Free Call for You
Join best selling author, Dr. Lissa Rankin, and me on March 14 for a FREE one-hour Q & A Call on the Hero and Heroine’s Journey. Lissa’s recently released book, Anatomy of a Calling, focuses on mythologist Joseph Campbell’s archetypal hero’s journey as a map for finding and fulfilling your calling, while my upcoming course, Feminosity, reimagines the hero’s journey through the lens of the feminine, offering a radical new view of personal fulfillment, romantic love, and visionary leadership, no matter what your current circumstances.
As I prepare to lead my new course, Feminosity, I’ve been diving back into my signature work, the Heroine’s Journey. Creating the course curriculum and preparing for my upcoming call with Lissa, I’ve started thinking about the reclamation of the sacred within women.
I created the Heroine’s Journey both in admiration of and in counterpoint to one of my graduate school professors, Joseph Campbell, a mythology scholar who articulated and popularized “the hero’s journey,” a series of transformative stages that leads to greater self-awareness and mastery.
There are no shortages of heroes in our culture. However, they are NOT the heroes that Joseph pointed to exactly. A hero on his journey is celebrated because he has a deep encounter with the sacred within himself, and as a result, takes restorative actions on behalf of the world as a fully initiated man. Instead, our modern day heroes bypass this essential step in the journey to self. They don’t operate from the sacred; instead, they are driven by the profane, the original word meaning “outside the temple” or the house of the holy, a place of profound interconnectivity. Think ego identified. It’s about ME against whatever stands between me and success.
From Mission Impossible to James Bond, we are saturated with images and stories of the hero bravely sacrificing himself to embark on a solo journey to beat the bad guys. Even many of the women we look to as heroes follow this template for how to attain prestige, pay, and success, from Katniss in The Hunger Games to Sheryl Sandberg in her book, Lean In. Our hero has traded the shiny illumination of his or her soul for the ego’s pursuit of fame, power, money, and consumer goods.
How have we internalized the modern hero’s journey as women? Some of this may sound familiar:
going it alone
survival against all odds
fight or flight
how can I get what I want?
From the time we are little girls, we are consciously or unconsciously taught to put our own needs to the side while we slay the dragons in our lives, feeding our reliance on the modern hero archetype and suppressing the voice of the sacred feminine.
As a result, many women are living in a perpetual state of restlessness and fatigue caused by a crisis of imagination.
We long for timelessness, but feel the pressures of a ticking clock.
We long for deep restorative community, but feel disconnected and isolated from others.
We long for an expanded sensation of life, but are trapped in a sense of urgency that results in busy sickness.
Chronic exhaustion, frustration, health problems (especially those regarding hormonal imbalances and sexual health), and a persistent, nagging feeling of discontent are all signs that you are surviving off your inner modern hero rather than thriving as an initiated woman, a heroine tethered to her essence.
An over-identification with the modern hero archetype has become our collective destruction, costing us the world’s natural resources and unspeakable violence and war.
This over-identification creates the same destruction within you. Tearing yourself down with self-criticism. Holding yourself to unrealistic standards of perfection. Destroying the natural resources of your body by drinking too much, eating too much, working too much, and spending too much to experience the sensation of vastness that your soul craves as its natural state of being.
I can hear your question: how can I reclaim the sacred Heroine within me?
Try these on for size:
All are One
receiving from others
living in agreement with what is
living life as an open question
how can I serve the dream?
Did your body soften as you read those? Good – that sensation of softening is the experience of Feminosity.
Here’s a little exercise to illustrate the difference between over-identification with the modern hero and the awakening feminine, your inner glow or Feminosity:
Think of an event that broke your life in two: a breakup, divorce, or the loss of a job or loved one. This rupture was an activating event that led you into the shadowy waters of pain and suffering.
Remember how you dealt with it. Did you endure it alone or receive support from your community? Did you honor your feelings or resist them, hiding them from others and pretending everything was fine? Did you distract yourself by keeping busy? Or did you withdraw from life and stay in bed with your head under the covers? Did you try to move on before you were ready? Did you try to force your will until you were exhausted and spent? Did you try to hurt others or dominate them in order to get your way?
(This isn’t an exercise in self-judgment by the way – just remember your reactions, whatever they were, and note them with compassion.)
Now imagine reacting to that event guided by your grace.
Conscious actions of self care lead to new states of self awareness and insights.
Choosing to surrender to “what is” and dying a necessary death of “what was”, replaces efforts to control and manipulate and resist what is being called into your life through real or perceived loss.
You refuse to play the victim and move into transparency, using the action and power of your vulnerability to embody your wholeness in every moment. You can be who you are without denying the truth of your reality.
Participating as a vulnerable observer, allowing yourself to be re-made by the painful circumstances, becomes your greatest protection. You courageously embrace every face of what you’re feeling, despite any cultural judgement, and receive soothing contact and assistance from others.
Receiving from others nourishes the roots of your soul. You allow yourself to be nurtured, leading you to a final space of action in which you experience a profound emotional and spiritual restoration.
You move forward in life with new attitudes, perspectives, and outward movement. A deep sense of purpose assembles itself within you. Acts of beauty and power made of your grit and grace stand in the world as a reflection of your spiritual magnificence.
You invite and awaken through your subtle body. You initiate yourself into a spiritually maturing woman and as a result re-member yourself into the living embodiment of the Heroine.
In this way of being, life’s events and suffering have a purpose, and their healing intentions are amplified. Through curiosity and community, a story of loss turns into a story of reclamation.
This framework for living is entirely possible for each and every one of us. If you want to learn more, I encourage you to join Lissa and I for a further inquiry and discussion of the awakening woman within you in our FREE Q&A Call on March 14th, 2016.
In psyche and spirit,