Refusal of the Call
The call to adventure is a person, internal feeling or idea, event, often a completely random occurrence which, if heeded or listened to, leads inevitably on a different path away from the current conditions of one’s suffering towards one filled with greater personal meaning. The call to adventure is a call to change, setting down an old identity and picking up a new one, or accepting that identity will never get us anywhere. This path is a spiritual one, loosely defined, coming from some internal lacking due to the current circumstances we may find ourselves at varying times. Often the call comes during a time of personal crisis or otherwise some lack of meaning or difficulty in life such as an unhappy job or marriage or wanting to break from addiction.
It leads us somewhere more meaningful, perhaps through a different vocation, creative pursuit, or spiritual undertaking; always leading us both within, deep into the unconscious and without, as we actualize life in a meaningful direction by taking action. As we undertake the call we face an internal world of anguish and suffering through a slow, continual process of facing our own darkness and Shadow. In integrating it we then transform that dark side as internal energy into outward energy resulting a new, more personally constructive direction. The call leads us to gradually integrate Matter and Spirit, the disconnected human psyche
However, the call to adventure can be nebulous, abstract, and obscure, hard to see, since generally before the call can be taken we find ourselves stuck amid the refusal of the call. This means that to begin taking life in a more gratifying direction, we first find ourselves stuck somewhere, lost, adrift in the Mind Prison. In other times we take the call—say, undertaking a writing project or starting to volunteer somewhere during free time—but then shortly thereafter reject the call, returning back to the safe, comfortable world of what is familiar or known, giving in to fear. Although the call to adventure is where the fun of life begins, the refusal of the call is in some sense more important, since this is the place humans can and often do remain lost within for years at a time, or even for the rest of our lives.
Stepping out from our own refusal of the call requires courage rather than remaining stuck within our protective bubbles.
The Many Obstacles to Starting the Hero’s Journey
If the refusal of the call can be summed up easily, it is the refusal to change when everything around us tells us we should change. It being beholden to fear. This means setting aside an old, no longer useful way of being or identity, and adopting something more useful for the present. The Hero’s Journey is a process of death and rebirth, and the refusal of the call is a refusal to kill one identity and begin a new one. Eventually, taken to completion, the Hero’s Journey is the complete eradication of identity to simply be.
Refusal of the Call as Life of Ease and Comfort
If you have ever forced yourself or been forced involuntarily into a situation outside of your comfort zone, then perhaps you can understand why taking the call to adventure is so hard and the refusal of the call becomes so easy to be trapped in. In adulthood, being uncomfortable is something we naturally shy away from because it not only challenges us in ways we cannot anticipate, but requires our brain to take in new information and learn. The older we get, the more we tend to cling onto the past of our lives, an illusion, something already gone. Learning new information has often meant a great level of resistance within as though my brain naturally veers away from that opportunity.
Instead of being uncomfortable, we humans tend to act like Bilbo Baggins in The Hobbit, in which he clings to his sweetcakes and idyllic life in the lush village of Hobbiton. This could be understandable in some sense, particularly if our life seems acceptable, or seemingly not as bad as it could be. To step away from the safe harbors of home involves a tremendous level of fear and uncertainty, requiring courage to do so. Given that life at home may seem ok, even if not perfect, it can be easy to understand why the refusal of the call is so alluring and easy; the idea that something better awaits is abstract and often unbelievable, particularly as we get older. Thus, why not remain where we are, waiting to die?
In modern American life, the refusal is extremely easy—indeed, it is the easy path through life—since our lives are like an escalator. Finish school, get a job you may not like and marry someone who isn’t perfect but is good enough. Eat food we don’t have to struggle to obtain, do what we are told by others, and don’t ask too many questions of whatever else comes after life: death. We live in a metaphorical Hobbiton, with our cares largely taken care of if only we agree to work as some often menial job. Yet all jobs are menial, no work has meaning or is gratifying, so I have often been told by others, so why not take this path? Does it even matter?
