Jamesn, thank you for those insights and stories. I found them meaningful as they brought me joy.
Shaheda, I really resonated with your question – “Could you have held your mentor in the back of your brain, lived and followed their ways, with a very foggy sense of why you do what you do?”
I believe we absolutely can hold mentors in this way. This foggy sense of why we do what we do, in my opinion, speaks to the involvement of the unconscious. Some of the strongest convictions and experiences I’ve had began as and remain foggy in their origin.
I was delighted with the story of your uncle. He sounds like he was such an interesting man. I was also moved by the ritual you’ve practiced with your uncle’s tin box. Like you, I also keep momentos of the mentors that have influenced me.
You both mention the role that Campbell has played in your life, providing mentorship, even across time, space, and the here after. I am reminded of one of the most powerful lessons Campbell offered to me, as a mentor I never met in person. While he mentions the idea elsewhere, there is a wonderful interview that he gave to Parabola Magazine (Vol. 7 No. 1) where he talks about a number of different cultures where Shamans, Medicine Men, and other formal mentors are working with seekers and initiates. He mentions two key lessons these mentors embody for those individuals. The first involved learning to rest well. The second involved waking up. The balance of these two essential functions has become part of my daily, weekly, and yearly mindful practice. Resting well has never been more important in our fast moving culture. However, waking up (a motif that consistently appears throughout myth and fairytale) is life changing. In many ways, Campbell was responsible for my “waking up” but I’ve never forgotten that part of his “mentorship” was also to “rest well.” Are there lessons that have become essential to your life practice that originated with Campbell’s “mentorship”?