About a year ago I was pondering in my post To Do What You’ve Got To Do the reasons that lead us to choose whatever we choose. This question got further triggered by the comment by Sanity Found and has not left me since. What actually prompts us to make a step into the unknown, what is it that inspires us to make a big shift, a crucial leap?
It all reminds me of the Hero’s journey, the mythical pattern described by Joseph Campbell in his book The Hero with a Thousand Faces, the monomyth that also beautifully serves as a metaphor for the processes of personal growth, transformational learning, the inner journey of every individual.
In the Hero’s journey the to-be-hero lives an ordinary life and receives a call to the adventure. At first he refuses the call, not willing to step into the unknown, out of fear, insecurity, a sense of inadequacy, a sense of duty…, but after some time he accepts the call fully and crosses the first threshold, fully embarks on a dangerous journey into the unknown.
So, what is it that re-ignites this spark, what inspires us to step from an ordinary life onto the heroic track? Is it that at a certain point we have enough of everything, enough of pain and meaninglessness, or is it that at the certain moment we finally start taking our lives seriously enough not to keep throwing them away? Why then? Why not long before that? Is it that with time we generate enough courage? What is the tipping point? Is it just an arbitrary choice, or is there something more to it, something more fatal?
I mean, it does not really seem to matter in which direction we are making this big step: is it about meeting our own little needs, or about making somebody’s life more beautiful, or about trying to answer the eternal question Do I love well?, or perhaps just about abandoning the superficial orderly and empty life and embark on a road of highest meaning and passion…, it always somehow comes down to the realization of the importance of the question how do we want to spend this precious little time we have, what life do we want to lead, what do we feel we are here for….
Well, no matter how I look at it, it definitely seems to me that the sooner we make a step, the better it will be for our own well-being. Because it really does feel that if we are not living our life fully (and I mean fully) according to the deepermost meanings, if we are not leading our lives in a way that will make us fully content and fulfilled when looking back in our final hours, if we are holding ourselves back and waiting for the perfect moment sometime in the foggy future rather than fully engaging right now, …, well, then, I guess, the emptiness and the void and the frustration will just not go away. With the clock mercilessly ticking somewhere in the background.