Stage 2 | The Call to Adventure
The Call to Adventure is an event or series of events which kick-starts the SEPARATION from some or all of the significant parts of your old life.
There are three types of Call to adventure
Intentional: When we consciously set out to bring change to our lives. For example, I will leave this place/job/relationship/town/ country etc. Change is tricky but often exciting. Motivation levels are often high.
Serendipitous: This is when something or someone grabs your interest and off you follow them/it. Examples include falling in love, finding a new interest or passion. Again such a Call to adventure is often exciting and motivation is often plentiful.
Unwanted: This is when life takes a turn for the worse. Something unpleasant, unexpected, sometimes traumatic happens leaving some or all of the significant aspects of your life in tatters. This could be a relationship breakdown, a diagnosis, an injury, an accident, the loss of your job etc. With these kinds of unwanted Calls, there is no excitement, no motivation. More often such events trigger shock, anxiety and grief.
Usually the first signs of any Call to Adventure, regardless of which type, are fear and grief. Even if you are planning change, or something grabs your attention and leads you elsewhere, there is still the fear of leaving the familiar, facing the unknown and the uncertainty that like ahead. For example new parents who have long hoped for the arrival of their child still fear anxiety around what to do with this little person. How do I meet their needs? There are inevitably days in the life of any parent where they reflect on their old ‘child-free life’ and miss it.
For the often exciting Serendipitous Calls, fears about taking a new path are still common. Where will I end up? What does the future hold? And on those days when nothing goes to plan, again feelings of sadness about leaving the safety and certainty of your old life will arise.
With an Unwanted Call to Adventure, you may simply be in shock by the difference to your life one day can make. The job you had last week has now disappeared. The relationship you thought would last a lifetime turns out had an end date. The health you took for granted disappears when you received your diagnosis. Nothing can prepare you for the overwhelming fear and grief about such events, that inevitably happen to all of us at one time or another. Read more here
Whether you like it or not, life has happened and a response is required.
The fact that you have no idea what to do is neither here nor there.
An Unwanted Call to Adventure makes up most of the content of our news cycle. Disruption and distress are common themes. In such moments, when your life is in turmoil, the last thing you will think of is adapting, navigating the chaos. In time, however, you will come to recognise this event as the ending of an old life and the beginning of a new life chapter.
Worksheet: Stage 2 The Call to Adventure
- Can you remember an event or series of events that significantly separated you from all or some of your life as you knew it? The ending of the relationship? A wedding? The loss of the job? The beginning of a new career? A diagnosis or your first day arriving in a new city or country?
- What kind of Call was it? Intentional? Long planned for and joyous? Serendipitous? An unexpected but pleasant surprise? Or Unwanted? Shocking? Overwhelming? Daunting?
- What emotions did you experience? What were you sad about? What were you frightened of? What did you do with these? Many cultures encourage us to keep such feelings a secret. Is this what you did? Deny them? Tell yourself to ignore such feelings? Hide them? Tell everyone you were fine when really you were not fine at all? Numb them? Pleasurable substances and activities are a common choice in dealing with fear and sadness as in the short term, they work. They distract us from such unpleasant emotions. Trouble is, distraction is not a problem solving strategy but rather a problem-building behaviour.
- What significant problem(s) was/were created as a result of the Call to Adventure? List them. Which ones were the most daunting?