Joseph Campbell was a phenomenal writer that explored the philosophy of the human experience. He is known for many of his books, but one more than others, "The Hero with a Thousand Faces" (1949).
In this book, Campbell discusses the mythological archetype that many lead characters and hero's have followed. He calls this, The Hero's Journey.
If you reflect back to any childhood adventure story, or the exciting movie you watched last night, or the plot of one of your favorite thriller books, you will notice a similar trajectory of how the story is told.
What is even more fascinating, is that our own life follows this Hero's Journey as well. At some point in your life you may have felt a Call to Action, a whisper of an Adventure ahead, or a desire to experience more and understand the sense of lack in your own life. It is that moment when your Bliss and Joy calls to be followed, and you suddenly see that the Universe has opened doors where there were once only roadblocks and walls.
Although you are excited and curious as to what is around the next corner, uncertainty is terrifying, and it often takes the support of someone else to get you to take the first few steps needed. From there you venture into unknown territory and experience new and increasingly-difficult hardships that test your strength and push you way outside your comfort zone. Through this process you develop new skills, you learn new ways to think, act, and show up in your life, and you meet like-minded people that become your new friends.
At some point, you reach a breaking point. You hit rock bottom, you are haunted with death or trauma, you experience failure like nothing else you have seen or heard of before, and you break down, not realizing that this is what leads to the ultimate 'break open'.
Your darkest moment teaches you the lessons you needed all along. You develop new and stronger skills that allow you to rebuild your foundation and retrain your brain to perceive the world with a new lens and a new appreciation and gratitude. As you venture back to your home, you are a new version of yourself. You bring back wisdom and "gifts" that you could not have dreamed of possessing before this journey began.
Your Hero's Journey allows you to make an impact on the world and create a legacy that generates waves for years to come. It all starts with that Call to Action, that push towards the unknown, that leap of faith in the direction of your heart-beat. As Campbell says,
"We must be willing to get rid of the life we've planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us".
Where are you in your Hero's Journey? What lessons have you learned so far? What have you let go of to make space for something new and more connected to what your heart and soul longs for?
We all have the opportunity to be a hero in our lifetime. It comes when things are the darkest, when the world seems small or scary, and when we want nothing more than to curl up and leave the fight for someone else....this is the moment to stand tall. We learn from our struggles. We grow from our failures. When you find yourself in the dark depths of the cave with no escape in sight, lean in, breathe deep, and let the pain and suffering move through you until what once was the source of darkness becomes your blessing and your rebirth.
Share your story. Share your wisdom. Be that Magical Mentor for someone else who is about to venture on their own Hero's Journey. We are stronger together, and together anything is possible.
For a deeper dive into the Hero’s Journey and how you can re-frame your life’s story, check out my book on Amazon and as an audiobook ;)