I was in the middle of a craft project when she called.
“Athena?” I asked, when I heard her voice.
“You were expecting someone else?” She sounded a bit snippy.
“It’s just… this is unexpected,” I explained. “I thought I had to call you.”
“Is that how you think our relationship works?” she asked. I could not tell if this was a rhetorical question. In any case, I was being rude… apparently.
“I thought I needed… I don’t know… stuff, to get in contact with you. That I had to do… things…” I finished, lamely.
“You have.” she pointed out, as if this should be obvious to me. “You are in the perfect zone for this conversation.”
“But… I wasn’t doing anything. I was just sitting here working on…” I looked down at the weaving this conversation had interrupted. “… nothing important. I just thought I needed to initiate the discussion.”
“Our relationship is not one-way,” she explained, sounding – if anything – more annoyed. “When I want to speak with you, I will. When you need something from me, I expect you will ask. When I need something from you, I will do the same.”
I got the clear impression that she was accustomed to people only listening to her when they wanted something, and was determined not to be one of ‘those’ people. “What can I do?” I asked simply.
“Good,” Athena responded, as if that settled things. “I want you to know that things have reached a turning point. This is a transition. And transitions require heroes. I want you to tell people that.”
I nod, although this is for my benefit, and not hers. “I think everyone knows that by now,” I respond, as if she wants my input.
Directions from the Goddess Athena
“No,” she corrected. “Everyone does not. They might know things are hard, and going to get harder, but they do not understand just how much change is about to occur. They are not looking that far ahead.”
“Some of them are,” I point out.
“Not enough,” she replied, decisively. “This is a time that requires heroes. And a lot of them. To have heroes people need to be willing to acknowledge what is heroic. They need to be willing to be the hero when they find themselves in the position of being able to do the right thing. And they must honor those who do so – especially when facing a challenge requires sacrifice.”
“That is happening now,” I argue.
“Not enough,” she snaps back. “Too many people are waiting for someone else to provide the answers or actions they must come up with themselves. Too many are waiting for others to act. There are those who would be heroes, who have been discouraged. Discouraged from acting, because there are people who wish to gain an advantage over others as a result of the current crisis. This must stop.”
“Now you have lost me,” I admit.
Act for the Greater Good
“When you place the common good, and saving lives, in the hands of those who wish to profit by providing the answer, the solution will not be beneficial for the people who need it most. When true heroes are replaced by people pretending to be heroes, who give nothing without a steep price, what you have is the opposite of a ‘hero’,” she clarified.
“So,” I ask slowly, “what defines a ‘hero’?”
“Someone who is willing to do the right thing, even if it costs them what they most value,” she responded promptly.
“What if what they trying to do doesn’t work?” I asked, thinking about how results-oriented most things are.
“That does not make them any less a hero,” she responds. “It is the willingness to express good. Even if one hero falls, it inspires others and keeps the flame of what is good alive. People have forgotten this. Or else you would not be asking this question.”
I stop myself from rolling my eyes at the idea that somehow I am representative of ‘people’ in general, although I am uncertain she would notice, as this is not a face-to-face conversation. “Alright. I’ll figure out how to let people know, but I doubt anyone wants to listen to me.”
“And now you have just demonstrated the very attitude which defeats my ability to create a hero,” she replied. “You have affirmed the negative,
and you have not even taken the first step.”
“Very well,” I agree, deciding to be sanguine about this. “I’ll tell people to acknowledge their heroes, and to nurture their inner heroic tendencies.” I am not sure that was what she was saying, but it sounded good. “Is there any particular way they should do that?” It seemed to me that this was something people were doing already.
Focus on the Heart
“Tell them to stop deciding everything with their head, and start prioritizing with their heart,” she added. “The mind can tell you how to do something. But the heart gives you discernment… wisdom. If you want that wisdom you must quiet your mind. You must not let it distract you. You must allow yourself to feel – be brave enough to face your emotions. Without that, you will never be able to find truth. It does not come from the mind – but from the heart.”
“So, logic and critical thinking-?” she cuts me off before I can go there.
“Tells you how to think, but cannot prioritize. Only the heart can do that.”
I am getting lost again. “So…” I want to get this right and I can get back to what I was doing, “acknowledge heroes-”
“Assist them,” she clarifies once more. “Help those who are doing good. Even if it is not comfortable to do so.”
“Okay,” I agreed. This seemed fairly straightforward.
When it was obvious that I was still listening, she added, “Tell them. Tell them now. Because this cannot wait.
“I will,” I promised. And when it was apparent she had disconnected, I went back to my weaving.
For more thoughts on being a hero, this seemed like a beneficial website. Thank you to Fireheart for their contribution to our ever expanding site!