The Hero’s Journey

Elizabeth Gilbert, famous author of Eat, Pray, Love was talking on TV the other day about The Hero’s Journey.

Basically, author Joseph Campbell studied all mythology and religion and realized that no matter what civilization, religion, or background every single culture tells the same exact story. It’s called “The Hero’s Journey.”

He broke it into 12 stages, but the short story is an ordinary person is called to adventure, refuses, meets a mentor, goes through setbacks, hurdles and obstacles, achieves reward, goes back to the ordinary world and uses what he’s learned.

Buddha, Moses, Christ, Star Wars, even freakin Nemo, people! Think about how many times you’ve read or seen the same story written differently and enjoyed it immensely each time.

Elizabeth Gilbert seemed to think that everyone alive has their own hero’s journey. That at some point in your life there is always a call and you can either answer it or not. But if you don’t, bad things will happen. Really, there is only one way the story can end happily and that is if you answer the call and go on the long, hard journey.

It seems easy for someone who is already famous for transformation to look back at it all and realize the importance of the journey they walked. And to think that just like them, everyone must have a journey. A purpose in life.

But what if you just happen to be born happy and lucky? I find it hard to believe we are all walking around with a secret purpose that will explode on us one day whether we want it to or not, changing our lives completely.

Having lived a completely charmed and struggle free life up until this point, I figured Elizabeth Gilbert’s idea that every single person had a calling was a bit egotistical. But I am absolutely sure when I listen to her speak that her own journey was pivotal and critical to her life’s happiness.

Perhaps not everyone will learn or see their life’s purpose. Perhaps not everyone has one. But some days, when I look at Ben I think we just might have our own hero emerging. Right here in this household. Surely anyone who looks at the struggles Ben is going through must realize he is in an all consuming constant fight against all social norms.

If it’s true, right now he’s in the early stages – refusal. And like anyone knows who has been in AA, you have to complete the 12 steps for it to be considered a successful story.

We aren’t giving up. Today we are trying to introduce new mentors, (another therapist, a different therapist) to see if it will help. We are also still waiting on for his one-on-one aide to be hired.

It still it feels like we are daily trying to fit a square peg in a round hole. I wish we could find the square hole but there doesn’t seem to be one that exists in the world as we know it.

Most of the time Ben feels like a giant snow ball flying down a mountainside gathering more naughty snow. We are trying to push it up hill with our bare hands, along with a team of experts who can sometimes push it up a little before it drops down again. We don’t want the ball to hit the bottom because that would be a disaster, but we can’t see the bottom, and so far all our efforts have made little difference to the trajectory.

I just hope and pray he’ll make it all the way through. That one day this little hero’s journey will have a happy ending. That snowball will make it to the bottom and keep rolling, using all the speed it gathered to climb up to the top of the next hill. And Stop! Just enough speed to make it to the top, not to go down again!

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1 thought on “The Hero’s Journey

  1. hi there
    actually j=Joseph Campbell’s hero’s journey has 17 parts , the ones you named were by Christopher Vogler. he divided writer’s journey to 12 part as you named them

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