The Heroine’s Journey
Are you a heroine or a hero?
In 1988, American journalist and political commentator Bill Moyers published a book, The Power of Myth.: It brought to light the age old story from across the world related by Joseph Campbell in 1949 called “the hero’s journey.”
We all have a call to the hero or heroine’s journey. Think of the hardest things you’ve had to deal with in your life (death, divorce, aging, what others think of you, loss of career, health issues). Focus on one, and follow the heroine’s journey.
You don’t want to deal with this difficult thing, so you avoid it as long as possible. You take refuge in activities, drink, travel, work, exercise. And still, it own’t go away, so ou have to take action. But you don’t know what to do. You try something, and your’re blocked. You try again.
If you fail, hopefully you ask for help. You find a mentor and learn some ways to approach the problem and what it’ll take form inside you to face it. You try again, now seeing the whole picture more clearly.
If you keep going, you begin to realize this jouney is not just about the problem your’re facing. It’s about YOU. It’s about your character, your courage, your willingness to brave the hardship.
The journey is inward, to your very essence, and a metaphor for finding out what your life is really about — how you live day to day, your dependability, our truthfulness, your sense of wonder, your gratefulness, our steadfastness, your flexibility, your humor, your fears.
Here is one heroine’s journey. A close friend of mine enjoyed a most beloved career. She had a partner and together they created a business that helped people. They were in sync.
And then he was gone. She was devastated and heart-broken fr the loss of the magic they had together. Day to day, she struggled to find joy. She had other work, solitary, meaningful. Bit it didn’t fill her heart. The grief went on, is still going on. She finally decided she had to do something.
She marketed the skills she used with her partner and was turned down several times. She went to a counselor to face the grief. After a time, she went after work that resonated in her heart, this time with a sense of her own strength to do the work alone.
She tells me that she learned isn’t just about how to work alone. It is that she could persevere in the face of her hardest loss. It is that she could count on herself to give her best.
She could be creative on her own. And she could make the new job matter in a different way than the old. She changed to meet the challenge.
Finally, she says, she accepted life on its terms: that deep loss happens to everyone.
Life gives us a chance to take this journey inside to become an everyday hero or heroine. We can meet the challenge.
By Nancy Norman, a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, from the newpaper LIFE after 50, musician and former “Intimacy” columnist for the “The Wichita Eagle”. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org
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