The Pivot in our Journey

Understanding the archetypal framework of the classic "Hero's Journey" helps us engage our embodied path and process.

The “Hero’s Journey” declaration made a huge impact in the psycho-creative world when Joseph Campbell introduced it in 1949. And as with all deep archetypal roots, it was translated into a multitude of cultural assumptions and diluted into the safety of psychobabble stories. It eventually became a narrative that reflected no true change in self-process, as if the journey and the return with the gift all happened in the familiar idea of self, with no disruption or true revelation.

Of course, that is not the original point. The archetypal process cannot be tamed, or framed, by timid minds; owning that process comes from a root of self that most are not familiar with. And yet, in the path and process of our work, this is the story that we are living. So let’s look at the framework and reflect upon it from the root of self.

Most of us are familiar with the basic framework:

- The Hero is in the ordinary world.

-  There is an inciting incident = the call to adventure

-  The initial refusal of the call (resistance) “I don’t want to do this, I don’t want to go”

-  The meeting with the Mentor: “we’re going to go, here’s the plan”

-  The hero now enters the Other World - the Extraordinary World - trying to accomplish something.

-  The “All is Lost” moment and the “Epiphanal Moment”  empower you in the clash with the villain.

-  The Hero returns as a different person, with the Gift.

Now, we need to take a closer look at the challenges within the Other World. There are typically three challenges. The first one is the one that lures you in, and your first experience of responding to a Call to Action. We are given a bit of ease with the first round, to experience the engagement from a familiar, self-strong place within that leads to a victory over an old assumption.  

*Yes, these are the first "Pause > slide in > Land" experiences.* 

The second challenge in the Other World demands a different presence from us, from that place we don’t know within us, and typically generates significant confusion. The old ways don’t work and we don’t yet have the new assessment and engagement tools. We don’t quite understand this “Why.” And we somehow fumble through, not quite sure what we’re getting done.

The third challenge presents the true Pivot point, albeit disguised as a disaster. This is the overwhelming force that demolishes our old assumptions, patterns, and beliefs, and forces our declaration of Truth. “I am not _____, I am ______.”  It takes a huge force to dislodge the familiar within us, and that is the “All is Lost” moment of the third challenge. We can no longer fool ourselves into navigating the challenges before us from the old ways. At the All is Lost moment, the hero is as far away from their goal as they could be, and fighting the urge to just give up. 

BUT this is the Pivot, right here. This is time for reframing the moment and accepting the reality. “In the past, I’ve done this a certain way. Right now I’m going to stop and feel how this really works for ME. How can I be with this, differently, right now - and go forward?”  And this is where we jump from Ego to SELF. This is our Epiphanal Moment. This is our declaration. This is where we land in that unknown place in ourselves that is part of our original agreement. This is where we land in our original Why. 

So you see, the third challenge is the one that breaks us open to the Truth within. And THAT is the gift we bring back to our Self and our tribe. It’s not about the villain, or whatever that challenge was - it’s about declaring our Truth and standing in it. Our Truth is inviolable, and that force is what brings our work forward to the world.

Most interpretations of the Hero’s Journey archetype end with that “happy ever after” proclamation: “He returns to his tribe of origin with his Gift, and then it becomes real.”  But that is ignoring the deeper truth of this whole transformational process.  Once you have faced your All is Lost moment and proclaimed your Truth, you are standing in a different place of action - YOUR place. NOW you can bring your gifts forward, in your way, bringing source and self to service. NOW you stand in the inviolable, impeccable container of your Truth to bring your work to the world. THIS is the declaration of your Why, the decision about What you’re going to bring forward, and How you are going to reach your world. This is a new place of action. And this is the unexplored process. The soul’s purpose is incomprehensible to the mind, so how do we learn to trust this soul-source within us and find our first steps forward?

Our hero’s journey is the journey within. The gifts we return with flow from that place of source, empower our presence, enlighten the path before us. It is time to stand in our roots of Truth and bring our work to the world.