“You enter the forest at the darkest point, where there is no path. Where there’s a way or path, it is someone else’s path; each human being is a unique phenomenon.”
– Joseph Campbell, Pathways to Bliss
Joseph Campbell identified a pattern in myths worldwide and named the pattern The Hero’s Journey. Identifying the Hero’s Journey was genius, but Campbell didn’t get everything related to the Hero’s Journey correct.
Reading his quote for the Hero’s Journey path, I understand the metaphor, but I don’t think it’s true. I feel like a more accurate statement describing the Hero’s Journey may be, “You find yourself in the forest at the darkest point, where what you thought was a path is no longer there.”
You started into the forest at what looked like an opening or a gap in the flora. Most people start on another’s path then find they have veered off, or they see a way that fits their skills better, or the path becomes impassable for them and they have to become resourceful. That’s when the path becomes theirs. Sorry, Professor Campbell, but only an idiot would say no to a wide open path I can see right there and choose instead to start hacking at the brush immediately. It’s hard enough to take the first step out onto the Hero’s Journey without the belief that you have to do a completely separate path from everyone else’s the entire way.
Every Hero’s path does end up being unique to them. I agree with that. Your steps can never match another’s perfectly. You can just do it your way. That’s the best you have.
What boggles my mind, still, is how our path intersects others’ and shows a way for them to continue on their own path. It’s like we’re all connected in some way (LOL).
Just hearing another’s story keeps me going on my own path. Just seeing another’s effort keeps me trying.
Maybe you can be someone’s inspiration today.