The hobbit’s life truly is nice, yet in their lives and our lives, are we sure there is not some looming monster just beyond the corn fields or mountains or stupefying pipeweed, some rising darkness?
Refusal of the Call as Fear
Being trapped in the refusal of the call, away from actualizing our life, is just as often an issue of fear. In some sense fear of the unknown keeps hobbits in their hobbit holes, and it keeps us in our safe harbors. Fear means being challenged to change something about ourselves. It can also mean having courage to make that change, or face whatever it is within holding us back. Fear is like the cowardly lion, who does not have courage and must find it during his journey with Dorothy to the Wizard of Oz.
Often, humans are most often afraid of uncertainty, of change. Or, for others, it is fear of facing something within constantly being shoved away: our dark sides, our Shadow.
Refusal of the Call as Life of Addiction
Perhaps the common material form of refusal in the American and whole modern world is that of the infinite distractions we have with which to fill our time. These exist as though time were something to be filled, boredom something to be satiated. A distraction, in other words, is an addiction of the senses, a sensual pleasure of the material world to the abandonment of the spiritual unconscious world which we cannot experience when we succumb to material pleasure. Among the many addictions we have today are technology, alcohol, various drugs, food, coffee, being busy bodies or workaholics, or codependent relationships. We are also addicted to ourselves.
We are all addicts, of one form or many. This is not a criticism but a reality of modern human existence. Whether we can eliminate all addictions from our lives is questionable, yet we can try to control them. Perhaps the purpose of seeing addiction is to simply acknowledge that it exists as a problem at times, a distraction from whatever is in our life that is important. The Middle Way, which is the outcome of the Hero’s Journey, is the mid point between the two extremes of complete self-indulgence, a life of addiction, and asceticism, which is complete abstention from anything which could create pleasure. The Middle Way means no longer being completely enslaved by our addictions.
The purpose of seeing addictions as endemic to the refusal is not to simply give up everything in life which can be addicting, but rather to see those addictions for what they are. This requires an honest reckoning in the mirror—admitting we are addicted to this or that—such that they do not control our lives so completely and prevent us from moving forward in meaningful ways. In acknowledging them, addictions have slightly less control over daily life. Otherwise, addictions keep us immersed in our unhappy circumstances as we toil away at miserable jobs, miserable marriages, or other miserable conditions just to return home for the next fix.
On another level, unless you are some magical Drunken Master or Wise Stoner—it’s unlikely: trust me, I’ve tried—an addiction is a coping mechanism for life. In coming home from a miserable job, facing an unhappy marriage, a cure for boredom, or mindless time filler, physical addictions prevent us from taking the call by preventing us from finding the call, or seeing it. When we are addicts, our minds are constantly returning to the time and place and person we think we are, where we can once again fill our empty vessel full of inebriating effects to alleviate the misery of the day. An addiction, in the most broad sense, prevents change.
Yet addictions are the path most often trod, following the group, the majority of those around us:
“The mass of men live lives of quiet desperation.” – Henry David Thoreau
“Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it.” – Matthew 7:13
Many Types of Addictions
While alcohol and drugs are obvious forms of addiction, there are many more pernicious kinds we can easily be blind to. Among the most prevalent are food, which puts us further into the mind into a kind malaise. This, I suspect, is a form of refusal of the call for a great many. Sugar does this especially. In other ways we are attached to others in our lives through co-dependent relationships, because often others fill a comfortable emotional niche we didn’t get from one parent or both. Typically this is the person we partner up with or marry, a carryover of the Oedipus Complex. In other ways it may be destructive friendships, a kind of underlying peer pressure to fit in. Yet for others it is the dark side of technology used as a crutch, not a tool.
On a far more pernicious level, we are also addicted to the ego, the false persona we project ourselves into the world as being. Taken into aggressive internal or external directions, this is the id; taken into grandiose directions, constantly trying to save others, this is the superego, the spiritual ego. Yet, this projection is a lie and illusion, but we are so easily addicted to it all the same. This addiction is holding onto the person we were yesterday, and results in a denial of changing ourselves when the world or circumstances tells us we should change.
