be damned! LOL
The thing is, I had been depressed, as you know, and worried about being unemployed and having surgery and wondering how it would all work out, which of COURSE it always does! God, I’m a slow learner! God was on my side, as always. But I digress.
While I was reading and doing the exercises, I told my mom about it. She thought it sounded familiar – my mom and I are so in sync about books like this – and whaddya know? She had it in her collection. I was so excited by it she pulled it out and worked on it, too, although to be fair, she’d done most of it 20+ years ago when it originally came out. It was I who was late to the party!
It begins with The Mythic Journey (based on the work of Joseph Campbell): Birth, Initiation, Withdrawl, Quest, Into the Realms of Death, Confrontation with the Devil, Rebirth, and Transformation.
“Each section begins with a picture and brief description of where you are as you travel symbolically along the eight stages of the hero’s mythic journey.” <<– That’s a quote right out of the Introduction.
In each section, there is also a meditation, affirmation, visualization, Tarot card and description of its significance… and you use your intuition to answer questions and then progress onward to interpreting what you’ve learned.
And, there’s art… drawings, mostly… like 250 of them… and you add to them! Yep, there’s drawing!
One of my favorites was when I drew the flag of “My” country. Let’s see if I can explain:
It has a square in the left-hand corner and stripes on the right like the American flag. In the white square, there is a red maple leaf. There is red and white stripes with blue stars in every other (white) row. Red is for passion, white for purity and blue for loyalty. My country motto: Two Countries, One Heart.
The book is so full of exceptional exercises like this! I had such a great time working on it and couldn’t wait to open it each morning!
I really could go on and on (and on)! Instead, I’ll tell you that this is a keeper… and so much fun!