Much Love Monday

I don't know if you've seen the stamps below, but the set of three stamps is the Purple Heart stamp, put out to honour army veterans. Curiously, the heart was not that visible in the photo, hence the heart shape I added to the photo, to make it fit for Much Love Monday.
The purple heart brings to my mind the essence of the ancient epics: gallantry, heroism and fidelity in times of great hardship. And that is the foundation of the epic: the extreme. It is said that you can't know a man until you've shared a sack of salt with him, but how much strength of character is needed to pass through the roughest of times not only unharmed, but having lent a hand to one's fellow man. It just goes to show that the truest of colours don't come out in the wash.
In recent days, I have been trying to figure out the connection between epic poetry and the modern mind set. Themes such as freedom, loyalty to one's country (or city), love are still extant.
While we don't generally live in epic situations, fragments of the epic are always around us. Yesterday, as a friend was talking about a person acting out of fear, he quoted part of an epic, which I will paraphrase: on hearing that his enemy would pursue him, the character fled immediately out of fear in front of witnesses, so it was that his enemy's spear pierced through the walls of his family home. 
It is the great stories that can remind us of how to behave in the littler moments. After all, each day we are writing a chapter in our own books. And as most of us are, thankfully, not at war, we have the luxury of developing our spiritual tools at leisure - some of which have been popularised by people like Miguel Ruiz, who tells his readers to become spiritual warriors. "It is a war because you are changing the old fear based on beliefs in your mind. There will be some battles lost along the way, but that is of minor concern in the longer term strategy of creating happiness in your life."
For better or for worse, I call such writers "American" for stating such matters as simply as possible, and also for addressing such problems without beating around the bush. I like that approach. Also, you can see again the themes of the epic: the battle, freedom (from fear), love...
May we take this time today to think of something that we have improved in ourselves, something could give ourselves a medal for. I am writing this not to add to the ersatz of post-1980's self-confidence inflation, but because there are times I need a reminder of the bigger picture of my life. We remember Hannibal as a great commander - but his tactics were not always flawless. It is the overall picture we are striving to improve, and it helps no one to become petty even in our own assessment of self.
So may we identify our medal, and wear it in our heart, and move forwards gracefully in our lives, beginning from where we really are. What is your medal for, what are your virtues? What are your dreams in terms of self improvement?

Elements: background photo overlay, 
washi tape, doily: pugly pixel.