Joseph Campbell suggested that life is a series of Hero’s Journeys. Here we look at learning how to view your own life through the lens of the Hero’s Journey and to use this as a mudmap for your everyday life.
Every Hero’s Journey starts with a change in circumstances. Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz get stuck in a tornado and ends up on Oz. Luke Skywalker finds a droid with a message. Campbell called such events ‘departures’ as in some manner they separate the hero from life as it used to be. These SEPARATIONS leave us in a strange new place, where we don’t know what to do to return things to normal.
Everyday life events can feel like a tornado. You only have to look at the newspaper or social media to see such life events happening everyday to people all over the world.
Campbell similarly noted that in real life, such SEPARATIONS are happening all the time. Early in life we are SEPARATED from home to start school. With each grade we are again SEPARATED from those who we know. We leave school to go to work or further studies. More SEPARATIONS.
Throughout life we will be SEPARATED from life as we knew it.
We find ourselves in a foreign place. We are unsure of what to do. Each departure tests us. Are we up to the challenge or will we refuse it?
Here is just a short list of some of life’s SEPARATIONS.
- moving schools,
- moving to a new town or city;
- starting a relationship;
- ending a relationship;
- starting a new job;
- leaving an old job;
- getting a new manager;
- starting a business;
- losing a business
- experiencing an infidelity;
- becoming a parent;
- transitioning from one career to another;
- being gay or bisexual or transgender;
- having a loved one become ill or incapacitated;
- having an accident that affects you physically or emotionally;
- losing a loved one.
Some SEPARATIONS may be wanted (e.g. a new baby). Some may come as a complete shock (a diagnosis). Whichever it is, we will experience a SEPARATION from life as we know it. We are no longer sure what to do, where to go or even where to begin.