Hero’s Journey or Unmarked Path?

As you may recall, Prof. Joseph Campbell researched mythology throughout many cultures. He noted a common thread weaving through some of those stories that he named the Hero’s Journey.

Campbell’s hero responded to a call to adventure that separated him from what was safe or familiar. Then the hero was repeatedly challenged and put to the test while his allies appeared just in time with a narrow escape.

After sufficient testing, the hero finally captures the prize. Then comes the triumphant return of our hero who then shares the wisdom he gained from his adventure with his reunited loved ones.

Contrasting the Hero’s Journey is The Unmarked Path.

Both journeys have recognizable signposts and both represent the growth process of a human being. But, the Unmarked Path is not about a fictional hero; it’s about a very real you.

It’s about your journey, and begins with you living a just a normal life. It’s good, but at some point, you recognize that some things need to change. Sometimes it’s just a feeling.

The two extreme responses would have you dramatically sever ties and leap away, or sit passively until life changes things for you. Real life happens somewhere in the middle. In any case, and sometimes gradually, there is an End to Normal and you find yourself in the Lake of Unknowing.

When you’re in the Lake of Unknowing, you’re trying to understand what your life is about. Do I really want to live here? Do I really want to be doing this kind of work? Sometimes, you just go through the motions during the day because your mind is so taken by this new task. Like a 3 year old, you are relentless in your questioning.

You’re finding the grain in your own wood. You’re learning to water your roots. You’re learning to direct your efforts toward generating fruits of your labor.   You’re learning to give back.

That is how Metamorphosis occurs – you emerge from the lake the same person, only more authentically you. You have a grip. Things aren’t perfect, but you’re not stalled by your natural fears. You know your limits, but you are willing to go past your fears or circumstances to extend your reach.

You are eager to Explore. You’re curious about how your discovery of newfound talents or passions might benefit the world.   You are filled with a new energy that leaves you lighthearted and enthusiastic, and endlessly curious.

Sometimes, the exploring uncovers a need so tender and so perfect for your talent and heartfelt nature that you plant your Stake in the Ground. Here is where your true work lies. Your devotion is finally greater than your resistance.

Please remember, your stake is not planted in a field of daisies with little birdies chirping in the background. Putting your Stake in the Ground means digging through the boulders and hardscrabble ground to plant your flag. This effort can take many years and can be incredibly challenging and satisfying.

And you do it! Your cry was heard, and now your life is operating at a different level, your activities become routine, and it slowly begins to feel …. Normal.

Until you don’t feel normal anymore – then it’s time for another stroll down your Unmarked Path. Only this time, you know what’s going on, you’ve been here before and already know how to navigate your emotions, and you get through it faster.

The key at any stage is to make progress. You make progress when you get into action.  The Field Guide Program will get you into action and you will make progress!  Sign up now!

And leave a comment below to tell others where you are along your path!


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