I am often aware or tuned into a Call to action, and I know almost immediately when I am Refusing a Call... but I don't always know when I have said "yes" or what exactly I just said "yes" to! We always think in the beginning it is one thing, and it turns out to be something quite different. But if we knew what was ahead, we would have said a logical no. In retrospect we may be able to construct a story about "answering the Call" (or any other part of the hero's journey), but when we are living it, we are in the labyrinth of life and don't quite know where we are or how it all fits together.
The hero's journey and all the moving parts I am describing to you are not something you can figure out with certainty in your own life. This work is more subtle, ambiguous--it's not like hard science where things can be measured, analyzed and "proven." However, this model provides a framework for understanding Great Stories, certain fairy tales and myths, and your life.
We can make a lot of jokes about "Answering the Call," e.g., "Did 'I' agree to THIS?,' "Okay, I've changed my mind now, I want to reverse this Call!," and so on.
At some point we do take a "yes-step," sometimes it's an enthusiastic leap, (or perhaps Spirit or Fate shoves us) in the direction of our Calling. From that moment on, it seems as if all the forces about us and within us conspire to bring about events that help us incubate, gestate, or prepare for the desired new "birth" of self or a particular mission.
Here is a favorite quote of mine from The Soul's Code by James Hillman:
"There is m ore in a human life than our theories of it allow. Sooner or later something seems to call us onto a particular path. You may remember something... an urge out of nowhere, a fascination, a peculiar turn of events... This is what I must do, this is what I've got to have. This is who I am."
I want to reiterate that what the Call was really all about may become more apparent years later. When I think back on my cesarean surgery/birth experience as a hero's journey now, I had no idea at the time what I was being Called to. My uninitiated, youthful, egotistical mind was certain I was making "informed choices" and that the desired birth I had "chosen" for myself was my Call, so of course I leaped and said yes. Now I tend to think that when it is Love Calling us to Love, true self-Love,, Love will use events in our lives to wake us up to the healing we took birth for. To get that healing often requires a great shock, loss, wounding...It isn't always as pretty as the "Secret" makes it sound... although there is a thread of truth in everything.
Living the hero's journey is an ambiguous and multi-layered. Our Western minds want to make it rigid, linear, pin it down... but it can't be (unless you are writing a fairytale or biography and the events have to follow a sequence to make sense).
So the question often comes up around birth as a hero's journey. How do you know if you are experiencing this or did experience it? Let's continue the journey, and later you can decide for yourself. Here's a hint: the Hero's Journey doesn't have anything to do with having the birth you want(ed), birthing normally or having/not having interventions, it's not about not taking drugs... this is all about something that can't be charted in your birth records. It is the inner journey of birth. We'll continue next week. Hope you have a lovely weekend.