Who doesn’t love a hero? Good hearted, strong, committed to a cause, and courageous – the hero never gives up on her mission. Lately I’ve been thinking about heroes a lot. During my winter hibernation, I found myself watching shows about heroes. I couldn’t seem to get enough of them.
One of the shows I’ve watched is called Arrow – about a billionaire who was stranded on an island for five years and learned how to survive a lot of badness. He came back to his city and his family a changed man. Unlike many heroes in the comics, he doesn’t have a super power, he’s just a normal human who has a huge commitment to doing what he believes to be good. He has all the marks of a hero, he is constantly faced with challenges that seem insurmountable, he struggles to overcome them, he creates a team around him that loves and supports him, and he never gives up, no matter what happens. And a lot happens.
Joseph Campbell talks about something he calls The Hero’s Journey in his book “The Hero with a Thousand Faces”. He describes how there are classic stories or myths that exist in every culture across history. These stories follow a certain sequence of events – and the first thing that happens is “The Call to Adventure”.
This is the moment when an ordinary person is summoned to participate in a greater destiny. She is asked to leave her normal life and go into the unknown – usually with the goal of attaining some great treasure, or of saving humanity.
In these stories, if she accepts the call to adventure, she must willingly cast herself onto a path that is uncharted, treacherous, filled with obstacles, and where the future is uncertain. She is human, and does not have super powers, so she confronts her doubts, fears, and vulnerabilities as she journeys. At some point, she encounters a trial so great that she believes, for a moment, that all is lost and that the endpoint is unreachable.
That moment, when she finds a way to rise from her deepest doubts and fears, and believe in herself and act with confidence – that is when she fully becomes the hero. That is when we cheer the loudest, because we all know those places of doubt inside of ourselves. We want her to make it – not just for the story, but for us. She helps us believe that the impossible is possible.
I got to thinking about health challenges and what would happen if we were to transform them from frustrating, scary, bad situations into a heroes journey. We could do the same thing with our health as our typical hero does in life. Begin by being faced with a health challenge– it could be Hashimoto’s, fatigue, anxiety, sleep problems, or even Lyme disease – Some health challenges seem insurmountable, they go on and on, and they cause us to feel awful. Be committed to getting well, no matter what, look for the best people to help you. Find a team of healers and family to help you get through it. Do everything in your power to heal your body and move forward.
If you embark on a heroic healing journey, immediately it becomes a call to adventure. Everything changes in that moment. A hero has a certain grit, and determination that drives her to continue. In my next blog, I’ll share with you the three elements to a Heroic Healing Journey.