Mental Health Monday: Becoming a Generative Hero

ow_facebook_cover1This time last year I wrote an end of year 2013 post: “The Semantics of New Year’s Resolutions.”  Shortly after that post I decided to choose my “One Word” for 2014: mindfulness. Of the 9 people from all over the world who chose mindfulness (and registered it at the site) three of us are from Tennessee. Not sure what that says, but I thought it was interesting. Looking back on 2014, I realize that I completely forgot about mindfulness much of the time. But the days I did remember it were times of peace and inner growth, whether I was applying mindfulness to eating, to relationships with others, or to spiritual things.

Karissa Sorrell introduced me to #oneword365 in her post one year ago today: “The Year of Presence.”  Her One Word for 2014 was “present.” I’m anxious to see what she writes about this week as we enter 2015.

Joseph-and-Jesus-IMG_0999-adjusted-small-detailI’m choosing “generative” as my One Word for 2015. One source gives this definition for generative:

having the power or function of generating, originating, producing, or reproducing

I wasn’t able to reproduce (hence all the wonderful adopted kids!) but I can generate. I love this detail from a fresco at St. Benedict’s Abbey in Atchison, Kansas, showing Joseph teaching Jesus carpentry. The abbey calls itself a “generative community.”

Originally I heard the term in Ricahrd Rohr’s wonderful book, Falling Upward: A Spirituality for the Two Halves of Life. Generative is a characteristic of a hero—the level I’m aspiring to in this second half of my life. As Rohr says:

The hero’s journey is always an experience of an excess of life, a surplus of energy, with plenty left over for others. The hero or heroine has found eros or life energy, and it is more than enough to undo thanatos the energy of death. If it is an authentic life energy, it is always experienced as a surplus of an abundance of life. The hero or heroine is by definition a “generative” person to use Erik Erikson’s fine term, concerned about the next generation and not just himself or herself. The hero lives in deep time and not just in his or her own small time. In fact, I would wonder if you could be a hero or heroine if you did not live in what many call deep time—that is, past, present and future all at once.

Deep time. I like that. So I guess if I’ve got a New Year’s resolution it’s to live in deep time. And to become a generative hero.

Anna BaymaxMy number two granddaughter, Anna Susan, loved the movie, “Big Hero 6,” and especially loves Baymax, the helpful robot character. Here’s a short video showing Hiro meeting Baymax for the first time. I like him, too. He gets his generative power from water, a life source I need to make better use of myself. (So I guess one of my New Year’s resolutions might be to drink more water.) Baymax was created to be a healthcare companion. Co-director Don Hall said:

Baymax views the world from one perspective—he just wants to help people.

baymax-4x4-hugThat’s what a generative hero does, right? Here’s to Anna Susan, Baymax, Richard Rohr, and living in deep time in 2015.

 

4 comments


  • Thank you for sharing your 2015 word and the rich reasoning behind your choice. I look forward to hearing about how you incorporate and recognize generativity in your life in the deep time of the coming year.

    December 30, 2014
    • Thanks, Joanne.

      December 30, 2014
  • Melody Breyer-Grell

    Great article, that is just the type of thing I needed today:)

    December 30, 2014
  • Robin Moody

    2015 CAN

    January 14, 2015

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