The Hero’s Journey

New Fortuna Glacier, 1915 / photographed by Frank Hurley

The Hero’s Journey is something I often think about as I go through life. Recently, I’ve started thinking I’m also on The Fool’s Journey, but that’s another story. Joseph Campbell has much to say about The Hero’s Journey. The journey has different steps, sub-journeys, and detours.

The Call to Adventure

I’ve always felt a calling of some kind, passions I needed to pursue, a sense of purpose. Whether it was to be a scientist, philosopher, writer, musician, or artist, I knew I wanted to accomplish something great. The calling is a seductive and powerful thing that I couldn’t refuse.

Refusal of the Call

The irony is that all the things calling me were just a small part of my true calling. Looking back, I see that I was meant to take a spiritual journey within myself into dark places and the underworld. That calling was something I refused to go on for a while, but eventually I needed to answer, or risk living an unhappy and unfulfilled life.

Answering the Call, Being Guided

I remember going to the art store, not realizing I was answering a call to adventure, and seeing The Artist’s Way sitting on a bookshelf like Perseus‘ shield from Clash of the Titans. I was looking for instructions on how to draw, but instead found instructions on how to create. Julia Cameron was one of my early guides as I unknowingly began my journey.

The Belly of the Beast

Over the next several years, I journeyed through physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual realms, all the while writing down everything I was learning. It was an intense experience that changed me inside and out.

Being Tested

There were tests; ridiculous, absurd, and challenging trials that I needed to overcome. I kept getting stuck every step of the way. What I thought I’d be able to handle easily turned out to be incredibly difficult, while other people seemed to be able to deal with things. There were times I felt victimized, self-pitying, like a loser, depressed, fearful of everything. Those were the dark days and nights of the soul.

Receiving the Treasure

I didn’t know it for a long time, but I was on a quest to find my true self. My true self held the treasures of self-esteem and inner peace. I feel blessed that I found such priceless treasures, but it took a lot of work and a ton of courage. There were times I felt so lost, confused, and alone I thought I’d never find a way out.

The Return

It’s with a sense of honor, humility, gratitude, and respect that I now offer to the world all the things I’ve learned on my journey. I’m now happy to take ordinary steps in an ordinary world, learning how to do ordinary things. I’ll always remember the magical and timeless quest that brought me to where I am now.

Still, my journey has only begun.

You Are on The Hero’s Journey

The beautiful thing is that we each have a purpose in life that calls to us. The calling can come in many forms, but it can be seen bright as day if we slow down, quiet ourselves,  open our eyes, and have the courage to answer.

image credits:
New Fortuna Glacier 1915 by Frank Hurley (State Library of New South Wales)

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Artist | Writer | Musician

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