top of page

My Hero's Journey

John Lennon once said "I'm an artist, man and if you'll give me a tuba, and I'll bring you something out of it." My approach to exploring personal creativity has been somewhat reluctant.

It kept me stuck for too long.

Years ago, I was introduced to the Artist's Way, a guide to fostering creativity, from two people who gave a talk on their shared experience of working through the book. They read from their journals - stories of personal discoveries and countless mentions of synchronicity and serendipity.

I wanted to throw up.

It sounded like work for self absorbed intellectuals who thought their version of the universe was uniquely dissimilar from the rest of us. Yes, I was jealous - they were creative, smart, and boldly open. This work of personal creativity, writing everyday, making discoveries about the meaning and wonder of life intrigued me. Yet, I was convinced this work was for people who were "artsy" and already had perfect lives. The last creative thing I had done was a wood cutting in the 8th grade that was entered in an art show.

The thing is - I was interested.

My Hero's Journey

I embarked upon what Joseph Campbell called a Hero's journey. (At some point take the time to watch watch Bill Moyers PBS series, The Power of Myth, to get the full experience Joseph's Campbell's awesomeness.) A Hero's journey starts with individual need for change,then to a subsequent quest, challenges, assistance, more battles, then ultimate victory. The hero comes back home changed or transformed.

It took a time of great personal upheaval in my family and deep depression before I finally began morning pages. Out of desperation I picked up a copy of the Artist's Way because I remembered hearing that the author had a formula and prompts. This was the beginning of a life changing journey.

I decided this work would be for no one else but me. A word at a time, page by page, three pages per day I wrote. I kept my notebook hidden. Even I didn't look over what I wrote. I told myself, just write whatever and however you want. They say when you are walking through hell, keep walking. I kept writing.

This was my way of taking a step a day.

Here it is ten years later and I'm still writing everyday. I write whatever is on my mind each day. Julia Cameron says morning writing is like windshield wipers for your brain. I wonder, express gratitude, ponder next steps and draw.There have been times when this practice created a safe place to explore tough issues. I have written through the break up of my family, the painful end of my relationship with my god daughter, a family member's struggles with addiction, the suicides of my brother, mother-in-law, my retirement and more. During these times the practice of writing created cracks that allowed light to shine through the darkness.

At the end of a hero's journey, the final step is to share any wisdom gained.

That is why I am writing to you.

I still don't consider myself to be artsy and surely don't have the perfect life. I have something more, I life in which I find wonder, purpose and connection. My work with morning pages encouraged me to begin sharing what works for me. I encourage you to begin your own journey. Begin it by writing. See the core practices section for guidelines on mindful writing.

Peace be with you on your journey,

bottom of page