I write today for some people I know that are, at this very moment, standing on the edge. All their lives to now have been based on working hard to be a success. But now the Call is so loud that they cannot double up on their past efforts. They have given their all and then some.
I offer a message of hope. There is another life. The feeling of being lost is merely the first step to finding this other and better life. The feeling of being lost is the key to the early part of the Hero's Journey.
Dante opens the Inferno with the classic lines:
In the middle road of my life
I awoke in a dark wood
Where the true way was wholly lost
This is not an easy path. For when it is completed, the old Rob, or the old you, the you that was defined by "success" or "failure" in the old world, has to die. No wonder you may have refused the Call before.
The Call gets refused until it cannot. Like surgery in the pre anesthetic era, there comes a time when the pain of the operation is better than the pain of the bladder stone.I was so confused that I had a nervous breakdown. I could not see how I could give up the life that I had devoted myself too with such effort. Others I know have suffered physical health breakdowns. Others have lost their spouse and kids. Some die.
Is this where you are now?
Please don't worry. All that you will really lose by accepting the Call is the illusion.
In his wonderful book, the Heart Aroused, the poet, David Whyte, shows the illusion.
"Becoming aware of this after a lifetime of accepting success as the ultimate healing balm, as something that will give you protection is, declares Dante, like waking in a dark wood. He begins by admitting that the human mind never sees success as "here", but always ahead down the road. He says that the day that you have your desk finally cleared will never arrive. That the level of safety that you are aiming for on the corporate ladder is an illusion. He says that the child you have at home for whom you are making many sacrifices, will be grown and gone by the time you struggle back from the traffic. ....
When you awake you will be lost because you will meet a stranger. And that stranger is you!
When you do awake, you are rousing a different part you, a barely experienced life that lies at your core. Having forgotten this central soul experience, you do not recognize where you are. To that part of you that loved your sleep (in the Matrix), it feels as if it is waking in the dark. It appears to be lost."
No wonder you will feel lost. I had no idea who Rob was. I knew Robert. But Rob? He had disappeared maybe when I was 6. He or she is the best friend you will ever have he and she will love you like no other. This whom I found.
You know who you really are. Reach out to him or to her. Trust him or her. He or she will take you home.
Campbell says this better than I can.
....... we have not even to risk the adventure alone; for the heroes of all time have gone before us; the labyrinth is thoroughly known; we have only to follow the thread of the heropath. And where we had thought to find an abomination, we shall find a god; where we had thought to slay another, we shall slay ourselves; where we had thought to travel outward, we shall come to the centre of our existence; where we had thought to be alone, we shall be with all the world."
".....The modern hero, the modern individual who dares to heed the call and seek the mansion of that presence with whom it is our whole destiny to be atoned, cannot, indeed must not, wait for his community to cast off its slough of pride, fear, rationalized avarice, and sanctified misunderstanding. "Live," Nietzsche says, "as though the day were here." It is not society that is to guide and save the creative hero, but precisely the reverse. And so every one of us shares the supreme ordeal - carries the cross of the redeemer - not in the bright moments of his tribes's great victories, but in the silence of his personal despair."
The Hero of a Thousand Faces - Joseph Campbell, 1949
Now the real adventure of your life begins.