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Your heart knows where happiness lies

I have loved the notion of the “hero's journey” – though I didn't really understand anything about it back then – ever since as a young fellow in postwar Britain I began to feel a strange, painful, but irresistible longing in my heart.

It was a longing I was at a loss to explain. I had a good life in many ways. A good job as a reporter on a London daily newspaper. A nice girlfriend. But the realization kept pounding away in me that there was more to life than the traditional middle-class existence I had been brought up in.

So it was that one day I said goodbye to my parents and my girl-friend and England. In search of a dream for I knew not what I travelled to an unknown land called British Columbia.

A blueprint for a meaningful life

I’ll be 80 in May. I have found what I was seeking – what was calling to me so insistently through the years. It's not an illusion, but is very real. It’s myself. It's who I truly am. It's my own presence, eternal, free and forever undisturbed by the turmoil and traumas of my life.

I’ve found that while life has its challenges, it actually holds a magnificent promise for every one of us.

What has come to be called the “hero's journey” – referring to both male and female, and brilliantly re-focused in Joseph Campbell’s Hero with a Thousand Faces -- gives a pretty good blueprint, it seems to me, as to how we may fulfill this rare promise that life holds for us all.

The basis of The Raven Who Spoke with God

I'm hoping it will be of interest at this point to mention a fascinating book entitled The Writer's Journey, by Christopher Vogler. He points out in his book, "I'm retelling the hero myth in my own way, and you should feel free to do the same. Every storyteller bends the mythic pattern to his or her own purpose or the needs of a particular culture."

I am immensely grateful to Mr. Vogler for his book, which gave me the inspiration and framework for  my own book, The Raven Who Spoke with God, which after being published in 11 foreign language editions since 9/11 is available now as a Kindle edition.

My own version of the hero's journey

My own version of the “hero’s journey,’ then, is this. We are all born, through no fault of our own, into a world that despite its good intentions, is often not really too interested in our personal journey, or the unique gift we are here to give.

So if we want to find out what our true destiny is, we have to be willing to separate ourselves from "the ordinary world" at first anyway, and face the Unknown – where all true inspiration already exists.

You will meet challenges and dangers, of course. But you will also, I guarantee, find a mentor, perhaps several mentors, to help you on your journey. And as you persist, and persevere, and listen to the wisdom of your own heart you will find the lasting peace and happiness for which we all long. The happiness that is our birthright.

I’d love to hear any thoughts or experiences you may wish to share on this topic.

PS If you’d like to check out my inspirational book PLEASE CLICK HERE. Please note you can read it on your computer or in other ways besides a Kindle.

Picture credit:  Runemaker

{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

Tricia April 25, 2012 at 3:46 pm

Thank you for this post. I have found the same thing, though I also find that I have to keep stepping out into the unknown, again and again. Just when I think I have found “the answer” It dissolves, and who I think I am morphs … I’m beginning to realise, that only on my deathbed will I reach some final edition of who it is that walks this planet in my shoes!!
I love the adventure of it!
Tricia recently posted..Clouds and reflections …

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Christopher Foster April 25, 2012 at 6:15 pm

I am so with you Tricia. We are never done with the unknown. I guess it would be kind of boring if the “unknown” somehow disappeared during our sojourn here on this planet.

The “unknown” is part of who we are. I love your closing words. Yes, that will be it for this particular version of You and me. But I find much comfort in knowing that who I truly am and who you truly are really is timeless. Is not affected in any way by either birth or death. Love and blessings to you Tricia. Stay strong.

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Durwin Foster April 25, 2012 at 6:37 pm

Hi dad:
I also appreciate your focus on the unknown in this post. A couple of sentences from a teacher I value, Adyashanti, expresses something similar: “Embrace the full measure of your life without compromise. Bare your heart to the unknown and never look back”.
Durwin Foster recently posted..It’s NOT All In Your Brain! What YOU Can Do About Feeling Depressed…

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Christopher Foster April 26, 2012 at 9:39 am

Durwin, thanks for jumping in here and sharing this lovely quote. Always love sharing your thoughts and your unique heart expression. Say hi to Vancouver for me, and have a wonderful day.

