Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Be the HERO of Your Life Part 3: Earthbound

It's our third and final edition of our "Be the Hero of Your Life" series!  You can find Part 1 here and Part 2 here!  These posts are following the three parts of The Hero's Journey, as put forth by Joseph Campbell in his seminal work, The Monomyth.  Part one was "Departure," part two was "Initiation" and now we are moving into part three....


Refusal of the Return
The hero has passed all his or her tests, gone though their reconciliation with the father figure, resisted temptation, and finally reached their goal and received their "great boon."  So why, after all this work, return to normalcy?  Why return through the threshold of a normal life?

In the style of this blog, we model ourselves after our favorite figures from the various video game mythos.  If you have reached this point in your journey, then you have achieved your goals, and become a true embodiment of that hero(or villain).  So how does this step, the refusal, factor into your own story?  Well, the danger of becoming that embodiment is to begin to believe your own legend, and live your fantasy a little too strongly.  Sometimes, if we try to hard to emulate a fantasy character, we have a hard time actually separating that fantasy from the everyday goings-on of the "normal" world.

The Magic Flight
Sometimes, after the hero has received their "great boon," they must escape with great haste.  Think, in the Halo series, of the two iconic warthog sprints from the first and third installments.  Or, for another medium, think Disney's Aladdin after his grabs the lamp and needs to escape the cave of wonders.

Sometimes, when you have achieved your goal, other people will seek to sully your dreams, or belittle you for your achievements.  You cannot let them drag you down.  In this sense, your "magic flight" is really more of a metaphorical one, of escaping the negativity of those who seek to belittle you out of jealousy, or spite.  Do not associate yourself with those who would belittle your efforts and goals.

Rescue from Without
In either the magic flight, or the refusal of the return, the hero can sometimes become entrapped.  The hero may be weary, or injured, or just plain unwilling to return.  In this case, the supernatural force(frequently the hero's original ally and/or mentor) rescues the hero.  To return to our previous examples, you can think of Cortana driving Master Chief on, or the Genie getting Aladdin out of the cave of wonders.  Another great example is Gandalf and the eagles rescuing Frodo and Sam at the end of The Return of the King.

In this sense, either we don't want to leave our fantasy, or there are those that want to pull our goals around us, we must rely on our outside friends and allies to help lift us up and/or give us a dose of reality.  In your journey, you will have probably already found some friends and allies you didn't know you had.  The blog community and I are also always here for you to reach out to if you're looking for some advice or a boost of morale.  You are never alone.

The Crossing of the Return Threshold
The hero must re-assimilate with the world he or she left behind, while still retaining the knowledge, wisdom, and gifts they achieved on their adventure.  Sometimes this is for the benefit of just the hero, although often is it also for the benefit of the world at large.  This is often rather difficult, or comes at a price.

In our journey, we eventually leave the period of "massive change and growth" and enter the realm of completion, and maintenance.  This step can be as simple as finding good workout and eating schedules for your life now that you want to focus on things other than personal growth, or as difficult as entering back into unhealthy situations that you avoided for a long time, and now need to learn how to inoculate yourself against to keep yourself from relapsing.

Master of the Two Worlds
In some story variants, the hero has achieved enlightenment as a result of their boon.  Legendary figures along these lines include Jesus, or Buddha.  More modern fantasy-based characters you can think of are Luke Skywalker from Star Wars, Ashitaka from Princess Mononoke, or Ezio Auditore from Assassin's Creed.

You, at this point, are now a success story.  You have seized your life by the reins, decided to change what you don't like, and molded yourself into a person that you like better.  This is an incredibly rare and difficult thing to do, and demonstrates great strength.  It is your choice as to whether or not you would like to share what you've learned while attaining your "enlightenment," but I would hope you might pass it on at least a bit.

Freedom to Live
The hero has achieved all they set out to do.  They have achieved peace, inner and outer, and with it, freedom to life life in the moment.  They are satisfied with what they have done, and have the confidence to face whatever tomorrow throws at them, enabling them to live today to the fullest, without worry about what has gone before, or what may yet come to pass.

This is what I strive for, and what I try to offer you, my friends.  Find your freedom.  Begin your journey, and reach your next level.

(Picture credit: nightmademode.net)

That's it for today.   I really enjoyed this series, and I hope you did, too!  Tomorrow, a new character!  Until then, remember, make sure to follow me on Twitter,  like the blog page on Facebook, hit up the Tumblr, and continue to be awesome!

Dan "DaRatmastah" Wallace

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