The good life is a process. It is a direction, not a destination.
With all that’s going on for you right now, it seems hard to imagine that better times lie ahead. Actually, you have taken the first step toward better times by searching out someone like me. Whatever caused you to do this search represents a call to action, or “call to adventure,” on what many describe as a hero’s Journey.* You find this Journey theme throughout stories in history, folklore, mythology, religious ritual, movies, and theories of psychological development all around the world. Believe it or not, according to those stories, your life is unfolding according to plan. That’s the good news. And, there is no bad news!
I use the Hero’s Journey theme because it serves as a guide for successful passage through the many stages of life. Many Heroes, such as yourself, initially refuse the call to adventure until they meet a mentor, or what I call an Expert Guide, to guide them on their Journey. That’s where I come in. I have been down this road with many people and by myself as well.
Using the theme of a Hero’s Journey, let’s look at your life and see how it has gone thus far and how it might go in the future:
Ordinary World. You start out your Journey in the normal world, with all the usual stress, anxiety, and sadness, plus excitement, happiness, and joy that most people experience. For the most part, you handle this just fine.
Call to Adventure. Something happens that shakes up your life, either from the outside or the inside. You must face the possibility of a need for change. Let’s say you come home one night and your spouse or partner tells you they want out. Or, your boss tells you that you’re fired. Or, you receive a life-threatening diagnosis from your doctor. Or, you wake up in the middle of the night feeling empty, fearful, and hopeless. Or, … well, I could go on and on. There are many more examples of Calls to Adventure. But you get the idea. Take a moment now to think about what has shaken you up recently. Does it involve a Relationship Journey? Does it involve a Trauma Journey? What do you think your Call to Adventure might be?
Refusing the Call. You recognize the call but you decide to tough it out by “stuffing it down” (I have done this many times). Or, you seek out medication from your doctor so you don’t feel the call anymore (I have done this, too). Or, you don’t really know what to do about the call, so you suffer in silence. Or, your mind or body won’t let you recognize the call at all (“I’m fine”). In your case, you have started to answer the call by coming to this website.
Meeting the Mentor. You contact someone like me, a mentor or Expert Guide, who helps you understand the Journey, confirms that you are capable, and guides you on your path.
Crossing the Threshold. Once you have a better idea of what to expect along the way, you commit to proceed on your Journey and work on your issues with me as your companion along the way.
Allies and Enemies. You fairly quickly figure out (because they’ll let you know) who wants you to get better and who does not, each for their own reasons. With my help, you decide what to do about that.
Approach. We work together to develop an approach that works for you in every possible way. I call this a “Psychotherapy of One’s Own.” This way, after a while and when you feel ready, you can use this approach on your own.
The Ordeal. As the name implies, this will be the hard part. You come to terms with whatever bothers you and, with my help, figure out what to do about it.
The Reward. You begin to see and feel improvement in your situation, making changes where necessary and feeling better about yourself. Life begins to feel different to you, lighter and more joyful. There are many examples of Rewards.
The Road Back. You decide, with my help if you want it, when you feel ready to slow down the process. We get you prepared for your new life outside the therapy process.
Resurrection. You decide that it is, in fact, time to stop our process and go on by yourself.
Returning with the Treasure. You feel strong enough to help others because you have been through the Journey and know it can be done.
*The Hero’s Journey theme, also called the Monomyth, was discovered by Joseph Campbell, a mythologist, after he read every story he could get his hands on from all around the world. He sums up this theme in his book, The Hero With a Thousand Faces.
Copyright 2014 Daniel J. Metevier