Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Strengths, Weaknesses, and Superheroes

Some time back, I was watching the movie Iron Man with my then-fiance, Kathy, and her youngest son, Taylor. It is the story of a industrial tycoon/genius (it's based on a Marvel comic, after all) who suffers a severe heart injury at the hands of bad-guy kidnappers who want him to make a super weapon for them. During his captivity, however, he is actually designing a special superhero suit and a crude power supply from a car battery for his heart. Later, that power supply would become a reactor that will unleash incredible power.

When we discussed the movie later, Taylor made an interesting, and I think, very astute observation. "Iron Man's greatest weakness was his heart, but it was also his greatest strength." I began to play with this notion for a while afterward. Sure enough, if you look at heroes in stories throughout history - from Beowulf to Star Wars - you will find that for many of them, their greatest weakness is the source of their power.

Perhaps we can learn something from this model regarding our own wounds. When we approach our ancient wounds with openness, love, and compassion, we can gain a great deal of inner strength and wisdom. The wound always contains within it the power to heal itself. All we need to do is turn toward the wound, sit with it for a while, and it will tell us all we need to know about how to heal it. This can be an empowering experience.


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