Technology as Refusal of the Call
Consider that a mere 100 years ago radios were just entering the mainstream. 70 years ago, almost nobody had a television—now they are ubiquitous, and many likely have several. Consider also that 25 years ago, a scant few households had the internet—now, the internet is found in increasingly microscopic forms as smartphones in every hand and household. Prior to these inventions, humans would have had little choice but to interact with each other and tell stories, look inwards into their own persons, or read books. Now, we could spend the rest of our lives immersed in other worlds if we chose, the worlds of YouTube Streamers, vain reality TV stars, or constantly listening to loud music. These are all distractions from the call to adventure.
In our rapidly changing world, technology represents perhaps the most deceptive refusal of the call, particularly for men who so easily remain lost within its tempting embrace. Technology can be a clear form of a refusal of the call because it represents an easy means to coast through life, to spend our time living others’ lives. In television we literally watch others’ stories through reality television or serial dramas which replay the case mystery or poorly written romantic charade week after week. Social Media is reality television taken to extremes.
By mindlessly consuming technology we never have to question something deep within: the reason we are alive, the great project or projects of our lives we might wish to undertake. Doing nothing outwardly directed with our lives is refusal of the call. We cannot take the call to adventure if we remain enslaved to our boredom, constantly seeking pleasure from without. God, Consciousness, lies within, and thus we must journey within to find it. Nor can proper psychological development occur—bridging the right and left hemispheres of Spirit and Matter, respectively. Without proper psychological development, we will similarly remain frozen in fear by our eventual physical death. This is all well and good as long as we remain on Pleasure Island; yet one day we will die and the consequences of a life poorly lived, selfishly lived, come full circle.
The Middle Way of Technology
Technology is not all bad, and I have found myself quite often in a hypocritical situation given that others encourage me to share my writing or to write for my own personal growth and healing. This often leads to an egotistical view that I have something to say beyond the mindless mass of image-focused information otherwise available online. I feel an extremely strong push and pull towards/away from technology since it distracts me from interacting with people on a personal level, yet it is by far the most effective means to communicate a message of meaning or philosophy or my story. Indeed, we all have something to share: our personal stories. Yet, how many actually tell those stories, and how many instead just play video games all day, binge watch television all weekend, or watch mindless, uninformative YouTube videos? In this sense, technology can be a refusal of the call for a great many, as it has been for me.
Television and movies and the internet can at once also be informative by showing us myths and thus windows into our own psyches and soul. Consider Game of Thrones, West World, Rome, True Detective, or other shows which express a Hero’s Journey narrative. Harry Potter, Star Wards, and Disney movies, particularly older ones, are also great at showing us this window into how to live our lives through the Hero’s Journey. The internet also provides access to a world rich in personal discovery and understanding, should we use it that way.
Technology used for personal actualization is a tool. This is taking the Middle Way, between self-indulgence at one extreme—giving into base desire—and asceticism at the other, which is kicking it completely out of our lives. It is something to connect us rather than divide us, to actualize our personal truths rather than feed the Ego. Rather than only reading other people’s opinions, start writing your story, start sharing it with others, whether that be on Taileaters or YouTube or your own blog or website.
Consequences of the Refusal of the Call
Around mid-life for many, earlier for some, we begin to question the reason for having lived however we lived up to now: this is the mid-life crisis. With life half over, we may start to wonder whether it is just a slow slide into oblivion or whether something greater actually ever existed. Carried forward towards the end, we build epithets of regret. Although regret may be for the wrongs we’ve committed to others or ourselves, it is more so about not having righted those wrongs in some manner. Regret is also about not having left some meaningful legacy beyond greed and consumption or made some lasting emotional impact on others through Love-filled deeds or actualized forms of creativity.
