The Hero’s Quest: Departure and the hero’s refusal

I mentioned previously that I’m reading Joseph Campbell’s “The Hero with a Thousand Faces”.  He covers  the various stages of the Hero’s Quest.  Stage one is Departure, and one of the elements of this stage is the hero’s refusal of the call.

I’ve often felt that part of my call – the call for many of us, I suspect – is to be all that I can be.  I can’t help but think that I’ve spent a good deal of my life refusing this call.  And, it has affected the nature of my adventure.  I’ve lived a “smaller” life as a result.

Sometimes, I wonder if I still have what it takes to answer the call.  Those thoughts come when I’m feeling low and vulnerable.  I do feel ready, but still feel less courageous and sure, as I hoped I’d be.

I can only imagine that sometimes that’s all I’ll have to go on.  What matters is saying: “Yes!” and figuring out the rest on the Quest.

Ok, then:  “YES!”

We’re always stronger than we think

Today, I had to guide a consultant, by boat, to a place that is known for it’s underwater reefs. And, the trip also involved taking the boat through a tight, shallow, rocky cut called the Devil’s Elbow. Ominous!

As I pondered this trip yesterday, I was concerned about my ability to navigate the waters without hitting rock in either the Elbow, or the bay. But, I knew the trip had to be made.

I decided that I would continually visualize my boat safely moving through the water. It provided me with a level of calm when the time came to do it for real today.

The result? I made it through both the Elbow and bay without a scratch, and that occurred in less than favourable weather conditions.

What did I learn? There’s always more to us – more strength, resolve and ability than we sometimes see. Faith, hope and moving forward – without a safety net – can lead to wonderful insights into our capabilities.

Myth and the hero’s journey

I decided it’s time I learned more formally about myth, and have begun to read Joseph Campbell’s book – written in 1949 – called:  The Hero with a Thousand Faces.

I first learned of Campbell via the PBS series he did with Bill Moyers in the ’80’s called:  The Power of Myth.  I was fascinated with the series, and with Campbell in particular.  HIs knowledge of world myth, and ability to expound on them was magic to me.  The fact that he saw value in George Lucas’ Star Wars movies as modern myth just made it all the better!

I’m hoping – expecting – to find insight that may apply to my own journey.  More on that later …

The hero of my own life.

I should mention that one of the key themes I want to play out here is the idea of becoming the hero of my own life.

On some level, I think that becoming my own hero is a worthy goal.  Not out of hubris, but out of a desire to see what I’m capable of becoming as a person.  What fears do I need to move beyond?  What do I need to embrace?  What do I need to let go?  What is my quest?  Can I move beyond my fears and answer the Call?  [The answer has been “No” up to this point – too afraid to let go and take a risk.]

This time in the world, and this life, offer so many opportunities.  I want to move beyond being a spectator and become an active participant.

I’m not sure I know how to be a hero.  It has not been part of my lexicon.  But, that was then … this is now.

What do I know about my Call?

I know that this journey will involve my creativity, and making things – whatever the things end up being.  Could be a product, could be a service.  Not sure.

It will also allow conversation and work around ideas – big ideas I hope.  Ideas that can help change the world – if even on the scale of a microcosm in my immediate world.

Abundance will be a natural extension of my Call.  As will be elegance of solution and/or design.

Seth Godin, one of my favourite authors talks about becoming an Artist, in his book The Icarus Deception.  I want to be an artist – to be remarkable.  I’ve never honestly tried to be remarkable with intent in the past.  Always felt too rushed to take the extra care required to do beautiful, elegant, remarkable work.  It has hurt me on various levels, and I’ve carried the baggage of those decisions for many, many years.  Time to let them go.

Currently, I’m working at my wife’s family cottage, fixing and repairing decks, windows and such.  With each fix I do, I’m trying to incorporate some element of remarkable and elegance in the job.  So far, so good.  Some of these elegant fixes are small and seemingly incomprehensible to the people who view them.  Yet, I know they’re there, and that’s what counts.

The sense of accomplishment and release this has given me is quite wonderful.

So, I’m responding to some of the Call today.  And, seeking to more fully open myself to it as I go along.

That’s where I’ll find my answer, and the understanding that goes with it.  Fun, fun, fun!

The Hero’s Call

Every myth requires a hero, and every hero requires that they answer the Call.  That’s a question I’ve been stymied by my whole life.  What is my Call?

There are some who would say just “be”, and that the Call will find its way to me.  I have found it more difficult than I would have thought to just be.

I have a feeling that my Call will be something of my choosing.  And, it will also allow me to just “be”.  I think this blog is part of my Call – or will be part of a meandering path to it.

For now, my Call will be to keep writing about these ideas, and then see where they take me.