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12 Labors Part 1

Hercules-Bronze-Side_IMG_3621-e1281541279563It’s well known that Hercules had 12 Labors.

The twelve labors of Hercules are a series of episodes concerning a penance carried out by Heracles. Driven mad by Hera (queen of the gods), Hercules slew his son, daughter, and wife Megara. After recovering his sanity, Hercules deeply regretted his actions; he was purified by King Thespius, then traveled to Delphi to inquire how he could atone for his actions. Pythia, the Oracle of Delphi, advised him to go to Tiryns and serve his cousin King Eurystheus for twelve years, performing whatever labors Eurystheus might set him; in return, he would be rewarded with immortality. Hercules despaired at this, loathing to serve a man whom he knew to be far inferior to himself, yet fearing to oppose his father Zeus. Eventually, he placed himself at Eurystheus’s disposal.

* Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Labours_of_Hercules
The 9th labor was The Belt of Hippolyte.

For the ninth labor, Eurystheus ordered Hercules to bring him the belt of Hippolyte [Hip-POLLY-tee]. This was no ordinary belt and no ordinary warrior. Hippolyte was queen, of the Amazons, a tribe of women warriors that lived apart from men.

Queen Hippolyte had a special piece of armor. It was a leather belt that had been given to her by Ares, the war god because she was the best warrior of all the Amazons. She wore this belt across her chest and used it to carry her sword and spear. Eurystheus wanted Hippolyte’s belt as a present to give to his daughter, and he sent Hercules to bring it back.

After a long journey, Hercules and the Greeks reached the land of the Amazons and put in at the harbor. When they got off the boat, Hippolyte came down to visit them.

She asked Hercules why he had come, and when he told her, she promised to give him the belt. But the goddess Hera knew that the arrival of Hercules meant nothing but trouble for the Amazons. Disguised as an Amazon warrior, Hera went up and down the army saying to each woman that the strangers who had arrived were going to carry off the queen. So the Amazons put on their armor. The women warriors charged on horseback down to the ship. But when Hercules saw that they were wearing their armor and were carrying their weapons, he knew that he was under attack. Thinking fast, he drew his sword and killed Hippolyte.

Then he undid her belt and took it. Hercules and the Greeks fought the rest of the Amazons in a great battle.

Hercules then sailed away. He returned to Mycenae, and he gave the belt to Eurystheus.

* Source: http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/Herakles/amazon.html

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The Amazons tell the story a different way . . .

Hippolyte and the Amazons once resided in “Amazonia” in the days of ancient Greece, until they were beguiled and bested by the demi-god Hercules, who had been inspired by the God of War Ares, to go after her. She was able to beat him thanks to the magic girdle, but he seduced her and tricked her into removing the girdle, allowing him to steal it. This caused the Amazons to lose their super strength and the favor of their patron goddess, Aphrodite. Eventually, she and the other Amazons were forgiven but had to wear bracelets to remind them of the folly of submitting to men. To regain their status, the Amazons were decreed to leave the mortal world and relocate to Paradise Island (Themyscira). There they established their own society, free from the evils of man’s world. So long as they remained there and Hippolyte retained possession of her magic girdle, the Amazons would be immortal. Much of this history was adapted, varied, and expanded upon in the modern version of the Wonder Woman comics.

For the most part, Hippolyte remained on Paradise Island during the Golden Age era, rarely interacting with the modern world to which her daughter had journeyed. Her role was that of the Amazon Queen and mentor to Wonder Woman. She was devoted to the Olympian goddesses, particularly the Amazons’ patron Aphrodite, and was adamant that man never be allowed to set foot on Paradise Island. Although she remained mainly on the island, in one story from Sensation Comics #26 (reprinted in Wonder Woman: The Complete History), Hippolyte travels to Man’s World and briefly assumes the role of Wonder Woman. In the first appearance of Villany inc she is kidnapped to lure Wonder Woman into a trap.

* Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hippolyta_(DC_Comics)

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Little do people know that Amazonian Princess Wonder Woman assigned herself 12 Labors.

Wonder Woman: The Twelve Labors is a series of Wonder Woman stories directly after her powerless days with I Ching during the Bronze Age. After becoming aware that her mother has removed her unpleasant memories of Steve Trevor’s death and her loss of powers, Wonder Woman is insecure as to whether she should rejoin the Justice League of America. She calls for them to monitor her next missions, to see if her memory loss had any effect on her ability to fight crime. On each mission, she is closely watched by another member of the League, who do not interfere. The labors are successful, and in the end, she is unanimously allowed to rejoin the League.

Source: http://dc.wikia.com/wiki/Wonder_Woman:_The_Twelve_Labors

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12Labors1 2

In the spirit of Wonder Woman, my inner Superhero, and self-growth, I have assigned myself 12 Labors. Starting August 1st, 2017, my goal is to have them all completed before suiting up as Wonder Woman for Emerald City Comicon March 1, 2018. I personalized each labor to challenge myself and be personal growth inducing. Feats that will be physically, spiritually, mentally challenging as well as tasks that will purposefully take me out of my comfort zone.

Some challenges will be multifaceted, meaning they’ll have more than one component. Some will be ongoing and some will be goal & results orientated. Some trials will be hard to quantify, so I guess we’ll just be on the honor system.

These aren’t universal challenges that most people would find hard, they are tasks designed to challenge me personally. For example, you may be a runner, and so a suitable challenge for you may be to run a marathon. I am not a runner. I’ve got 20 + years of ballet mileage on my knees and hips. So while drinking 64 oz. of water every day may not be a challenge for you, it is for me! I welcome you to join me and develop your own 12 Labors and channel your own Superhero or Badass.

My 12 Labors

1 Compassion & Understanding
Make up and personally deliver 5 Blessing Bags for the less fortunate.

2 Practice, Discipline & Patience
Archery, on going practice, once a week

3 Meditation
On going, 15 minutes, twice a week

4 Forgiveness (Meditation)
On going, in addition to Labor #3, specific guided Jake Kornfield meditation
A. ask for forgiveness  B. forgive self  C. forgive others

5 Breaking my armor
On going, look strangers in the eye, smile, say hello, hold doors, open doors, sincerely give strangers complements.

6 Tolerance, Acceptance & Ego
This is a tough one to quantify. My goal is to be continuously mindful of my 12 Labors.
*  Remember to be kind, for everyone I meet is fighting a hard battle.
*  Try to see through others poor behavior and recognize it as their insecurities.
*  Not make things about me.
*  More acceptance and less judgement of others.
*  Live my truth.

7 Thou shalt not kill (especially spiders)
Just as superheroes don’t always see their enemy coming, this is an ongoing threat that will challenge me at random and unexpected times. I am afraid of spiders and dislike them very much!

8 Acceptance (as well as Endurance / Stamina)
Watch all seasons of Curb Your Enthusiasm
While watching TV may not seem like much of a trial or labor, please understand, I cannot stand the character, Larry David! My goal is to work on accepting Larry David as he is.

9 Still under development

10 Cooking Skill Challenge
In the culinary world, soufflés are particularly challenging. I shall try and master one.

11 Diet
*  No carbs (bread, pasta, pastries, etc.) past breakfast every day for 1 month
*  Drink 64 oz. of water every day for 1 month

12 Physical Strength
Through my workouts (5 x a week) I will build up to:
*  5 minute plank: combining a center plank and one on each side
*  5 minute pool cardio challenge: working against a tether and w/pool weights
*  20 lbs. side laterals: a 20 lbs. dumbbell in each hand, 10 + reps.
*  Active caloric burn of 520 for 7 days in a row (300 + calories at the gym alone)

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