Last week one of my daughters told me she was going to see the new Wonder Woman movie. I love super heroes. I use them often in my coaching as a way for clients to connect with their most powerful selves, the part of themselves that is courageous, wise, strong, compassionate, and knows that whatever happens, they are enough. Even when they make mistakes. I have a fabulous Wonder Woman tin art piece above my desk and regularly call one of my colleagues by her super hero name, Mrs. Shazam. I recommend that people visualize and name their Best Selves so they can get out of their thinking minds and viscerally access a feeling of empowerment. Think of it as an instant shot of Awesome, available whenever needed.
All this super hero brain hubbub reminded me of the beautiful words my brother Rocky said at my sister’s funeral almost 6 years ago. She died at the young age of 35, and each of us five siblings shared some thoughts at her memorial service. Here’s what Rocky said:
Growing up as one of 6 children in the Weinstock family, I felt extremely fortunate.
It’s not surprising that I never felt ...alone, but even more than that, I felt that the six of us almost represented a "team.”
Perhaps one "super" being - with the strengths and abilities each of us could contribute to the group.
My sister Cyn represented our family values and our compassion.
Jen, our wackiness and our sense of humor–our social side.
Dan was our logic, our cynical protector from an opportunistic world.
And Rachel, our grounded brilliance.
On Monday night with Emily’s passing....My "team"...... My super-being... My identity... lost a very valuable aspect of its...personality.
We lost our certainty of cause,…our rock solid belief in what was right and what was wrong. Emily was the part of us who always spoke for those who had no one to speak for themselves.
She always championed the disadvantaged, the wronged, those whose voices were drowned out by voices more powerful and privileged.
I admit in some ways I've felt content knowing that as long as Emily was around to champion all causes, that it wasn’t as important for me: Our "team" had it taken care of.
But now we are not as strong as we were last week. Our team is not whole. Our "being" not as super.
We will never be the same, a part of my identity has been taken from me.
And I know that to honor her memory, and to try to keep my "team" as strong is can be,..
We must strive to always be on the lookout for those who need a voice, to make people aware of the plights of the underprivileged. As Emily always did.
We will miss her dearly.
Every time I read those words, I am deeply touched. I also ask myself why Rocky didn’t mention what he represented on our team. Rocky is many things: an engineer, an artist, a teacher, a computer animator, a businessman, a father, a creator and player of games, a writer, a husband, a brother, a son, an illustrator. Side note: he’s also hilarious and even a bit demented at times. Most of all, I see him as an incredibly creative, sensitive and kind human being. One who is always willing to look on the bright side and consider the perspectives and feelings of others. Perhaps he is our Empath.
His tribute to Emily also got me thinking about this idea of a personal super hero team. One that can be comprised of real people in our lives, but also one of internal resources that can be accessed whenever we need them. It’s important, of course, to have real people on whom we can rely for advice, companionship, mentoring and friendship. There are many names for this group: your tribe, peeps, crew, personal board of directors, mastermind group, super hero team. The great news is that we can each tap into our internal team as well. You know, for times when someone's decided to silence their cell phone or has passed on to a new existence. As Rocky stated, now that Emily is physically gone, we still have access to all that she stood for and can tap into it at any time.
So who’s on your team? What parts of yourself are somewhere in there and maybe too timid to come out? Who in your present or past represents that strength, creativity, sense of humor, or plight? And lastly, how can you remember that they’re there? I found these old pics I had taken of Emily and Rocky in a photo album this morning to remind myself of my super hero siblings. Clearly these kids are on the same team!