Thursday, October 01, 2009

The Inner Journey and the Road of Trials

It is by going down into the abyss that we recover the treasures of life. Where you stumble, there lies your treasure. - Joseph Campbell

The Bootstrap Journey has been likened to the Hero's Journey, popularized by noted mythologist, Joseph Campbell in The Hero with a Thousand Faces. The hero's journey is a recurring aspect of humanity's story-telling tradition. The Hero's Journey is a monomyth, an archetypal story with a specific pattern of events. Classic examples from ancient times include The Odyssey and the stories of Buddha and Christ. More recent monomyths include The Wizard of Oz, Star Wars, The Matrix, and The Lord of the Rings.

Bootstrappers answer the Call to Adventure in the Ideation stage and cross the threshold onto the Road of Trials when they enter the Valley of Death. Entering the valley of death is an initiation. As with all initiations, once the hero crosses the threshold of death and rebirth, the personal metamorphosis has begun and their world is forever changed.

On the Road of Trials, the hero meets a succession of challenges and ordeals. Some of the experiences may be uncomfortable, others terrifying. The heroic Bootstrapper faces the dragons of fear and insecurity and the monster that is the Shadow Self, time and time again. Some battles are won and some are lost. Patience, persistence, and a willingness to tolerate uncertainty and physical and emotional discomfort are essential.

Part of the hero's quest is the discovery of their true self. The hero navigates the Road of Trials and experiences the death of the false ego. The false ego is a reflected center. When we are young, our sense of self develops through the eyes and words of others, a distorted perception not unlike mirrors in a fun-house. The psychological term for a person's perception about what causes good or bad in one's life is locus of control. A person with an external locus of control attributes what happens in their lives to external forces (i.e. people, events, chance, the Divine). People who have an external center sometimes feel victimized, dissatisfied, and depressed by life events. People who develop a strong internal center feel they have some control over what happens in life, that their actions and attitudes make a difference. People who accept personal responsibility are more likely to meet challenges head-on. Research shows that successful entrepreneurial leaders have a strong internal locus of control.

Although the hero's journey is personal, they are not alone. They always have allies. One of the delightful and beneficial aspects about Bootstrap is its community, which includes the discovery of all kinds of allies: wise mentors, courageous peers, and energetic neophytes. With a little help from their friends, the hero eventually navigates the Road of Trials and comes out on the other side wiser, more authentic, and farther along the path of self-actualization.

Meet new allies that can support you and your (ad)venture at the Inner Journey subgroup meeting on October 14th, at 7p. I will be your guide for gentle yoga and a deep meditation on nurturing a relationship with your true self. After the meditation, we'll share another delicious potluck dinner and talk about how to nurture a powerful and enduring internal center. Please RSVP to the Facebook invitation. Join the Inner Journey yahoogroup to receive invitations directly to your email. Feel free to invite your friends.

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