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Janus April 25, 2012 at 11:44 pm

Hi Christopher, I love this post. To me facing the Unknown means facing the inner Self within us where all the answers already exist. I appreciate your post!

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Christopher Foster April 26, 2012 at 9:48 am

You pack a lot of truth into a few words Janus. You point to a relationship that I’m quite sure is the most important relationship we will ever know. Takes a blend of courage and humility I would say. It’s good to face the Unknown with you.

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DiscoveredJoys April 26, 2012 at 3:01 am

Thank you for a very thought inspiring post. I’ve been toying with my own Hero’s Journey ever since I took early retirement and I believe I’m getting close enough to write a novel about it. Curiously, I have already read ‘The Writer’s Journey’ which I bought as a remaindered and also on sale book – just over 10% of the list price! It is now heavily highlighted and annotated, but I’m going to go through it again, now that I understand my own quest more.

I also have a copy of ‘The Hero with a Thousand Faces’ which has rested, unread, waiting for the right moment…

One further comment I offer for everyone’s consideration is that each person is different and has a different temperament. I suspect that ‘happiness’ is different for different people, and will vary through their lives. Some people seek lasting peace and happiness (contentment?), some seek pleasant experience, some successfully seek knowledge, some seek spiritual grace, and so on. I can’t help but think that ‘happiness’ is so overworked that we need a new word or phrase that captures more of the temperamental variability of the notion. ‘Fulfilment Emotion’ perhaps? Cumbersome but possibly more descriptive. Any views?

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Christopher Foster April 26, 2012 at 10:05 am

Thank YOU for sharing such a rich consideration. It sounds like you’re a bit like me when it comes to books we really like. I have some books I’ve spent so much time with I’m running out of lines to underline:-)

I do agree with your thoughts re the word ‘happiness.’ It’s become overworked, like many words, which is a shame really because it’s not the word’s fault is it. I do admire your wish to bring a bit more originality and accuracy to bear in this area. I find consolation in reminding myself how fortunate it is that stillness is always an option and it speaks for itself. It’s my experience that whatever happiness is, the truth back of that word is always waiting for me when I am still.

Love to you and thank you again for your great comment.

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Daniel April 30, 2012 at 5:01 pm

I so agree with your words and the comments posted. Everyone needs to find their own hero’s journey towards happiness.

In my case, this journey and the Unknown you mention have been a journey indeed. I left my native Spain right after college and have lived in Ireland and France so far -with a few more countries to come.

I escaped the Ordinary World of my milieu (staying at my parents’ until I was 30, getting a mortgage, getting a blue-collar job) and embraced the Unknown.

So far in this short journey, I can already tell you that I have found a degree of inspiration, happiness and fulfillment that I could have never found back in my comfort area.

Surely, I’ve gone through some bad periods, but I’ve been learning all along and this is the best proof that I’m making life happen.

Thanks indeed for this inspiring blog.

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Rick April 30, 2012 at 5:38 pm

Wonderful post and comments. Thank you all. Reminds me of a quote, the source of which I don’t recall: You can’t follow your own path if you are on the road to another man’s city.

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Andi-Roo May 8, 2012 at 8:05 pm

Ah, the Hero’s Journey! I wondered what that pulling sensation was called. Thank you for giving a name to something I’ve been following hither & yon of late. This kind of validates my search, now that I can refer to it more intelligently. “I’m doing this because it’s part of my Hero’s Journey.” That feels right. Seeking joy in all its hidden corners, chasing the unknown, & grabbing life by the tail… That’s me!

Andi-Roo /// @theworld4realz
http://www.theworld4realz.com/
theworldforrealz@gmail.com
Andi-Roo recently posted..No Las Vegas For Me, Thanks!

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Christopher Foster September 6, 2014 at 1:58 pm

Sounds good Andi-Roo. Go for it. So sorry for the long delay in response.

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