Writing on Air

Writing on Air by Jim Paredes

Frodo, Ninoy, Rizal, Luke Skywalker, you and me…

Posted on March 01, 2005 by jimparedes

(Due to requests, I have changed my commenting service to allow permalink. Thus ALL previous comments have been erased. Such is life. Oh well. Let it be a tiny lesson in non-attachment).

From Frodo, to Ninoy, to Rizal, to Luke Skywalker, to Gautama Buddha, to Jesus, and yes, even you… everyone, according to Joseph Campbell, one of my favorite reads, takes the journey.

The Hero’s Journey is an archetypal pattern that forms the underlying structure of every story ever told, including the story of our own lives. This universal pattern illuminates the stages each individual must go through in order to grow. It is a journey of personal evolution that every human being can identify with.

Below are the stages people cross. We may skip stages or linger. Where are you in your own journey now?

Stages of the Hero’s Journey

1. The Ordinary World
The Hero’s Journey starts with a snapshot of you, the Hero, in the Ordinary World, not fully satisfied with some part of your life. Despite the external success you may — or may not– have achieved, something is missing from your life. At fault are the limiting assumptions, negative beliefs, bad habits, and unchallenged fears you hold about yourself and the world. They affect your career and relationships, leaving you unhappy, angry, anxious, closed down, or depressed.

2. The Call to Adventure

Somewhere inside, you know that a bigger life awaits you. You dream of being successful, joyful, unlimited and free. This is your soul’s cry to be recognized, and your heart’s longing to find and follow your bliss. Absolute freedom, unlimited possibility, pure joy and unconditional love await you.

3. Resistance – Refusing your Calling

Refusing your Calling When you focus on the price tag of living your dreams instead of the potential benefits, you naturally feel reluctant to jump in. No matter how uncomfortable you are now, at least its familiar. Venturing out into the unknown is too scary. So you end up staying exactly where you are.

4. Outrage – The Straw that Breaks . . .
A painful, pivotal event occurs. You are “called out” by the universe and watch helplessly as the house you have carefully built burns down. Now you can no longer allow your fears, wounds, negativity or bad habits to control your life. You cannot accept the greater price you are paying to your spirit. Finally, you say “Enough!”

5. Committing to the Journey
This is the moment you fully commit you yourself. You say goodbye to your Ordinary World, firmly choosing to face your fears and answer your Calling.

You cross the first threshold: Separation from the Ordinary world.

6. Challenge and Adventure
Your commitment opens the door to new and unexpected adventures. You encounter allies and worthy adversaries who challenge your preconceived notions, judgments and ideas about yourself and the world. You discover that you are not who you thought you were; you have separated yourself from others and abandoned your true self. Who are you then?

7. The Heart of the Storm

Descending into the innermost cave of your fear, you drop your masks and face your inner demons. You are determined to allow the image of you to die so that the real you can be reborn.

You cross the second threshold: Initiation and Transformation, Death of the old identity and birth of the expanded self.

8. The Resurrection
The truth of your existence is revealed. You finally feel what you always knew — that you are whole, unlimited and connected to the universe. Now you are finally at peace with yourself. But you don’t want to be a “monk on a mountain.” You must return to the Ordinary World to put your spiritual transformation to the test.

You cross the final threshold: Return and Integration back into the Ordinary World.

9. The Rewards
You return to the Ordinary World free of your limiting masks and beliefs. This is the life you have always wanted. Joy, success and abundance radiate from you as a reflection of your own magnificence. The universe responds as it always has –unlimited and unpredictable– but you now stand ready to recognize and fully receive its gifts without shrinking back.

10. Life Purpose
With your struggle over, you can now focus on what you want to give instead of trying to get. Your service to the world is an expression of your overflowing fullness, not from any need or expectation. No matter what you choose to do, it is the quality of heart you bring to it that reflects your mission. As you let your own light shine, you inspire others to do the same. This light is what you are here to give–your life’s purpose.

11. Taking the Journey- The HeroQuest Adventure
The Hero’s Journey above is just a model. On the HeroQuest Adventure, each person’s journey is unique and reflects the real challenges in your life as they appear to you. Above all, the HeroQuest is about saying yes to yourself, and to your dreams. It will challenge you to give up the illusion that you are separate and insignificant, and support you in becoming more fully alive and more effective in the world. It is not just about uncovering deeper truth of who you are, but about having the courage to act on that vision. This new vision will propel you on yet another hero’s journey at a higher level than the last, with new treasures and deeper transformation.

I give credit to HeroQuest, an inner discovery workshop cum travel for tis simplified summary of Joseph Campbells’s Hero’s Journey.

To my former students at the Ateneo, I hope this brought back memories of our classes. ha ha! If you liked this, get The Power Of Myth. It’s Campbell’s easiest book to read. It’s in Q and A style as interviewed by Bill Moyers.

23 to “Frodo, Ninoy, Rizal, Luke Skywalker, you and me…”

  1. Anonymous says:

    It isn’t just ONE journey, is it?


  2. Lori says:

    your entry reminds me of coelho’s alchemist. i believe i have long ago passed the ordinary world and answered that call to adventure (that’s why i’m here) and i know i am now in a “peaceful state”. but reading thru your entry i guess i have to reevaluate. interesting. thanks.


  3. Anonymous says:

    this post is so timely, just what i need now. and now i’m thinking.

    thanks, sir jim!


  4. sachiko says:

    Jim, I’m using IE and I noticed that your fonts get smaller as you scroll down. The third post from the current one can’t be read(from you to eternity), I cannot distinguish the words anymore. Also,your profile photo and links that used to be in the sidebar is way down below, at the bottom of the page, you can’t read what is written there,too.

