Pandemic....our own personal "hero's journey."




"The cave you fear to enter holds the treasure you seek"....Joseph Campbell


Joseph Campbell a great American professor and philosopher once recognized in all stories told, mythological one's, as well as, modern day movies, a particular pattern emerged in each. He called it the 'Hero's Journey." In the pattern he identified three primary stages in all. Each of the primary characters within the story seemed to face separation, and invitation to adventure, and then a glorious return with new found strength, hope, and conquered fear.


This is demonstrated and probably more easily describable in the movie The Wizard of Oz. Dorothy, who is knocked into a deep sleep, is separated from her family in her dream, where she must confront many of her own personal fears or character flaws, as in the famously enduring characters such as the Cowardly Lion lacking courage, the Tin Man without a heart, the Scarecrow without a brain, the all fearing Wicked Witch of the West, and the all powerful Wizard of Oz himself. The adventure she embarks on depicts the very emotional qualities or characteristics for which she struggles with in her everyday life.


So you ask, how does this relate to our pandemic situation for which we are experiencing today? I have personally seen the emotions, as well as felt my own, during this unprecedented experience in all of our lives today. It begins our own personal "hero journey" and we are the creators of our own stories today within it. The social distancing, isolation, and influences we see in the news, social media, and the "new" life for which we are experiencing at home either alone or with our loved ones (or not so loved right now) has us traveling down our own "yellow brick road" so to speak.


Each of us are dealing with different emotions on our personal journey through this Pandemic. Some are operating more from fear as in the Cowardly Lion. Some are dealing with it intellectually as in the Scarecrow looking for a brain, and many of us are feeling it in our hearts as with the Tin Man without a heart. Even though all are described as lacking these particular organs, the characteristics of what each organ represents is glaringly apparent for all to see. Which characteristics of yourself are you playing out in your Pandemic journey as Dorothy today? Is it more from the heart, the brain, or fear?


Now of course, we cannot forget the invaluable Wizard of Oz, who hold all the answers to how to get home. Nor the interference of the Wicked Witch of the West, who is hell bent on not only destroying her own sister, but also Dorothy and her new found friends too. Another question I have asked myself is during this Pandemic situation is who is my "wicked witch" within my own personal daily journey today and who is my Wizard of Oz who knows the right answers on how to lead me home?


Without labeling any path as a better path than another, if we learn to embrace all of characteristics of the heart, mind, and especially our thoughts/fears, we will learn more about who we are as individuals. Are you more in your intellectual minded, researching information about the virus? Or are you more fear based and worried that somehow you might catch this virus, give it to someone you love, or are you more heart based feeling intense feelings of empathy for those ill or possibly dying from this type of flu?


We are all the characters within this personal "hero's" journey written by Mother Earth herself. The separation, call to adventure, and our return to normalcy (far wiser and stronger) depicted in all human stories, myths, or movies, and discovered by Joseph Campbell, is our story today. The story may not be a new one yet we are new to the role of Dorothy. We all have the characteristics of the Tin Man, Scarecrow, Cowardly Lion. We all have our "Wicked Witch" within our lives today, and we all feel there is a "Wizard of Oz" who holds the key to our return to life as we knew it. The bottom line is that it is our "personal" journey within the Hero's journey of every story. And this is a story. And we hold each of these characters within ourselves.....including the almighty Wizard of Oz.


I think the Pandemic has given us a golden opportunity to look at various aspects of our lives today. What was working for us BP (Before Pandemic) and what wasn't. Today is the perfect day, and the upcoming days ahead, to dive in head first to examine the things we want to keep in our lives, the things we want to make better, and the things for which we must leave behind. May we do so as peacefully and painlessly as possible. Life is good! And so it is!

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