Today on the walk to school, my friend suggests that we are all on a Hero’s Journey, and sometimes we stop at Step 2: The Refusal of our Calling. His wife pulls up the steps of the Hero’s Journey on her phone and recites the narrative pattern for us. This pattern, noted most famously by the American scholar, Joseph Campbell, follows various steps which we find in so many stories but also in our own psychological development.
The steps include a Call to Adventure, a Refusal of the Call, Meeting with a Mentor, Crossing the Threshold into our calling (where all the rules and values seem strange), the Period of Testing, Joining with Friends on the mission, the Main Ordeal, the Reward, the Road Back, Death and Rebirth, and finally, Returning with Treasure and Power.
The hero, after these steps, emerges transformed and renewed.
We ask ourselves where we are on our own journey as Ordinary Heroes. Some of wonder what our calling is. Others know but refuse it. Others are in their period of testing while still others are on the road back.
Thinking of the journey in this way, we remember that it’s natural and patterned to go through refusals, trials, ordeals, and deaths. But we remember that most important step of joining with friends on the mission. And we remember that one day, we’ll return with treasure.
On the way home from the morning walk, I realize that I’m returning with treasure indeed.
Where do you find yourself on the Hero’s Journey?