The Hero’s Journey is the scaffolding of most good stories, including the story of your life. The CALL! The travails! The allies! The questions! The setbacks! The inner quest! The victory! This idea of story… the story of one’s life… has been up for me in a big way lately. The recent “SOS” experience is also still reverberating strongly; I look forward to writing more re: that when I’m in the head/heart space for the depth of sharing it requires.
Meanwhile, the following ‘travel tips’ courtesy Jennifer Louden:
2. When you wake at 3 a.m., do not go back to sleep. Listen. What is scratching at the door of your heart? Let it in and let it speak. This is your Gandalf arriving with a map, a map that reveals your first step.
3. Look for what was lost, perhaps between the ages of 8 and 12, and pledge to reclaim it – not for fame, fortune or love, but for yourself. Hint: it always seems to have a creative component.
4. Begin the journey for yourself, and yourself alone. Do not journey for others, not even those you love, not even what breaks your heart. Instead, go because you want to, because you desire it. This will set you free to be of real service when the time is right.
5. Follow the timing of your human life. Sally Kempton tells the story of two radical callings in her life, and both times, she took the time she needed to make the changes she was called to make. You are living in a human body with human limits and needs. Proceed accordingly. (Note: your journey may be metaphorical, completely internal, quietly subtle and it is no less sheroic. You define what all of this looks like. Always.)
6. Cultivate your necessary magic by owning your precise gifts – not “I’m good at helping people” but “I’m great at seeing what people are good at and where the world needs their particular gift.”
7. Follow what obsesses you. Do not ask what it will get you or why it beckons. Noorjahan Akbar collected Afghan women’s folk songs which inspired her, in time, to start a non-profit which lead to a women’s internet cafe, a tailor shop, two libraries, and more. She did not know exactly why she was collecting and recording these songs. And she did it anyway.
8. Stay awake by questioning and find others to question with. The status quo, the familiar, the safe will try to lull you off your path, back to sleep. Allies help you stay awake.
9. Trust the darkness, trust the descents, do not shy away from your sorrows and pain. That is where wisdom is, even if takes years to harvest it.
10. Cultivate ways to take care of yourself in the descents. Proceed at the pace that your heart can bear. Learn to discern drama from descent.
11. Let love carry you forward. Not duty, not shame, not guilt. Love.
12. Return knowing you will share your boons with your community in a way that feeds you and them. The martyr way is dead to you. Return knowing you will journey again so you have to keep listening.