The Hero’s Journey

Two weeks ago I was nestled in a Starbucks in Denver, slamming back coffee and jabbing away at my keyboard. A man in his forties–presumably homeless and later confirmed–asked to bum a cigarette off of me, most likely because of my unkept hair and bohemian attire. I don’t smoke, so I was of no help.

About thirty minutes later the same man stumbles back towards me again; this time proceeding to squat down across from me. He claimed he was in need of an outlet, despite the rest of the cafe being vacant. Whatever, I thought, carrying on with making headway on my story. This man, with scruffy facial features and blood-shot eyes, yapped away into his sob story, indirectly attempting to hustle a few dollars for the bus or–now that I think about it–a pack of cigarettes. I listened and then continued back with my work.

A few minutes of silence floated by and he asked me what I was working on. I told him, then he informed me he was a poet, spitting out some titles which I wasn’t familiar with. Well, one thing advanced to the next and the next moment we’re admiring great writers from the past, sharing great fondness. He suggested a book to checkout; I jotted it down, unfamiliar with the title and artist. The conversation subsided and he departed for the bathroom. I wrapped things up, tossed a few dollar bills on the table, and carried on my way.

Well, that man–didn’t catch his name–put me on to Joseph Campbell, and the title of the book was The Power of Myth. Campbell was a mythologist, lecturer, writer, and coined the phrase: “Follow Your Bliss.” Campbell emphasized the hero’s journey, which each person has the opportunity to explore. It’s a call to something–most likely unknown–but there’s an urge to follow it. It’s akin to our intuition guiding us to the next phase of our life. In my case, I recently moved myself, my life, and all of my precious belongings to San Francisco. I don’t have a job, moreover, I’m not certain what I will soon do for work. Nevertheless, something drew me out here. There’s a reason I’m here. Yes, my girlfriend lives out here, but I feel I will be aligning with the next piece of my life.

For instance, last spring I possessed the urge to sell shirts at festivals. I plunged into the investment and rambled out to the midwest by myself. Subsequently, at the first festival I met my current girlfriend. I had no expectations, but an impulse to act on.

Joseph Campbell said, “If you can see your path laid out in front of you step by step, you know it’s not your path. Your own path you make with every step you take. That’s why it’s your path.” I identified that at my previous employment and in turn, jumped off it. And at the moment, my future is in no way etched out, which is somewhat daunting. But after all, it should be: this is my own path.

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3 thoughts on “The Hero’s Journey

  1. I haven’t read any Joseph Cambell myself, but I’ve heard quite a few people talk about his ideas. The notion of a hero’s journey is truly inspiring. It reminds me a lot of The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho, though he uses the term “personal legend.”

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Exactly, they both deliver the same message. The Alchemist is one of my favorites as well. You should check out the Power of Myth documentary series online or the book, which is just transcripts of the series. Hope all is well in Spain, keep up with the vlogs and photos–you got some nice shots

      Liked by 1 person

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