The Hero’s Journey

I’ve read and listened to and loved Joseph Campbell’s work for years, but I have never felt the FIRE of it like I did reading this:–madness/5-signs-youre-on-the-heros-journey

“Your call to adventure may come as a shriek in the stillness of the night while you lie awake ruminating about the rising waters, the secrets you keep, the way your lover turns away from you after sex. Or it might come as haunting and melodious pipe music you can only, almost hear, being played by a nymph in the wild places of your dreamscape. Your call might be a regal horn blown by the breath of a great angel through a million tree branches scraping against your window. Finally, if you’re truly destined for greatness, your call may not arrive until the skies catch fire, and set ablaze all the small comforts you’ve so meticulously collected, turning the house you were raised in to ash.”

I hear it in writing like this!  Sometimes, maybe most of the time, it’s the music I can barely hear.  Or the real music I play and feel into and the fire rushes through me, reminding me that I am not alone in this passion, that I am not the only one who feels this way, I am not the only one angry at the world.  I listen to The Clash or the songs from Times Square or Patti Smith and I hear it. The NEED to not be like everyone else, to not be numb, to feel it all, no matter how painful or joyful.  The heartbeat drumming, my hands drumming on the steering wheel, my head bopping in time, my voice crying out.  The passion I don’t have in the rest of my life.

“Underneath all your concessions, your hold-outs, your hold-ins, your thrashing, your frozenness lies something original, unique and profoundly real, truly alive, bursting with creative ecstasy. If you have done everything right-or even if you haven’t- and you don’t know why it feels hollow, how you’ve become so tame, so stiff and gray and boring, like the color has been squeezed out of you,  then your call has come right on time. Pick up. The phone. Fate knows you’re home. Don’t make her blow a tornado through your living room to get your attention.”

When did I become so boring and safe?  So OLD?

I barely remember childhood, but mom has a picture of my on FB, I’m about 5 years old, and, as she puts it, there’s “devilment” in my eyes.  Where has that gone?  Did the horrors of my school years beat it out of me?  Not quite – I see it there in pics from college too.  I was so PASSIONATE then, dreaming of all the ways I’d take over and change the world.  I know every teenager is like that, that’s what “they” tell us, it’s just hormones and youth.  But is it really?  Or is that an excuse to cover up the pain of losing that fire?

I still feel deeply.  I still get angry at the injustices of the world.  I still get enthusiastic over things I love.  But I’ve fallen into Normal Life.  I worry about money and security and retirement.  I drug myself with TV shows and food.  I’ve become too much like my husband and not enough like myself.

Is this normal for 46?  Is it just what happens when you get older and “responsible”?  Am I just being nostalgic?

But sometimes, reading something like this, or listening to certain songs, or looking at the sky a certain way or a piece of artwork or Lauren Bacall’s smoldering smile…

“With any luck at all, it will start small: a glimmer out of the corner of your eye, a strange encounter with an old woman who says the oddest thing you’d ever heard, the sense that you are not alone in an empty room.”

Yes.  The odd sense that magic is real and the portal is just around the corner.  The strange feeling that if I turn my head fast enough I can see fairies.  The knowing that all “Common Knowledge” is bullshit and TPB are lying to all of us.  The desire to “drop out” somehow, to go live in Bisbee or Jerome, to run off to Portland and wander in the woods, to drive hours to a beach and put my toes in the ocean, to just GET OUT.

I haven’t reached The Abyss yet and it terrifies me.  Will I lose my husband?  My job?  My friends?  Are those questions even relevant?

Who will I be?


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