Seven Steps to Slay the Dragons of Life


Seven Steps to Slay the Dragons of Life

One day

The hero/ine


Unable to take another step

David Whyte poet

What is happening in this verse?

It appears that whatever it is, it is big and it is blocking the path forward. Some liken it to meeting a fierce, fiery dragon. Initially, paralysis is a typical, involuntary reaction. We cannot believe we are facing ‘this’. The situation has us frozen, secretly praying for it to be just a bad dream. This moment brings feelings much like we could expect a fledgling bird might experience when the parent pushes it out of the nest. No practice flying, no instruction sheet, no time to change the parent’s mind. What’s this! Yikes!

Examples of such life events include:

Being abandoned/betrayed
Death of a loved one
Retirement, succession
Having a heart attack
Learning that I have hurt others
Realizing that not everyone likes me


There are so many more ordinary life events that are happening all around us, all of the time. And yet, this one, the event you or I are now experiencing, has us frozen, not knowing what to do, probably as scared as we could be. Probably scared enough on the inside that we do every kind of thing not to show it on the outside.

                                                        Unable to take another step

I have personally experienced a few events like these in my own life. Once I got to the other side, I felt gratitude and can now readily explain the benefits that arose because of the experience. Initially? No! Soon enough though, thank you and yes!

What to do if you are facing a dragon like event?

  1. First is to realize that this is not actually the end of the world. It just feels that way and that that is a completely valid feeling.
  2. Second is to pause, to breathe and especially to exhale deliberately
  3. Smiling is really helpful too. Not to diminish the event, but to recognize that it is not a fiery dragon but rather a normal, though major, life event.
  4. Wait for a while, maybe a day, maybe two, and then find the courage to tell another person
  5. Grieve the loss of what has passed and can never come back in the same way again, never. Holding on will only hurt. Find a way to let it go
  6. Find someone who has experienced a similar event and, or who has helped others to gracefully navigate similar events on to the next steps of life. Let them help you
  7. Begin to trust yourself again. You have accomplished so much. Let this just be one more graceful win for you. Allow the possibility that this will eventually be easy for you. You are not broken or bad or insufficient or anything but simply a human being having a human experience, though a big and scary one

The fledgling does indeed learn to fly. So too, you will soon enough move to the next phase of your amazing life.

Joseph Seiler MCC