Embracing the Hero's Journey: Conquering Health Challenges with Resilience

healing hero hero's journey self-healer self-healing

What if I told you that within you lies the potential to become a hero in your own story?

We're naturally drawn to tales of heroes—those who embark on epic journeys, face insurmountable challenges, and emerge triumphant against all odds. 

Joseph Campbell, in his seminal work "The Hero With a Thousand Faces," mapped out the twelve steps in three parts of this heroic journey, a narrative template that resonates across cultures and generations.

The Departure

  1. The ordinary world
  2. The call to adventure
  3. Refusing the call to adventure
  4. Meeting the mentor
  5. Crossing the threshold

The Initiation

  1. Tests, allies, and enemies
  2. Approach to the inmost cave
  3. The ordeal
  4. The reward

The Return

  1. The road back
  2. Resurrection
  3. Return with the elixir

But what if we applied this framework not just to movies and novels but to the challenges we encounter in our everyday lives?

Consider my own journey with rheumatoid arthritis—a battle that demanded resilience, courage, and, ultimately, transformation. It was, in essence, my own hero's journey.

I am a healing hero. 

Let’s consider each step in the hero’s journey, applied to a health challenge. As you read this, think about your own challenge and where you are now.  

Step 1: The Ordinary World

Your journey begins in the familiar landscape of your everyday life. You're going about your routine, unaware of the trials that lie ahead. For me, it was the routine of work, family, and personal pursuits until the pain and eventual diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis disrupted everything.

Step 2: The Call to Adventure

The diagnosis is the call to adventure—an unexpected twist that challenges your sense of normalcy. It's a moment that demands courage and resilience, as you confront the reality of your condition and the uncertainty of what lies ahead.

Step 3: Refusing the Call

At first, you may resist the call, grappling with fear, doubt, and denial. You might question why this challenge has befallen you, wishing for things to return to how they were before. But true heroism lies in embracing the call, despite the fear, and embarking on the journey that lies ahead.

Step 4: Meeting the Mentor

As you navigate your journey, you encounter mentors—whether they're healthcare providers, supportive friends, or fellow warriors battling similar health challenges. They offer guidance, support, and wisdom, helping you navigate the twists and turns of your path.

Step 5: Crossing the Threshold

Crossing the threshold signifies a pivotal moment of transition—a leap of faith into the unknown. It's the moment you accept your diagnosis and commit to facing it head-on, despite the uncertainties and challenges that lie ahead. I had such a moment when I felt a deep inner knowing that I would overcome this challenge and restore my health completely. 

Step 6: Tests, Allies, and Enemies

As you journey deeper into the realm of your health challenge, you encounter tests—physical, emotional, and mental trials that push you to your limits. Along the way, you find allies who support you and enemies—whether they're the symptoms of your condition or societal stigmas—that seek to impede your progress.

Step 7: Approach to the Inmost Cave

Approaching the inmost cave, you confront your deepest fears and vulnerabilities. It's a moment of introspection and reckoning as you delve into the core of your struggle and grapple with the emotional toll it takes on you and those around you.

Step 8: The Ordeal

The ordeal is the crucible of your journey—a trial by fire that tests your resilience and strength. It's the daily battles with pain, fatigue, and uncertainty as you navigate the highs and lows of managing your condition.

Step 9: The Reward

Emerging from the ordeal, you are rewarded with newfound insights, resilience, and strength. It's the realization that despite the challenges you've faced, you are stronger and more resilient than you ever thought possible.

Step 10: The Road Back

The road back marks the beginning of your journey homeward—a return to the ordinary world, transformed by your experiences. It's a journey of integration and reflection, as you reconcile the lessons learned and embrace the newfound wisdom gained from your journey.

Step 11: Resurrection

In the final stage of your journey, you experience a resurrection—a symbolic rebirth that heralds your emergence from the depths of adversity. It's a moment of renewal and empowerment as you embrace your journey and the person you've become as a result.

Step 12: Return with the Elixir

Armed with the elixir of resilience and strength, you return to the ordinary world—empowered to share your story, inspire others, and catalyze positive change. Your journey may have been arduous, but it has equipped you with the tools and insights to serve as a beacon of hope for others facing similar challenges.

I invite you to explore your own heroic potential. Think about the challenges you're currently facing—whether they're health-related or otherwise. Can you envision yourself as the hero of your own story?

Close your eyes for a moment. Picture yourself standing at the threshold of your challenge. What do you see? What do you feel? And most importantly, what do you need to take that first courageous step forward?

So, fellow hero, where are you on your own journey? Embrace the call to adventure, face your challenges with courage and resilience, and remember that within you lies the power to overcome adversity and emerge triumphant.

What step are you on in your healing hero story? Let me know in the comments.

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  2. All information in this post is based on my personal experiences. Please discuss any changes to your diet, lifestyle or medications with your healthcare team. No information in this article is meant to replace medical advice. Please read my Terms and Conditions.