This week’s events are the perfect segue into the hero’s journey. Lisa Sonora Beam, The Creative Entrepreneur, talks about the hero’s journey in chapter two as “the basis for all dramatic storytelling.” We are each on a hero’s journey, in fact, we are on several journey’s simultaneously. In each journey we are in different stages and are taking on different personae or archetypes. It may seem that these archetypes are conflicting with each other at times but with added awareness and tools that provide clarity these conflicts are negotiated, resolved, and forgiven creating a kind of harmony to our overall story.
In some way these journeys can be seen as different dimensions of our lives. Observing these dimensions from a distance we can direct them effectively. Tools that get you into the observer’s mind provide clarity about how to manage each dimension. Understanding the archetypes of the hero in the story, your story, is advantageous to creating strategies to navigate each stage of the story.
Telling my personal hero’s story has been, for sometime, a challenge. I felt that I had done so much work to get out of the story that telling it would only keep it alive. I spent some time listening to the stories of musicians, movie stars, great authors, TV personalities and my own family, to figure out what I liked about the story and when I felt the most connected to the person who’s story was being told. The times when I felt the most connected, the most encouraged, the most inspired were when I found a piece of myself in their story. Recognizing a reflection of some part of my life’s journey in the journey of another made me feel less alone and more like everybody else. I felt that if they could do it, so could I. That is ultimately what I wanted other people to feel when they heard my story and I begun to see my story with new eyes.
I am naturally tough on myself. I expect a lot from myself and am always pushing to run faster, jump higher, be stronger, and leap tall buildings in a single bound. From that I have developed internal motivation to accomplish big things and as you can imagine, there are some scrapes and scars that have come from the times when I didn’t make it over the building the first time. I have learned and developed some good strategies to overcome the fear that would keep me from a second, or third, or fourth or even fifth attempt at reaching my desired goal. Understanding and recognizing the archetypes in my hero’s story and how to resource them, resolving the conflict between my creative and logical mind to create whole and beautiful things, recognizing my destructive ways of being and having a plan to turn them around are just a few of the strategies I use.
Your life is you acting out your hero’s journey. Any one of my clients will tell you that one of my best turn arounds is, “let’s get out of the story,” which I use for the client’s gain of perspective on a situation or circumstance. Stories are affirmations. Affirmations create concrete beliefs and results. If you don’t like what is happening in your life, check the story that you are telling and identify the beliefs you are affirming consciously and subconsciously each time you think about it, verbalized it and act it out.
To create any change the first thing that has to happen is awareness. Being aware that you are acting out a story, what is working for you and what is not creates clarity about where you are starting your journey. Identifying your destination is the next step. Once you know where you are and where you are going then the rest is relatively simple because your task is just to be aware of where you are all along the way and keeping an eye on your destination. This is where you will apply tools and strategies that will assist you at times where you find yourself stuck, off course, out of control, tossed around, and beaten up by life.
Understanding the stages of the story and the characters or archetypes of the story will assist you to define where you are in your story.
Here is a quick list of the stages of the hero’s journey (think Star Wars):
- Separation Call to adventure
- Refusal of the call
- Crossing the first threshold
- The maze
- The road of trials
- Integration of the feminine aspects
- Meeting with the goddess
- Integration of the male aspects
- Atonement with the father
- The ultimate boon
- Refusal of the return
- Crossing the return threshold
- Master of the two worlds
- Freedom to live
This list of the archetypes their worst fear and emotions are just a glimpse into the development of the characters in your story:
- Orphan. Fear: Abandonment. Emotion: Out of control or numbed.
- Martyr. Fear: Selfishness, Callousness. Emotion: Negative ones, repressed so as not to hurt others.
- Wanderer. Fear: Conformity. Emotion: Dealt with alone, stoic.
- Warrior. Fear: Weakness. intellectuality. Emotion: Controlled, repressed to achieve or prevail.
- Magician. Fear: Uncentered superficially, alienation from self and others. Emotions: Allowed and learned from in self and others.
Have some fun identifying these stages and archetypes in movies and stories you watch and read and ultimately in your own life.