What Label Should We Use?

Look around you.

There are millions of people who are on a Hero’s Journey.

Most of the people who complete a twelve-step program and stay abstinent have completed a Hero’s Journey.

Many people who become teachers did a Hero’s Journey.

When I finished and published my first book, I completed a Hero’s Journey.

Human history is peppered with myths, legends, and news stories that reflect someone’s Hero Journey. In many cases, myths are based on the Journey of a real person – a person who suffered the physical pain and enjoyed the joy of returning home to the village. This real-person experience is what causes this pattern to be a part of the consciousness. This is the work that Joseph Campbell wrote about in The Hero with a Thousand Faces.

The Hero’s Journey could be local, or it could be national or planetary. Ed Roberts advocated for his own wheelchair access while he attended school in Berkeley, California, and along the way knocked down barriers for millions of others. Astronaut William Anders circumnavigated the moon in 1968 as a part of his own Hero’s Journey, and he brought the magic back to all of us when he took the photo, “Earthrise”.

These are the acts that end up making a Hero’s Journey. Doing a heroic act is not part of the Hero’s Journey. You can run into a burning building, save a child and a kitten — all great — but not a Hero’s Journey.

Conversely, completing a Hero’s Journey does not make you a hero. It is unfortunate that Campbell named it that. I have been thinking of what to name someone who completes a Hero’s Journey — not a “Hero.”

Right now I’m going with “Journeyist.”

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