The Hero’s Journey is hard, but you don’t actually have to go anywhere to complete it. That’s (maybe) the only easy thing about it.
A Pilgrimage is a fascinating permutation of the Hero’s Journey. The film “The Way” by Emilio Estevez is really nice movie example of the pilgrimage as metaphor for a personal growth Journey. But, because a Hero’s Journey always ends up with an internal reckoning and transformation of the Hero, herself, you will likely have that transformation wherever you are at the time. It’ll happen somewhere banal, not necessarily in the Pyrenees, in Spain, on the Camino del Santiago. You could have that moment of reckoning on your morning walk around the block.
What’s important about the transformation point in the cycle of the Hero’s Journey is that you come face-to-face with a choice: either change and move on or stop. Take the example of Malala Yousafzai, the Nobel prize laureate. If you haven’t read her book here’s the short form of her catalyzing incident: She’s shot in a van on the way to school. She’s shot in the face! Not only does she have to recover physically, but emotionally. She decides not only to continue her education, but to start speaking out against those who would deny girls education. This moment of reckoning happened on her way to school, in her usual neighborhood. Her travels around the world happened after this point. Imagine getting shot just for the impertinence of going to the grocery store or to the library. How would you react?
From her book, I get that Malala was naturally a shy girl, who had to change her inherent mode of dealing with others for her message to be heard. If you’re at the transformation stage of your Journey, it’s likely you’re saying, “I can’t change that part of myself.” or “I just can’t do things that differently.” or maybe “I’m not that kind of girl.”
You have to get to the point you feel like, “Change happens when the pain of staying the same is greater than the pain of change.” – Tony Robbins. The caterpillar that does not change into the butterfly, dies!
What are you noticing that you have to change about yourself to move forward on your Journey?
Is there a teeny-tiny way to start that change? Can you think of one itsy-bitsy step?
If you don’t see a way, are you brave enough to ask an ally or mentor for ideas how to change, or how to get started on the road to change? Then, are you brave enough to act?