In some sense this will be the look on our face we all wear in the final repose, our dying breath. Will our death show dread or confident satisfaction? Whichever it is hinges upon however we lived this life.
On a personal level, I can attest to this final look with my own father. In saying our silent goodbyes, him unable to speak before he passed, he gave me a look that I can only describe as having a sense of pure fear and horror. I cannot know what he saw, but the look on his face reflecting the feeling within was unmistakably not a pleasant one. Knowing a little about his early life, at some point in his 20’s he stopped conducting extensive personal research in esoteric spiritual concepts and instead went with the group in order to fit in. For him this meant adhering to a Mormon faith that his early adult reading list indicates he clearly questioned. I cannot know why he did, perhaps his overbearing mother or simply wanting to fit in, yet it was a refusal of the call. As a result, he manifested outward anger and internal depression for much of the rest of his life.
My father had married a woman—my mother—who, around age 50, sought compromise in the marriage. He was unwilling to compromise and was stubborn, and so they divorced. This further refusal of the call resulted in him remarrying a Vampiress. Although it is common for children to view step-mothers as evil, this woman quite literally fed him into a malaise of dementia and destruction of his already diabetic condition with a poor diet filled with prescription drugs. The consequences of refusal of the call, in his case a simple matter of stubborn refusal to compromise, are extremely real. He gave up a Heroine and married a Monster.
Seeing my father’s life, I cling to avoiding the same outcome. In terms of the words of a Shaman I met, this means hopefully healing myself; in healing ourselves we “heal three generations forwards and backward.” This idea stems from the Great Law of the Iroquois.
Consequences as Monster
For others, the consequences are seen in the monsters we might become. The monster, the anti-hero, represents the refusal of the call, whereas the Hero represents heeding the call to adventure. If we drink ourselves to oblivion, remain enslaved to horrific diets or our bodies atrophy through never ending time in technology or drug addictions, we will certainly become our own metaphorical monsters.
For example, our unquenching desire for immortality or greed, fear of death, or even pure disregard for life, becomes the Vampire as we drain that life from others to feed ourselves. Give in endlessly to alcohol, cigarettes, heroin or meth or other hard drugs, and we will literally look like monsters inside and out as our bodies become consumed and we project cruelty and anger outwards which only others—not ourselves—can see. In this sense we may become a zombie or some other form of undead: the living dead. The living dead walk among us, but they have already died within, a refusal of the call.
The Medusa is a woman’s refusal of the call who cannot see her own reflection in the mirror; the snakes in her hair symbolize the many forms of darkness she is blind to. Similarly, a harpy is a woman who preys on men, harps or constantly badgers them; while a siren lures men to their doom upon the rocks through the seduction of her voice.
Monsters of Untamed Desire
The uncontrolled male libido, addicted to masturbation or pornography, becomes the Cyclops of the Odyssey. Worse, this person may exert that libido destructively upon women through various forms of violence. The cyclops represents a penis, given it is a one-eyed monster. The uncontrolled female libido, exerting control of men by taking advantage of their sexual impulses, becomes Circe the Witch casting spells to us in a circle or Calypso the Sex Nymph keeping men enslaved by primal lust.
A Succubus and incubus does similarly, feeding off of the life or sexual energies of males and females, respectively. The Rusalka and Vodyanoy, from Slavic mythology, are water spirits that lure those around us to a watery grave. We become the Vodyanoy and Rusalka because of our darkness, luring perhaps partners or friends to the same doom that has already befallen us, bringing others down to our level of despair. We bring others down by preying upon their base desires–a woman’s desire for children leads her to marry a tyrant; a man’s lustful desire for sex leads him to marry a witch.
The Minotaur is a man with the head of a bull—symbolizing, again, the uncontrolled male sexual desire—who feeds on young women sent into his labyrinth. The Minotaur is born out of the uncontrolled greed of King Minos, his father, who doesn’t listen to the sea god Poseidon.. The Hydra is the many headed serpent who, when one head of addiction is cut off, grows back more to replace it, symbolizing how we often just fill one addiction with another. Or, in becoming slaves to our addictions, we feed off of the energy of others as “Hungry Ghosts,” another form of living dead (Mate, 2010).
