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The Road Back

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Today we're exploring the tenth stage of being a hero (from Joseph Campbell's book, The Hero with a Thousand Faces):


10: The Road Back

The hero's not out of the woods yet. Some of the best chase scenes come at this point, as the hero is pursued by the vengeful forces from whom he has stolen the elixir or the treasure. This is the chase as Luke and friends escape from the Death Star, with Princess Leia and the plans that will bring down Darth Vader.

If the hero has not yet managed to reconcile with his father or the gods, they may come raging after him at this point. This is the moonlight bicycle flight of Elliott and E.T. as they escape from "Keys" (Peter Coyote), a force representing governmental authority.

Here's something to think about:

This was a totally new thought for me. Up until now, I've had this idea in my head that once the sword was seized, once the grail had been found, it was all gravy, the story was over, and happily ever after would now commence. Clearly, I haven't been paying much attention to the plot when I watch an action adventure movie.

In my "real life" I've had this same expectation: once I "get" this, or "achieve" that, everything will be easy. And when it isn't easy, when suddenly the shit hits the fan, and I'm in the midst of trauma drama; I tend to get really depressed and disillusioned, unhappy with myself, thinking that I somehow must have missed the mark, retrieved the wrong sword, or lost the grail...

Now that I know that this is the way the "story" is supposed to go, I'll be better prepared. And what about you? Have you had the experience of achieving what you felt was success, only to find yourself suddenly in the midst of chaos and trouble? Does your "real life" follow this same formula? Have you noticed that peaks are followed by valleys, and that some things are not only hard to "get" they are equally hard to "keep?" Is it possible to be prepared for the downward spiral that follows a hard earned high? Do you think it would be useful? And what would you do in terms of preparation?

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