“Your heart and my heart are very, very old friends.” - Hafiz
When plotting a story, many writers use the structure of the Hero’s Journey. We don’t have to slay dragons or sail on a ship called the Argo like Jason with his fifty Argonauts, in order to be a hero. To win back his throne, Jason was sent on an impossible task to retrieve the Golden Fleece. Life often presents us with many impossible challenges but it is how we deal with them that matters. Sometimes we don’t know the answers to our problems but if we tune in and listen with our hearts, we will find the answer we are seeking.
We too transition through different stages in life not dissimilar to the path of the Hero in mythology. Calls for change appear frightening and refusals are based on fear when we are stuck and cannot move on. Some major event or crisis such as ill health will give you a jolt and you finally say “yes” to the call. Meeting your mentor may not always be a person. It could be a book that falls off a shelf providing the answer you were seeking. Whatever form it takes, it gives you the confidence to cross the threshold into the unknown. Instead of slaying dragons we are confronted with our inner demons and the object of the quest is sometimes hidden from us. The underworld in mythology can be viewed as deep depression or anxiety as we hit rock bottom and hide in the cave.
Once we face the Supreme Ordeal confronting our fears and possibly death, we are reborn, emotionally, spiritually or physically. Sometimes we have to change our identity and purpose to move on. The integration of the old and new allows us to keep going on our journey. Returning home, transformed with new wisdom or resourcefulness is not always easy. We may have changed but those at home haven’t and are not always accepting of our new enlightened selves. If the homecoming doesn’t work out for all concerned, it may be necessary for us to set out on a new journey or maybe many journeys.