The list of analogies could go on endlessly, but one final metaphor is seen in the story of Pinocchio, whose father is swallowed up into the Belly of the Whale. This is what the refusal of the call does, in whatever way we refuse it; the darkness we are avoiding eventually swallows anyone. Only the innocence of the individual, Pinocchio in this case, can rescue someone who has been swallowed. Even then the Whale may swallow that other person too, drag them down with the Rusalka or to death on the Siren’s rocks.
The Monster as Projection
This discussion of monsters may seem conjectural, leading many to say “Well, I’m not a monster.” Yet the truth of reality is that we all project ourselves onto others, we project our own Shadow outwards onto others. This projecting prevents humans from seeing their true reflection in the mirror, the darkness within their hearts. It certainly has for me as I projected blame and resentment outwards for much of my life. I still do, but have slowly, often at a snail’s pace, gotten better at checking myself. Although sometimes we may be correct in seeing the Shadow of others, but the more that projection is tied to our emotions, the more it is our Shadow and not theirs.
Projection, in today’s world, might be someone experiencing great anger at Donald Trump for his ego, not realizing that they, too, have a huge ego. It might mean feeling an emotion or reaction towards someone else for something we perceive they did towards others or ourselves. In Carl Jung’s terms, projections are all the bad qualities about others that bother us and cause irritation or anger which we therefore cannot see in ourselves. Projections are our Shadow. With war we see projections nearly constantly, with our side as good and the other as bad, whereas the opposite see, and may be fully justified subjectively in seeing, that they are good and we are bad.
Other Examples of the Refusal
The Refusal of the Call is Pinocchio on Pleasure Island. It is Rip van Winkle being asleep in his long, 20 year slumber; or Snow White and Sleeping Beauty put to sleep under a spell, while life passes us by. For Dante, in Inferno, it is being lost in a metaphorical dark forest. Luke Skywalker, it is easy to forget, first refuses the call to adventure because “I can’t get involved, I’ve got work to do.” His refusal of the call, in some sense leads him to discover the destruction wrought upon his home, which he never would have realized had he simply accepted his call to adventure outright.
For Simba, the refusal of the call is Hakuna Matata, which is not being worried about anything in the world. It is like saying, “What does anything we do matter?”
In the Biblical story Cain and Abel, the refusal for Cain is succumbing to jealousy over his brother. Instead of accepting what is given to him, given to any of us through the arbitrary conditions of our life and moving forward, Cain kills his brother and is cursed as a result. Cain refused the call outright, the opportunity presented by God to accept his lot and actualize something into the world of men. This may seem a more extreme refusal of the call. But the refusal, in the real world, is extreme.
For some, refusal of the call means ending their own life. Having considered this choice in the past, I can empathize with this outcome since, for some, it comes by way of not having hope in life, any purpose or meaning. As well, those literal or symbolically homeless, either living under a bridge or not having a place where they fit in, represent real life examples one can see every day of the abject refusal of the call. The many forms of refusal existing in our modern world is why the Hero’s Journey is so important to me.
My Many Refusals
Having run repeatedly throughout my life, the refusal of the call is the step in the Hero’s Journey I am most familiar with. Up to and then leaving the Navy, I was immediately immersed in my first refusal of the call. Thus, since I was refusing before I knew how to begin, my sentiment at the beginning—that often we must first refuse the call before it can be found—was certainly true. My first refusal was playing online MMORPG’s—massively multiplayer online role-playing games—for up to 16 hours per day. This is not an exaggeration of the time I spent in refusal of the call each day. I continued to do so for almost a year until, finally, I hit rock bottom and realized there just had to be something more. I was trapped in an endless cycle of giving the addiction up and then returning, and only after a prayer, in the form of a supernatural aid, did the idea come to travel to a far off land and hitchhike come about.