    Maybe it’s my PC only or maybe you intend it to be that way? Sorry po kung ganon. 🙂

  5. Jim says:

    Hey Sachiko,

    I checked my settings and except for the comment service, it has not changed a bit. Did you adjust anything sa computer mo? Will check things again on my end.



  6. Anonymous says:

    sir jim… ganun din po ang observation ko sa inyong blog.

    it becomes smaller and smaller… hirap ng basahin… and your links or basta yung right column mo ganun din..

    i thought may nangyri sa computer ko or something but then when i log off and log in ganun pa din


  7. Jim says:

    Hey Rach,

    i tried opening my page with Mozilla and Netscape and there was no problem. I don’t know why it’s like this all of a sudden. Let me check some more.



  8. Jim says:

    Hey Rach, Sachico and all users of Internet Explorer. Please let me know if my site appears normal na.


  9. Anonymous says:

    hi sir jim! =)

    ok na po ang site… your right hand column is exactly where it should be :p

    see you soon!!!

  10. Leny says:

    While Joseph Campbell has popularized the ‘hero with a thousand faces,’ you may also want to check “the hero with an african face” by Clyde Ford…a different twist from a non-western perspective that might resonate more with the Filipino hero/ine journey.

  11. Jet says:

    Hi Jim!

    Hay naku, your entry really made me think a bit.

    If I’m gong to be honest, I’d say I’ve gone back and forth between stages 2 and 3. It took a very big leap, and a very scary one, with all its anxieties and apprehensions, just to move on to stage 4.

    And with that, I’m not even sure I’ve landed on solid ground.

    I guess I have a very long road ahead of me yet.

  12. Jim says:

    Hi Leny,
    I loked it up on the net (Hero with a African face) and it really loks interesting. Will look for a copy when I get to the US.

    Passages are hard things. But one never does them alone. Frodo had his allies in the Ents, his dwarfs, and the whole entourage. Rizal had Blumentritt,the expatriates, Bracken. Ninoy had Cory and other advisers. Luke skywalker had the same experience with jedis.
    The scary thing is no one can do the journey except you, di ba? I feel the same about mine too.

  13. sachiko says:

    Ayos na ayos na ho siya,we can now see your deep thinking face when your page loads. 🙂

    You always post inspiring and reflective posts. I can’t seem to decide what stage of my journey I am. I hope to know in a few more years,I’m not getting any younger.

  14. markku says:

    Jim, ang galing naman nitong Hero’s journey, totoong-totoo nga. Ang galing nung parallelism for everyone. Nag-wonder tuloy ako if I’m taking this journey right now, saka kung nasaan na ako… hehehe 🙂

    Hey, you changed your permalinks, now we can link to you. 🙂 But you really need not change the old comment system you used, you can just add the < $BlogItemPermalinkURL$> tag in your template, okay na.

  15. Masdal says:

    Hi Sir Jim. This is one enlightening entry and we all can learn from it. Our soul indeed is in a constant journey for consciousness does not end with the passing of our mortal self but proceeds into higher realms of existence.

  16. - she - says:

    Hi Sir Jim. This is indeed a very enlightening post. As for my own personal journey, I have yet to finally get myself to take that leap of faith, face my fears, and answer my true calling. But I’d like to think I’m already on my way there.

    Thanks for sharing! 🙂

  17. LeNi says:

    you sir, reminds me of my polsci prof, you make me think. thank you for that. 😀

    um, can i link you up so it’d be easier for me to check your updates? thank you. same question goes for your photoblog. 🙂

  18. Anonymous says:

    You don’t really know me..I just got here through a series of blogs (finally your son, Mio’s, though we’re not friends and he probably doesn’t know me). I was actually surprised you had one…The only other father I know who keeps a blog is Francis M. Hehe..
    Anyway, I wanted to comment about the Hero’s journey…Wanted to say that I think most people remain in Stage 1 for most of their lives…And sadly, almost never gets out of it. So I thought, what happens when people never take the next step in the “journey”. If we are all heroes, what happens to those forever crippled by poverty? And I say poverty is indeed the only thing that cripples them. Because there’s too much reality. I mean, you can’t think about a bigger life because the life you have now can hardly be called a “life”. You have to think about food, and money, and your family to feed. What happens then to their lives?

    ..Just wanted to get that out…:)


  19. Jim says:

    Hi Klarisse,
    Overcoming poverty is part of the journey. And while it may seem like some people are stuck in stage one, they are actually on the journey and may just be taking more time than others. As long as you are alive, you are on a journey. Whatever your economic or social state you are in–rich, poor, free, in prison, student, adult, you are doing it. The journey could be a psychological one. And, oh, by the way, my suspicion is it never ends!

    Leny banana, yes you can link me. Markku, Masdal, Sheryl, Sachiko, salamat sa bisita, Good luck on your journeys. I know we are all getting there.

    8:33 AM

  20. jammer says:

    Hi, my name is Allan Diaz and I have been a reader of your blog for quite sometime. I’m presently looking for a motivational speaker for our national sales convention this coming April. A colleague of mine mentioned that you have given a talk before in her previous company and you did an excellent job at it. I’m just wondering if you can send your contact details to allanediaz@gmail.com so I can discuss to you the details if you’re interested.

    Apologies for posting this message here.

  21. MrDJ says:

    Hi Jim,
    Just saw your blog link from a friend’s friend. Nice thoughts. Just what I need. Keep it up.

  22. MrDJ says:

    I just found your bloglink from a friend’s friend. Nice blogs. Keep it up!

  23. eLf ideas says:

    Got your blog link from a friend’s site. Wow! I, too, am a Joseph Campbell fan. I have ‘The Masks of God’ tetralogy as well as “The Hero with…”

    Yeah, the hero in every person.

    Nice blog entries. No, I mean superb. I now see you more deeply than I used to when I was still in the Philippines.


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