Our quest continues as the unprecedented pandemic of 2020 evolves day by day. How can this unique time in the history be equated to a Hero’s Journey? I was not familiar with a Hero’s Journey until yesterday when we were watching the film “Finding Joe” by Takaya Solomon – which I highly recommend. I found the premise of the hero’s journey fit our current situation perfectly.
The Hero’s Journey is an odyssey we all take at one time or another. Right now it is so strange that the collective of humanity, including you and me, are all on a version of a Hero’s Journey at the same time. Usually this is an individual event that happens in someone’s life while the rest of the world goes on pretty much without notice. Today we are all offered the opportunity to experience the journey both individually and collectively which is fascinating!
There are three parts to a Hero’s Journey. The first is a separation, followed by an initiation and completed with a return. A wonderful example of this process is when Jesus went into the desert for 40 days to be tempted. He was separated from all that he considered his normal life. During his time of isolation in the wilderness, he faced great challenges or obstacles before his return to his new version of life. This is the definition of the Hero’s Journey – something happens to separate us from our normal life such as a medical diagnosis, loss of a loved one, loss of a job, a divorce, a natural disaster, or maybe a life changing accident. Once we are forced from what was safe or comfortable, we are left without a foundation to stand on. So many questions come up. How can I regain my health? How will I pay my bills? How will I make it on my own? Where will I live? How can I ever recover from this? We will all struggle for a period of time as we try to make sense of what has happened and to absorb the shock of the situation. This is the initiation phase, when we feel all the feels, the anger, sadness, hurt and shock. This is the phase that transforms us. We have the opportunity to come out the other end stronger, better or more bitter than we were before.
So here we find ourselves today. We are in the initiation phase of our collective Hero’s Journey. It is the decisions we make right now that will impact who we are when we come out of this crisis. What can each of us do personally to make our lives better and what can we do as the human race to make our world better? Do you have a secret dream? Is there something you have always wanted to do but you were worried about what people would think? If you have lost your job, is there something else you would really love to pursue? The opportunities are ripe for the picking right now.
Another fascinating thing I have discovered is that in the Chinese language, there are two symbols combined to represent the word “Crisis”. Some sort of crisis is always the thing that causes the separation phase of our Hero’s Journey. The first symbol means “Danger” and the second symbol means “Opportunity”. Maybe it means there is the opportunity for danger in a crisis or maybe it means there is opportunity hidden within the danger. The interpretation is really up to each person. We all know those who have had something terrible happen to them and they never really recovered. They re-enter their world as a shell of the person they were before. On the other hand, we also know people who had something terrible happen to them and they rise above it to re-enter the world better than they were before. For the vast majority of us, we are being forced to choose our new paths. Even if you have not been negatively impacted by the pandemic, this is still a time you can choose a different path if that is what you want. What will you choose?
Thanks for being here today. You are very much appreciated!