Have you heard me talk about the Hero/Heroine Journey before? Oh yes! I believe you have! It’s one of my favourite topics because it’s just so darn useful! And like all of the world’s great stories, it’s worth repeating, don’t you think? Also, like all great stories, it brings us new information when we apply it to different situations. So today I want to use the Hero/Heroine’s Journey to shed more light on this transition from Work to Service that we have been exploring (and hopefully actually undertaking!)
Let’s go through the three basic stages of the Journey:
PURPOSE We can also say this is the CALL…that insistent message that tells us…something important is missing…something wonderful is part of you and you’re not noticing! A lawyer I know had a successful career. He was a much in-demand lawyer and most would say he was prosperous. Something was niggling at him however. In college, he used to write poetry – the usual love-sick elegies sure, but he also wrote some poems that went beyond the normal angst and touched on universal themes. The few friends he allowed to read them, were impressed and told him he really should do more. Well, you know the story, life piled up in front of him…law school, case work, family, kids, cars in the garage…and now, when he walks into my office, he’s a middle-aged man, weary and feeling like he has missed something. You bet he has…he missed the call to poetry. But it’s never too late.
For him, the call started loud and then got drowned out, but lately he had been noticing poetry everywhere – he was picking up poetry books when he went to the bookstore, hearing poetry on the radio. He found himself scribbling lines of poetry in his office as he stared out the window at the end of a long day in court. The call was getting stronger. At first he dismissed the idea that this was something he should pay attention to. But after we spoke a few times (you know how persuasive I can be!), he started to feel an energy whenever the subject of poetry came up. He used the Purpose Formula and realized that his Resistor —the thing that had been holding him back, was a deep need to bring in large quantities of bacon, to be a ‘somebody’ and to show his parents he could actually achieve something worthwhile. I won’t tell you the whole story, but suffice to say, he heard the call and this time he paid attention. He’s now a happy ex-lawyer, published poet with fewer cars in the garage…in fact he bikes everywhere.
Saying YES to the call is a huge part of the first part of the Journey…it’s the starting gate. That commitment to ‘yes’ provides the energy needed to get through the next part of the journey.
ORDEAL Yep, that’s right…now the hard part begins. You have answered the Call – great! and now the beasties arrive – not so great! In the Hero’s Journey, it’s the outside challenges – debts, family/friends objections, getting sick, losing a job, etc. The Heroine’s Journey is all about facing internal challenges – self-doubt, fears, nerves, anger at the system, impatience and lack of trust in the process, etc. etc. This stage of the journey is just bloody hard and if we’re not vigilant, this is where addictions can take over. It’s so hard that some of us turn to drugs or alcohol to ‘ease’ the pain. Just about every film, novel, play is based on a hero or heroine setting off towards a goal and having to overcome difficulties. Against all odds, some manage to triumph in the end. The challenges make us stronger and more resilient as long as we stay focussed on our goal and committed to daily self-care on all levels.
REINCORPORATION This is where we are living the call…answering it every day. We have brought the call inside…we now embody it. It fills us with such strong energy, such joy, that we want to share this with others. We are now fully expressing our true selves – rooted in the earth and elevated by spirit. This fulfillment can’t help but bubble over into other lives. We exude joy. We become an inspiration for others to do the same. We are bringing our story to the village. In terms of our Work which has now become our Service, we are now serving our community by fulfilling our Life Purpose. What does that mean? It means you are now leading a new environmental initiative, you are raising funds for underprivileged kids, you have made a film about women’s empowerment, you have published a book, you are reading your poetry on a podcast, you are teaching painting …on and on. There are as many ways to live your Life Purpose as there are people on this planet.
I really want you to embody this Journey…take it on and then serve humanity with the joyful fruits of your commitment. A sincere commitment to your true self can’t help but be a gift to the world.
The world needs your gifts!