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  • When I was in elementary school I borrowed a book about Greek mythology from the library. I was fascinated by the stories but there was one myth that bothered me. It was the story of Daphne, the lovely virgin nymph who was pursued by Apollo. Apollo was under the influence of Eros’ arrow and found Daphne irresistible. Apollo chased Daphne relentlessly until she eventually grew tired of running. Just as the young god was about to catch her, Daphne appealed to her father, the river god, Peneus, to help her. Peneus saved Daphne by turning her into a laurel. Her legs took root and her arms turned into slender branches. She spent the rest of her life as a tree.

    I always thought Daphne’s rescue was worse than the thwarted capture. She would never be able to run, hunt, or do any of the things that made her happy. I never understood why a father would choose such a restrictive outcome for his own daughter.

    As I mature, I realize we are all like Daphne. We are trapped, not by the power of the gods, but by our own fears, insecurities, addictions, and obsessions. In vain efforts to protect our egos, our actions become stifled and our perceptions warped, preventing us from being truly free, satisfied, or happy.

    We all have at least two sides: the side we show the world and the side we think is hidden. We say one thing and but really desire another. We selflessly sacrifice for others, but secretly wait for someone to notice our deeds. We point out the faults of others to create diversions from our own. Our behavior is learned and we in turn teach it to our children.

    As I watch my daughter grow I making an effort to unroot myself. I want my child to be free of the Daphne Dilemma - free to live a life that is authentic and fulfilling.
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