What’s with The Hero’s Journey?
You may, as I have, noticed lately lots and lots of people connecting what they do with the “Hero’s Journey,” that famous archetypal story structure made famous by Joseph Campbell. In the past week alone, I’ve seen people hooking the Hero’s Journey up with everything from leadership training to how to network to strategies for getting through the pandemic.
The Hero’s Journey has become the foundation of Hollywood films.
But that’s only because it already replicates what’s been happening in the human experience — way before films were a twinkle in anyone’s eye.
The Hero’s Journey gives a name to an eternal structure for how our folk stories become satisfying to listen to as well as to live.
But today let’s get small.
Why is that word used so da– much?
There’s the the grief journey, the customer journey, the band named Journey, the Journey shoe brand, the Dodge Journey, the mental health journey, the parenting journey, even the Girl Scouts Journey.
The word is plum everywhere. And why?
Here’s my stab at it: It’s one of our root metaphors for what it is to “go” through life. To experience something in time. To be in one “place” at one point and at a different “place” at another.
The image of the journey gives spatial reference points to the fact that we feel we’re different after something momentous has happened or after we’ve “gone” through a key process or after our consciousness has “shifted” in some way.
“I’m in a different place now.”
“He’s in a better place.” (whether mentally or when some people respond to news of someone’s death)
Calling something a journey is a way of giving placefulness to time-based events that seem linked.
It’s a way of making real.
When I use the word “journey,” I’m always reminded of high-school French, where I learned we inherited the word in English from “journée,” that distance one could travel in a day’s time.
That linking of time and space. A way to see and regard the invisible that one feels. A way to make the living one does a thing.
Pretty good for one word.
So, Who’s the Father?
So, Who’s the Father?” isn’t exactly what a person who’s expecting wants to hear. It can feel like an accusation, like an invasion of privacy, or like a completely irrelevant question, depending on one’s method of conception, key relationships, or plan for childrearing. Even in days when there were fewer methods for conceiving a child or for avenues for getting one to adulthood, Emily Post might have advised just to stick with a hearty congratulations.
Ostranenie: A Fantastic Russian Word
Learn to pronounce ostranenie and impress your friends with your accent as well as with this cool word.
And what a concept … to learn to re-see, as if with new eyes, those things our eyes think they know so well, they no longer see them at all.
To find wonder again and again in the way our sister-in-law calls company in for dinner without the least hint of anxiety, exhaustion, or sense of the extraordinary event.
To learn anew about the people we think we know best.
The Creature Comforts Checklist
This is it our “Creature Comforts Checklist.” It’s an odd name, we know.
We called it that, recognizing that grief is a very physical thing and that sometimes what grievers most need (aside from not being asked if they need anything) is not to talk but to be. Just a creature.
When you’re grieving, you miss the physical presence of the person you lost …
Beyond “In Through the Nose, Out Through the Mouth”
You’ve seen it a thousand times on television. Just a bit of momentary drama to set the stage. It’s a medical show. Someone is having an anxiety attack. Maybe he’s hyperventilating. The medical professional or first responder fixes her eyes on this (typically) mouth breather
How Can Something Be Neither Good Nor Bad?
It’s super fun to watch someone’s thinking shift right in front of you. They might jerk still suddenly, their eyes wide and long, like old cartoon figures in a haunted house or a dark cave, when all you could see was the eyes. That’s part of the joy
Becoming the Witness
I’m an avid reader of Twitter for its political and epidemiological news, which often appear prior to (and prove more informative than) what can be made available under the rubric of conventional media. I continue to be struck by a story that Pulitzer Prize-winning