In other times the refusal of the call appeared as I was isolated from others, which has been a great many times in my life. My isolation has always been self-imposed, a story fed to myself that others did not want me around. In all of those times of isolation, people would periodically come up to me with some offer or idea which, if heeded, would have led me out of my refusal of the call, my isolation. Such offers included friendship, if only I would have pursued it rather than waiting, invitations to groups or meetups or spiritual activities, or numerous invitations by veterans to get involved in something. These invitations would have involved volunteering and could have all led to meaningful activities, perhaps even jobs.
I often refused because I could not imagine that these people wanted me in their life, the result my inability to love myself and therefore accept love from others. Instead I sought love from substances, more technology, or other addictions. Another reason I often rejected these various calls was that they weren’t “perfect,” in the sense that each was not exactly what I felt I wanted to be doing. In hindsight, I would fall back upon wise words someone once told me: “When you don’t know what to do, do something.”
Helping Hands and Suggestions
At other times the refusal was a realization of what I could do in this world that would be meaningful, but denying myself from doing it for one reason or another. Generally this centered around a false belief that I had any talent to offer, wisdom to share, ability to actualize, or completely negative self-talk. For example, I learned in graduate studies that I had enough ability to write well enough to get decent grades–I knew my grammar and sentence structure was at least good enough in that sense. Then, I started writing from a personal standpoint on my blog while I undertook my first pilgrimage, to Santiago de Compostela. I enjoyed it and found that my writing, from my perspective, improved and became more natural over time. Thus, at some point I undertook the writer’s call to adventure, while simultaneously having the pilgrim’s call.
However, in coming home from that literal journey, I stopped writing altogether as I believed I had nothing to write about. Others around me, including a good friend Lee, my mother, and a few other friends, encouraged me to continue writing. Yet I refused to listen and instead preferred to adhere to my self-image—a destructive form of the Ego coming out through negative self-talk—by not writing anything. At this time I was living in a house which also represented my personal hell: being under the weight of an unbearable mortgage, a simultaneous descent into my own darkness and unconscious. I spent a great deal of this in my own kind of meditation, staring literally at walls or distracting myself through technology and addictions. Some time was also spent working in my garden and redoing the landscape, and so not all of it was spent delving inside my mind, which nonetheless felt like a prison for the year and a half I lived there.
In this way I had taken up one call as a writer on a pilgrimage, set it back down while in my house, and now seek to take it back up again.
Hesitation and Refusal of the Call
“Not all who wander are lost.” — JRR Tolkien
In my case of the house, I spent a year and a half immersed in my own darkness. Although this was technically a refusal of the call, it did not mean I was lost. No refusal of the call means we are fully lost, particularly when we are still searching for something. Hesitation, such as someone seemingly vacillating between choices, is an example of this. Perhaps this could be trying on different hats over the course of a year, spending months soul searching or reading books. Or it could be simply traveling around until some new idea sparks the imagination.
Hesitation then, searching, is actually a way of finding one’s call to adventure, but can seem like meaningless chaos to both ourselves and those who see us from the outside. When someone offers us something, and we hesitate, then perhaps it isn’t actually our call. The problem for the hesitator, the person trying on countless hats, may be that they are seeking from without an answer that can only be from within. Still, there is value in accepting offers of kindness if we are in refusal of the call. Just because it isn’t our call to accept an opportunity given us through a call to adventure, does not mean we cannot find our call at the same time as we explore the ideas of others. Indeed, this exploration can be essential for the person on their own path of self-discovery and purpose.
