amy@amymadson.org

When is the last time you let your heroes guide you? Now that you are an adult with responsibilities and deadlines, are you still allowing yourself to be inspired by heroes?

Growing up, my heroes were a big part of my life. I ate my meat and vegetables because I wanted to be big and strong like Rainbow Brite. In my later childhood I was a pretty serious figure skater, and I let older kids on the figure skating team inspire me to land new jumps, lose gracefully, and strive to do my best on and off the ice.

As I get older, it is harder for me to let heroes inspire me. Practicalities, cynicism, and responsibilities can take up so much time that it is hard to for me to spend time thinking about my heroes and heroines. Also, it is hard for me to list heroines who parent, work, and have practical responsibilities. At the same time, I see how the Ninja Turtles, Disney Princesses, and other characters inspire my children to imagine, connect with their own power, and dream big about their lives.

Even though my heroes have grown a little more distant in my adult life, I do value taking time to let them inspire me. It is hard to set aside time to be inspired, and it takes more intentionality for me to connect with heroes who seemingly have little in common with my everyday life.

Reflecting more upon my childhood, I realize that Rainbow Brite had very little in common with my lived reality as a child. She lived in an imaginary world, had no parents, and was charged with a very large mission: bring color to a world that had none.

Thinking even more about Rainbow Brite, I realize that she could still be my inspiration. As a therapist, I strive to help my clients find color and their own calling when their worlds seem dark and gray. Rainbow Brite could still be my hero. With a little intentionality, our childhood heroes could still inspire and guide us.

Another place to look for heroes for people of all ages is in mythology. Artemis, goddess of the hunt, for example, is a great heroine for me. She is an advocate for fellow women, thrives when she has freedom and time in nature, and allows herself to be a fierce competitor. As I balance motherhood with my career, I look toward her to help me cultivate the part of me that can get lost in my daily tasks of motherhood. At the same time, I call upon Hestia, goddess of home and hearth, to help me cultivate the part of me that enjoys creating a warm, cozy, and inviting home. When I allow these two goddesses to inspire me, I find that I can call upon inspiration to live a balanced and purposeful life.

So now I invite you to consider your heroes. Who were your heroes in childhood and what did they stand for? Who are your heroes in adulthood? How do you intentionally seek heroes who can inspire you in your current life, and how do they inspire you to live to your full potential?

Amy Madson is a licensed marriage and family therapist and a board-certified music therapist. She has a private practice in St. Louis Park, MN and particularly enjoys working with creative girls and women on issues around identity, mothering, work-life balance, and self-esteem.