Your life is “A Hero’s Journey.”

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“Thinking in Mythological terms helps to put you in accord with the inevitables of this vale of tears. You learn to recognize the positive values in what appear to be the negative moments and aspects of your life. The big question is whether you are going to be able to say a hearty yes to your adventure.” Joseph Campbell

Joseph Campbell is one of my life’s heroes. The wisdom and insight that he gained though a lifetime of studying Mythologies from around the world has deeply influenced my thinking and perspective on life. In fact, it was his work that lead me to the grad school I am studying at, Pacifica Graduate Institute. Luckily for me they have all of his private library and archives of his personal papers!

Not everyone agrees with me regarding Joseph Campbell, usually you love him or hate him. Imagine that! In the tall Ivory towers of academia there are those who disagree with Campbell. The range of emotions begins with disgruntled scholars and runs the gamete through those who are dismissive of his theories, to down right hatred of the man. (They are, I believe, angry that he is so popular and he abandoned academia! When he found his passion and his advisors would not let him change his Ph.d. focus, he went off and followed his passion.)

Envy is a dangerous thing.

Within Mythology is the beginning of all stories. All narrative, novels, films, even the art of the pre-written cultural tradition of storytelling. It all begins with the Mythologies humans created or learned from the world around us. Mythologies give us an understanding of the world, the cosmos and our place in it.

If you haven’t read amy Campbell yet, I suggest you start with The Power of Myth  or The Hero with a Thousand Faces and find your way from there. We are each heroes on our own journey to becoming fully who we can be. It is up to us to walk out the door and find the paths to follow, with passion and dedication. Each life is made of of many large and small hero journeys, and it is not all flowers and sunshine, but if you meet the hard times head on and venture into the unknown spaces, it is often there that you will find the treasure you seek.

Through mythology and it’s Archetypes, we can see that we are not alone. The course of a life has built into it– stages and rites of passage– that are both thrilling and terrifying- everyone who lives, must pass through them. It is truth of the human journey from womb to tomb. We are all in this together. The only question is, will you say yes to your adventure?

Starved by the Mundane

Carpinteria, CA Sunset

I need more time in nature. I need to make-take more time to feed my soul with the heady scents of ocean mist, warm pine, cooling eucalyptus, cabbage roses, new mown grass, and the living earth after the rain.

I need more time in nature to feel the teasing breeze, the gauntlet of wind flying down the canyon with dust for the sea, the spongy step of cool lawn, or shifting sand, hot, hurried and promising, on the way to waves; their rush and roar eternal, as I dive under the back-breaker rolling over me, to pop up, laughing and sputtering with my kids, on a day at the beach.

I need more time in nature and fewer dishes.

I need more time in nature and less cleaning.

I need more time in nature, a sky-full, a cup-full, a breath-full, a mouth-full, a heart-full a day.

I have been starved by the mundane in living.

Today, now, for one day I can do anything.

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Ah, ha! I have had an “ah, ha” moment and I wanted to share it with you in the hope that it may help you too!

It may sound simple and I’m sure you have heard it before…but I just got

“One day at a time.”

Have you really heard it, really deeply? I just did and I plan to hold on to the resounding peal of freedom it has brought to my thinking. No, I did not go to a meeting, no I do not belong to AA or OA or NA, though they all got it a long time ago, if they work their program.

Ok, let’s get to it. I have a really busy life with its fair share of stress, ranging from teenagers, my grad school demands, paying bills, relationships, and on and on. I’m no different than many modern parents and yet……I kept circling back in my mind, trying to wrestle solutions forward into my life, that don’t need to be achieved TODAY.

Even while working on one issue, I would be positing all the possible solutions to my problems, my kids problems, my family problems my financial challenges, health problems and more, all at the same time, jumping from one to the other trying to chart the best course of action in all cases. I want to help my family and myself get the most out of life and have the best experiences possible. Every mother does, well most mothers do, well I do.

I don’t know what angel whispered in my ear to change course, but this former path left me exhausted and stressed and worried, always worried. Actually, I think it was last weekend with my family. Due to a number of long circumstances that I won’t bore you with, I realized that I had to make some changes in my life. If I don’t want back pain the most pro-active thing I can do is lose weight and get in better shape. If my back doesn’t have to support so much weight, it may feel better and if my abs do half the work, that may help too. Sounds simple until…… you realize, “Oh God, I have to go on a diet.” I love food and wine…………….. Dang it.

I had made a list of all the readings, papers and projects I had to prepare by the end of the grad quarter. It was long. But I thought, well I can only get done in a day what I can get done, the rest will roll over into tomorrow, which when I get there- will be that today….or now.

This was leading to what I’m studying in Grad School- the Eternal Now… that all we have is Now, the past is gone the future doesn’t exist. Simple, you say. Yes of course all we have is now…. but really think about it. Today is now. I can do anything for one day. Today.

I can do, or follow up and take care of what must be done Today.

I can go to the gym for One day.

I can eat healthy food for One day.

I can do my reading for One day.

WOW. By breaking it all down, ALL OF IT into One day, today, now… I can focus on what must be done today. What doesn’t have to be done today, or the problem that can’t be solved today (because law school is in the fall, tuition is in the fall, the deadlines for scholarships are not TODAY) those will fall to another day, another today, but not now.

This realization has magically transformed my thinking. It doesn’t mean that I won’t spend some productive time planning or thinking about the future, but I will spend more time in the now and focus on each day as it is and with what can be done.

I can do anything for one day, after all one day is a very short time to be on a nutritional and exercise plan.  I am going to seriously work on taking life one day at a time, and live in the now. Every day I wake up and say, I can go to the gym for one day, today is only one day . Get the idea?

A thousand pounds of worry and “what if” just dropped off my back, won’t you join me?

xxoo

Andrea