I've been thinking for a few years about writing a book for women about Joseph Campbell's Journey of the Hero, but hip & irreverent and aimed at helping us transform our lives, find deeper meaning, sustain us through the depletion of motherhood, etc.
A new book comes close: Jim Gordon, MD's Unstuck: Your Guide to the Seven-Stage Journey Out of Depression. But many women won't read it because it's about depression, so I still need to write my book.
In the meantime, let's talk about that seven-stage trip of the heroine. Here it is, paraphrased from Joe Campbell (who discerned these steps from scriptures and myths) and Jim Gordon, MD.
- The Call: Awareness that we need to change, not in a small way but a huge way. We realize we're 20-50 pounds overweight. We get diagnosed with pre-cancer of the breast. We tired of being chronically overwhelmed and overbusy. We can't take another day of PMS. Some kind of journey is ahead.
- Guides: Finding and selecting those who can help, can augment our recovery; those people that provide synergy to the development of our own intuition and inner wisdom.
- Surrender to Change: Figuring out what we need to let go more fully, how to take off the shoes that are too tight and get a pair that actually serve you....
- Demon Facing: How do we identify the challenges - the reasons we overeat, the reasons we don't nurture ourselves, the reasons we overschedule. Perfectionism, being ruled by the inner authoritarian, the erosive effects of resentment. Identifying through this process "the unique daimon, the source of our own meaning, purpose and direction," according to Jim Gordon, MD.
- The Dark Night of the Soul: the only way to heal the pain is to go straight through it - as Jim writes, "Allowing and inviting the deepest life-giving freedom to emerge as we move through the despair that may come to any of us."
- Spirituality: The Blessing - this is the realization that a power greater than ourselves can restore us to sanity and transform our lives. Does not require belief in God, can be a belief in Unity, Peace, Higher Self, or whatever your conception of a higher power is.
- The Return: Re-learning how to live abundantly, joyously, drunkenly alive once again, consciously connected to ourselves and others.