In my upcoming guidebook that explores how to stay buoyant when facing the loss and uncertainty that comes with discovering your spouse, partner, etc., has cheated on you, I found inspiration in the work of Joseph Campbell.
Joseph Campbell greatly influenced the way we view our human experience most notably by helping to define archetypal features of the hero’s journey. In his book The Hero with a Thousand Faces, Campbell explores the hero’s journey by bringing insight from psychology and blending it with his vast understanding of comparative mythology. If you have ever seen a Star Wars film then you have had a first-hand experience of his contribution to our understanding of what it means to be human and to be a hero.
To be human and to be a hero are two concepts that cannot be divided. All of us experience bliss and suffering, good times and bad times, and when we learn to hold all of it in the same breath, we are truly embracing the hero’s journey. We are declaring that all of it simply is and by making this declaration, we empower ourselves to face anything that comes our way with the fullness of our being. One passage from The Hero with a Thousand Faces I find impactful and pertinent to our hero’s journey together reads:
“The usual hero adventure begins with someone from whom something has been taken, or who feels there is something lacking in the normal experience available or permitted to the members of society. The person then takes off on a series of adventures beyond the ordinary, either to recover what has been lost or to discover some life-giving elixir. It’s usually a cycle, a coming and a returning.”
I love this passage! It is so fitting with regard to what we are observing here. On our hero’s journey, something has definitely been taken from us upon discovering our loved one has cheated on us. Our current understanding of what we thought we knew, the outline we held in our minds and hearts about how our future might look, our sense of certainty, a belief in ourselves and our worthiness, these are some examples of the loss we might be facing. And for many of us the list goes on and on.
So, what do you think about this idea of the journey being a cycle for a “coming and a returning” as stated in the quote above? Might this passage be pointing to the notion that despite the chaos and uncertainty that surrounds us in this dark moment where we feel like we might have lost a sense of who we are, our real adventure is all about returning to ourselves – our truest self? That is my thinking. When I received the news that my spouse had been unfaithful, my sense of self was essentially obliterated. All of the typical negative questions regarding my worthiness and my being enough fell upon me like an avalanche; heavy, smothering and unrelenting.
The good news here is that our truest self is always with us since it is who we really are and we cannot be separated from that. Our true self knows that the journey ahead of us is difficult and doesn’t shy away from the challenge. Our true self knows what we need in any given moment and all we need to do is learn to listen for the voice of that self. If at one time we had the skill that enabled us to listen to our true self, tuning in can be as simple as figuratively selecting a station on the radio. On the flip-side, if we have questions surrounding our ability to tune into our truest self then the journey here holds even more for us since rediscovery and reconnection with that self can feel all the more rewarding. When we have a true self experience, whether it is our first time or if we are re-aligning ourselves to tune back in, a sense of peace, empowerment and courage becomes the norm and we find access to strengths we perhaps didn’t know we possess.
Now, here are a couple of questions for you, courageous reader: how will you align with your true self and what will it take for you to fully acknowledge your heroic journey when facing loss and uncertainty?
Love and light to you!
This article features an excerpt from When They Cheat: Recovering Your Power and Purpose in the Face of Loss and Uncertainty, Copyright © DW Long 2020, all rights reserved.