Hero’s journey, identity, willingness to be bad
Over the past few weeks, I have been in and out of a meaningless rut.
Everything felt empty. I have felt an inexplicable, overwhelming sense of loneliness on many days despite being in touch with a close friend. I have been eating junk almost regularly. I have skipped multiple yoga classes.
I still tried my best to be grateful for the energy I could put into my work. But amidst all this, for the first time in the last 6 months, I felt the pinch of the absence of a regular monthly paycheck. I wished I did not have to worry about my finances while I was already feeling like shit.
But, it made me realize a few things as I was going through a few readings I had saved for the future.
Living a life of courage, sometimes even little courage needs three broad things.
- A deeper purpose led by an answer to a call for adventure
- Detached/selfless action with a willingness to be bad
- Letting go of the identity
First, a deeper purpose and meaning. Without a purpose, day-to-day existence can get overwhelming.
Staying in the present moment is needed.
But it also needs to be balanced with a call to an adventure. A hero’s journey.
This brings me to the first article of the week.
No, it is not about having a ‘savior’ fetish.
What the author means by the “world” is “our personal experience of Being.”
“We are at the center of our own world and can only experience and influence from that perspective.”
The author explains the hero’s journey and gives a list of insightful questions you can ask yourself to listen to your own call to adventure.
Sometimes I tend to lose sight or fail to figure out a long-term vision and purpose. That sometimes leads to an extended period of a rut.
However, just purpose is not required. You need to take action. And not just any action, selfless action.
Because the paradox is you can either live a life of fulfillment or keep waiting to reach a destination.
But more importantly, you have to be courageous and willing enough to be bad.
Far too often, we are concerned about the outcome of our actions. We want things to be perfect. A grade. Ivy league college. A seven-figure income.
But in this mode of working, the perceived cost of failure is too high.
You cannot afford to take risks and fail as it will impact your dream outcome. You cannot have a sense of play and joy in your day-to-day activities.
This sense of play and joy is what helps in staying in the flow of the present moment.
And the only way to arrive at this mode is the willingness to be bad. Because as the author says in this article,
Accomplishing worthwhile things isn’t just a little harder than people think; it’s 10 or 20 times harder.
So, your hero’s journey is not going to be a bed of roses. It won’t be perfect. It’d be really, really messy. You would feel like shit at times.
The only way to proceed then is the willingness to be bad while focusing on the action at the moment.
With me so far? Good.
Now, the third and last element to live a life of courage is/could be letting go of your identities.
When I overidentify with my profession/education/background, I create misery by creating unreasonable expectations. It is the vicious cycle where the action becomes selfish and attached to my sense of identity.
This brings me to the third article of the week.
We all have our identities, consciously or subconsciously, as our “calling cards”, as the author refers to them here.
So, he poses a question,
“What would happen if we stopped chasing these convenient “identity containers” and let our actions shine for themselves?”
This brings us back to the idea of detached, selfless action.
By blowing up our identities and taking a leap into the unknown where we trust ourselves to be anything and do anything, we learn the lessons that help us transform.
In fact, this is similar to the death/rebirth/Abyss phase of the Hero’s journey. We let go of who we are supposed to be and embrace life challenges as they come with an open and willing heart.
In the words of the author,
“What if we leaned into the ephemeral nature of life? Instead of constantly fighting it.”
Together, these three phases- a deeper purpose led by the call to an adventure; detached action with the willingness to be bad; and letting go of our identities- create a life of courage and deep fulfillment.
At least, that is my theory so far.
And I do feel a sense of hope as I put together this newsletter around these insightful articles in a singular narrative like this. 🙂
I plan to turn this into a detailed blog someday with a better and more refined structure.
So I would love to hear your thoughts!
What do you think?
Have you ever given thought to your call of adventure or your hero’s journey?
How do you think you can live a life of courage and deep fulfillment?
Hit reply to share or just say hi in the reply, if you want! 🙂
Until next time