“The cave you fear to enter holds the treasure you seek.” ~ Joseph Campbell
Sometime during my son’s junior year in high school, I came across a book on the top innovative colleges in America (with apologies, I’ve forgotten the title of the book). I was drawn in immediately as I read through the various programs, as well as their philosophical approaches to teaching and the educational experience.
One school in particular, Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington, seemed to be a perfect fit for my son.
He and I spoke about the school, its compelling offerings, and gorgeous setting. Everything about the place was an electric shock of knowingness and seemed oddly familiar.
He applied and was accepted. The challenge was that it was almost 3,000 miles away.
When it came time to decide, he chose to go to a school that was closer to home. And while he made some great friends and enjoyed his experience, it simply was not a fit.
One night I rolled over in bed and knocked my phone off my bedside table. I reached down to pick it up and somehow a video of a lecture opened and began playing. In the few seconds it took for me to retrieve my phone from the floor, the gentleman in the video completely captured my attention.
His subject matter? The power of mushrooms to save the planet.
My son has a fascination with how mushrooms can restore our ecosystems and transform our world, so I immediately thought of him and knew the lecture would be of interest. I sent him a quick note and a link.
He wrote back that he knew of the man in the video, Paul Stamets, and had studied his research. Intrigued, I looked him up online and discovered the gentleman was an alumni of Evergreen and that his renowned firm was located in the Olympia area.
Over the next several months, there were more “boomerang messages” delivered to my son (synchronicities and strange coincidences) nudging him to take another look at Evergreen. Each time, he’d wave those messages away. Each time, they’d return like curious fireflies buzzing around his head.
I’d come to discover that some of my own personal heroes and heroines (artists, creators, and entrepreneurs) are alumni of the school as well, and that a world-renowned researcher, author, and educator (whom I credit with transforming my life in spectacular fashion) is not only an alumni, but is also based in the Olympia area.
Finally, when he could no longer ignore the boomerang messages (nor his desire and curiosity), my son did what Joseph Campbell describes as “answering The Call to Adventure.” He reapplied and was accepted once more.
We leave today.
I am willing to bet that there is a “crazy-ass notion” living inside of you. Something that has at times burned so bright within that you have felt as if you’d spontaneously combust. You may have waved it off, over and over, and yet, it keeps coming back.
Maybe it is not practical.
Maybe it is scary as hell.
Maybe you’d have to change your entire life.
Maybe people you love are telling you it’s too weird or too risky.
The Call to Adventure is relentless in pursuing you.
Doesn’t that make your heart skip a beat with excitement (even amongst the fear and naysaying from well-intentioned loved ones)?
That crazy-ass notion ain’t so crazy. It is the raw material of your own personal cave, housing the twists and turns in the darkness of your becoming the person you are destined to become.
Set a place for those boomerang messages at your table. Invite them in and have a good chat. What messages do they have for you and only you?