How To Have Confidence In Your Own Journey—Lessons From Joseph Campbell

Katherine Smith
How To Have Confidence In Your Own Journey—Lessons From Joseph Campbell

I’m fumbling at little charms that hang and tinkle from a chain around my wrist, its delicate copper loops glinting like gold in the afternoon sun. Each of those charms was chosen with care; duplicating places I’ve travelled, some lessons I’ve learnt, and the passions I pursue.

Each one tells an individual story. Collectively they tell an epic tale.

The bracelet serves as a reminder that we can all create our own story—that we are the guardians of our growth, the pastors of our perception, and the authors and artists of our own design. Just sometimes, we don’t see it that way.

Life Is A Journey And Our Canvas

The truth is, life is our canvas – so we must make living our art. And this is our journey and our journey alone. It is our path and no-one else’s and as such we must have the confidence to embrace the experiences that shape us and faith in a plan fit for just the right purpose; ours.

Joseph Campbell says “You enter the forest at the darkest point, where there is no path. Where there is a way, it is someone elses way and then you are not on your own path. If you follow someone else’s way, you are not going to realise your potential.”

In other words, go your own way and grow!

Where The Problem Lies

The trouble is, many of us don’t know what we could be capable of and aren’t empowered enough to explore and explode our own self-imposed white picket fence and step into our own boundless abundance.

From time to time, we may try. We may take a risk and stick our head above the parapet, only to see our efforts back fire. We feel like we’ve failed. We’re left feeling frustrated and unfulfilled without really recognising why. We struggle to see clearly and we think we’ve somehow got it wrong.

But, what if we’ve got it right all along and our experiences are all just part of a grander plan or process that we don’t quite realise we’re participating in?

Campbell noted, “We must be willing to let go of the life we planned so as to have the life that is waiting for us.”

On Joseph Campbell And His Works

Campbell was an American mythologist, writer, and lecturer best known for his work in mythology and religion. His work is vast and delves into many dimensions of the human experience.

In one of his most influential contemporary works, “The Hero with a Thousand Faces,” he explores how the stories of Krishna, Buddha and Jesus have a universally similar mythological basis.

He says that we’re all heroes on our own journey, with the power to create our own path – just sometimes, we don’t always have the awareness to live according to our calling. And, if left uncultivated, we will be thrust forcefully and firmly on a revolutionary expedition with all the subtlety of an oncoming speed train.

How The Story Goes

In the beginning, we encounter our hero living an ordinary life, blissful and ignorant. Then the hero receives the ‘call’ to which he ignores until he meets his mentor, who offers just the right amount of encouragement to see the Hero take the first step on a new path.

Ahead, there are tests and challenges. Things go wrong. The Hero will meet both enemies and allies, each of whom bring valuable and unique opportunities for the learning and growth required to propel the hero further along the path. They are the catalysts and enablers that help to shape the hero into the person he was always destined to become.

And so the hero is confronted with the essence of his own existence – he comes to know himself – and finally returns to the real world, present, aware and empowered having undergone a metamorphosis. He is now deeply connected to his purpose and has a profound sense of self.

So the next time you think you’ve screwed up or you feel lost, ask yourself if you’re paying close enough attention!

Now Consider This...

If you can’t change the situation, what would happen if you changed your attitude to the situation and trusted it is all just part of the most glorious adventure – the adventure of becoming you?

Here are few questions you can ask yourself to help you gain a ‘Heroes Journey’ perspective on life.

  • What is life trying to tell you?
  • What are the lessons that could come from the contradictions and challenges you face?
  • Who or what in your life is currently the catalyst for change?
  • Who is there to propel you on the path, regardless of if they’re friend or foe?
  • Do you know what you want and does that intention start in the heart?
  • What makes you feel alive? Is there something calling you, that you’re refusing to acknowledge?
  • What potential perspective shifts could you have if you viewed your life through a different lens?

Remember that we’re all just heroes, working our way through the wilderness of our own wisdom. Perhaps the challenges and contradictions you face are serving as transformational tools that can be embraced in the knowledge that they are all just part of your journey, so you can relax – everything is exactly as it should be.

“Furthermore, we have not even to risk the adventure alone; for the heroes of all time have one before us, the labyrinth is fully known; we have only to follow the thread of the hero-path. And where we had thought to find an abomination, we shall find a god; where we had thought to slay another, we shall slay ourselves; where we had thought to travel outward, we shall come to the center of our own existence; where we had thought to be alone, we shall be with all the world.” ~ Joseph Campbell