Sianna Sherman, International Teacher + Columnist
In the Hero’s Journey, the hero leaves the ordinary world and accepts the call to adventure. The hero is asked to cross a new threshold from the known into the unknown. This crossing comes with a mix of excitement, resistance, curiosity, reluctance, courage and fear. The hero will have to face demons, obstacles, challenges and even death itself. Inevitably, the hero must enter the cave they most fear to know their true power. What happens at the threshold of the cave is a defining moment in the journey. “The cave you fear to enter holds the treasure you seek.”—attributed to Joseph Campbell We all cross multiple thresholds in life. They build our character, initiate us and shape our soul. As I approach the threshold called 50, I look back to the past five decades with utter astonishment of all that has transpired: relationships, heartbreaks, marriage, divorce, rebel years, illnesses, healing, gypsy travels, communities born and torn apart, lessons learned and spirit strengthened.
I yearned to have a child, but this didn’t come to be from my own womb. Yet I am now in a loving relationship with a magnificent man who has a seven-year-old son. I stand at this new threshold in both awe and terror, sometimes shaking with insecurity and doubt about my new role. I ask myself: What is this insecurity really about? I can see my fear of possible rejection. As I turn to face my fear, I’m discovering a whole new evolution of me. I’m playing with Legos, building dragons and learning about the Masters of Spinjitzu! In mythology, we often see dragons as the fierce guardians of hidden treasure within the cave. We’ve been seduced into thinking that we must slay the dragon in order to be the hero. But the truth is that we must learn the dragon’s name and become the friend rather than the enemy.
At first glance, the dragon can be the pain, fear and shadow we don’t want to see or face within ourselves. However, the more we reach into our heart of courage, the more we see the dragon is the guardian of secret treasure and the power of real change. The greatest heroes and heroines don’t slay their demons, but rather learn to transform them from enemy to ally, foe to friend and poison into nectar. Our quest is to call home the exiled, marginalized and polarized parts of our own self and embrace the whole of our journey. By turning towards our shadow, we tend to our wounds, untie the knots and free up restricted energy. After three decades of dedicated yoga practice, my understanding of an “advanced yogi” is one who can keep their heart open in the midst of conflict, turn towards their pain with genuine compassion and cultivate real emotional intimacy. As I cross the threshold into the age of the quinquagenarians, it feels like a new horizon of unimaginable possibilities. I look forward to flying with my dragons for the next 50 years!
Sianna Sherman is a passionate storyteller, yogini and priestess in love with the earth, humanity and All Beings. She is the visionary of Rasa Yoga, founder of Mythic Yoga Flow, cofounder of Urban Priestess and co-weaver of Alchemy of Love with her Beloved, Masood Ali Khan.