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I heard a snippet from an interview the other day with Guy Ritchie—yes, filmmaker and Madonna’s ex-hubby, Guy Ritchie. In it, he artfully and articulately referred to the story of King Arthur retrieving the sword from the stone. Though I only heard about thirty seconds of the interview, he spoke of it as an allegory for the reclamation of self after Arthur had gone off in search of something different, something better into the false but solid-looking material world. He likened it to a journey to find autonomy. Something that we all, as children and young adults, crave–something for which we undergo a lengthy quest.

It made me think immediately back to my own epic adventure out into the world beyond my childhood home, my nuclear family. Beyond the nuclear disaster that our family had endured, and its fallout. The eagerness I had had to venture out on my own. The total unpreparedness, even with the full-blown preparation that I had excitedly started at age eleven.

I thought back to accepting the challenges of the military, learning eventually that life’s obstacle course was far more intense, profoundly more violent and, conversely, profoundly more joy-filled and infinitely more transformative. I thought back to accepting the physical gauntlet of NCAA division I athletics. And how the more difficult sport ended up being finding, cultivating, and training additional identities for my mind/body/spirit other than that of an athlete. I thought back to accepting the academic tests of secondary education. And finding that even my time on the dean’s list at the University of Notre Dame, held not a candle to the tertiary—make that doctoral—education that I received while writing my first book, Deep Dark Blue.

Pulling the ‘sword from the stone’ is akin to us taking back our own divinity, our higher self, the self that is one with all people, all things. Reclaiming our own sense of self from the false but solid-looking aspect of the material world. That space in which we look to others to validate our worth, use only the external; clothing, toys, cars, our image—to define solely who and how we are. We all come upon a stone at some point in our life. We all come upon a situation, or a simple readiness to reveal the true us in the midst of all of our doubts and insecurities, peer pressure and societal expectation. Try to remember when you are standing in front of that stone—be it a boulder or a pebble—that we are all Kings and Queens. We are all royalty within. Grip that strong, beautiful, intricate sword, and take back your power, for we all come from noble birth.

And it is our right to be exactly who we wish to be.