Breaking From the Refusal of the Call
Becoming unstuck in refusal of the call is not easy, particularly if we have mounting piles of addictions we rely upon or have been entrapped in mental health difficulties for years. The longer we are trapped in messes of our own making, the further we are from remembering that anything else used to be besides personal suffering. In some sense the key to leaving the refusal may come in the form of a supernatural aid, a kind person, some wise figure or message. For Neo, lost in computers, it was Morpheus who arrived. For Bilbo and Frodo, who were blindly immersed in pleasure while the world’s monster grew, it was Gandalf. For others it may just be someone trying to be a friend. It could be an invitation to a group. A call to adventure does not have to be the call, but rather a stepping stone along the story of our lives.
In other ways, we can practically find our refusal of the call and step out of it through various methods, typically some form of willed introversion as Joseph Campbell suggested. Willed introversion is consciously looking inward. Looking inward might be realizing whatever addictions we have that are out of hand. It also requires that we sit with boredom, rather than constantly trying to push boredom away. Sitting with boredom is like meditating, which can be a more traditional kind of meditation or it can be actually staring at a blank wall.
Through willed introversion, a number of things may come up. I can’t tell what that may be for someone else, but I do know that if we live lives of addiction we never have to willingly face those aspects holding us back. Among these might be destructive partnerships, one-sided friendships, or grown children taking advantage of someone as a parent. Through introversion we might look at a past vocation and see what worked before, perhaps seeing that as a place to begin anew or perhaps even having a new insight as a result. It could also be the answer right in front of our eyes, some activity or opportunity available right now, if only we realized we could accept it and get started.
In another sense the refusal of the call is knowing our values and seeing how the current circumstances we live in have compromised those values. It might be asking: “Did I sacrifice something which put me where I am right now, or am I sacrificing something this very moment?” This is a question of values, for which an inventory of what is personally important to each of us is required. Perhaps it is also asking: “Was there some past opportunity that sounds pretty good right now, but which I rejected for some reason, such as the Ego or fear?”
On another level, we can break away from refusal of the call by realizing it’s time to change. But that’s a hard choice, and it takes tremendous courage even for those who have had to change so many times already. Life is a river, never the same as before: just go with the flow.
Looking Into Your Mirror
To change, to stop the refusal of the call and begin the call to adventure, requires an honest look into the mirror. The mirror shows us merely what we wish to see, not the truth, and thus this requires honest reflection. If only we all had our own magic mirror.
Using stark terms, finding the refusal of the call and beginning your call to adventure requires change–seeing the true reflection in the mirror. It requires putting aside or at least treading some middle road of whatever your addictions happen to be. Few alcoholics, drug addicts, food gluttons, or technology slaves can find a middle ground, but going cold turkey does not have to be the alternative. We can choose to tread the Middle Way, finding a happy medium, however you can, between complete self-indulgence and asceticism. The Middle Way is the teaching of Buddha, Jesus, Jung, Joseph Campbell, and any Hero who transformed themselves or who serves as a model.
Or, it may mean quitting a job and diving into uncertainty–something all of us must face at some point or else cower in fear. Face it now or face it in death. Or it could be divorcing from a marriage or friendship, even if children are involved. We often don’t realize how an internal turmoil is passed onto others through anger and pain. Leaving a bad job or marriage, even if one has kids, can be the best thing of all. And this takes courage. After all, the Hero’s Journey is, at its most basic meaning, a process of facing our fears.
So, what are you waiting for? It’s only the rest of your life that’s waiting.
Jung, C. G. (1955). Modern man in search of his soul. Dell, W. S. (trans.). Harcourt Brace.
Jung, C. G. (2010). Dreams. Hull, R. F. C. (trans.). Princeton University Press.
Kopacz, D. (2015). The hero’s journey. Self-published.
Campbell, J. (2008). The hero with a thousand faces. Novato, CA: New World Publications.
Mate, G. (2010). In the realm of hungry ghosts: Close encounters with addiction. North Atlantic Books.
The Holy Bible: New King James version. (1982). The Gideons International
Andrew Haacke is a lifelong spiritual seeker who researches and writes about the Hero's Journey, symbolism, mythology, and psychedelics. He studied anthropology at the University of Utah and social work and public administration at the University of Southern California.
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