Why Parenting As A Hero’s Journey?
By Lisa Reagan
While most of us go about our daily lives rarely contemplating what epic era we’re participating in, many of us are noticing the world’s changes imposing on us in ways that are harder and harder to ignore. For adults who decide to bring children into this changing world, the perils and pitfalls of parenthood are so cleverly disguised in sleek marketing campaigns and collectively silenced with cultural taboos, we are shocked to find how lonely and stressful our walk through the timeless rite-of-passage can be (read The Trauma of Parenthood in the New York Times). In our modern, disconnected world, with no village or tribe to welcome and support newly born families, the “condition” of new parenthood is medically considered high risk factor for clinical depression, while our children face increasing levels of chronic illness, learning disabilities and a horrifying epidemic of young children committing suicide.
From an evolutionary perspective, it is not surprising that there is a growing segment of the world’s population committed to questioning and even challenging disempowering, culturally accepted attitudes (read “story lines”) toward children, parents and families. This growing population was identified by social scientists Paul Ray, PhD, and Sherry Anderson, PhD, in the 1980s as Cultural Creatives: people who are committed to conscious, holistic, sustainable living and who, through their personal and daily actions, are changing the world simply by being themselves.
According to the book, Cultural Creatives, the actions of this growing population, at 200 million worldwide, are to bring forward a missing but crucial element in our culture: the ancient insight of phronesis, or practical wisdom. It is Cultural Creatives who are questioning the Old Story’s industrial values of production, competition and disconnection and exploring the possibilities of a New Story. It is these emerging human capacities – mindfulness, compassion, wholeness/wellness – that are facilitating paths to individual healing, community empowerment and a shift in collective consciousness.
It is Cultural Creatives who have actively brought forward and shaped a New Story since the mid 20th century. By championing the rights of women, children, minorities, LBGT and human rights, the consciousness-raising movements inspired by Cultural Creatives show how the transformation and empowerment of an individual and community transforms, and therefore changes, the world.
It is Cultural Creative families that Families for Conscious Living, a 20 year-old American nonprofit, serves with its commitment to Sharing the New Story of Childhood, Parenthood and the Human Family through its alternative media project, Kindred. FCL is the sponsoring nonprofit of the PAHJ virtual retreats.
It is Cultural Creatives who are just now, at this moment in time, bringing forward the holistic awareness that conscious parenting could liberate the next and future generations from the Old Story that no longer serves humanity.
Where are we to turn for insight into our traditional, historical and even evolutionary need for stories to guide our reality? The Parenting As A Hero’s Journey Virtual Retreats and forthcoming publications utilize the iconic Hero’s Journey monomyth, discovered by scholar Joseph Campbell, to explore and elevate our capacity for becoming the author/authority of our own stories. While the Hero’s Journey reflects millennia of ancient wisdom teachings, as Cultural Creatives in the 21st century, we are the New Story. As parents who wish to pioneer a New Story for our children, we are the heroes following a Call to Adventure, setting out on a quest, transforming our consciousness, discovering the elixir of wisdom, and in the end, returning to our ordinary world with our treasures – real treasures, not the hollowed out images in sleek marketing campaigns. The treasures we carry home from our hero’s journey sustains our souls for our lifetimes, and models for our children the amazing reality of a whole human being.
In Parenting As A Hero’s Journey, we will be unmasking the modern, uber parent mythology that keeps us stuck in the Old Story ideals, internalized through cultural conditioning. If you have felt that there is more to parenthood than what you see around you in your ordinary life, you are hearing the ancient Call to Adventure… Now you just need to step onto your path.
You do not need to go through your adventure alone. All of the Parenting As A Hero’s Journey Guides have heard this call, followed their own path and are now returning to share their treasures of insights and practical wisdom with you.
WATCH THE CULTURAL CREATIVES DOCUMENTARY HERE:
What’s In A Story?
It is through the creative constructs of story that human beings have made sense of their reality, and passed those interpretations onto generations, since we could draw on cave walls. In the early twentieth century, one scholar, Joseph Campbell, took on the Herculean, academic task of compiling and comparing the stories human beings shared through out millenia and cultures. His comparisons of these stories revealed something fascinating: inside most stories, fables, fairy tales and oral traditions, there slept a “monomyth” or a predictable pattern of events, or stages of growth, that were necessary for the central character to complete in order to transcend their ordinary world.
The monomyth shows that a character, later to become a hero/heroine, first exists in the ordinary world but begins to question and feel alien in it (sound familiar?). A Call to Adventure begins to ring through the din of daily life, which the character usually refuses for fear of being ostracized by his community. The Refusal of the Call can lead to all sorts of neuroses, suffering and complications that eventually aren’t worth the price of not following the call. The character eventually decides to heed the Call to Adventure… and the Hero’s Journey begins.
In the Monomyth of the Hero’s Journey (see our wheel above), there are many versions and interpretations of the stops along the way. One of the most popular and instantly recognizable hero’s journey is the epic sci-fi series Star Wars, which was based on Campbell’s model, according to creator George Lucas. I have written before about my first encounter with Star Wars, being 11 years-old in a dark movie theater, watching Luke Skywalker storm out of his uncle’s desert igloo, kick the sand and stare at the binary sunset while struggling with his impulse to leave… to follow a Call to Adventure to an unknown future.
While Campbell offered the world a needed overview of traditions in storytelling, he did not say or intend for the monomyth to be rigid – but instead, a living, evolving model that has always served the people of the present moment. And in this present moment, there is a need to examine the ancient wisdom teaching model and bring it into the present, where Cultural Creative families are answering the hero’s Call to Adventure by taking up the challenge of embodying a New Story.
Following The Call To Adventure
With the decision to share a New Story, to embody this New Story in our daily lives, comes a unfolding of human capacities that – to the eyes of an Old Story observer – would certainly appear to be super powers. In the upcoming virtual retreat series, your guides will share with you these New Story super powers, including awareness, self-nurturing, self-regeneration, self-regulation, mindfulness, becoming the author/authority of your own story and taking deep dives into your own realm of the Inner Child (Robin Grille) where you will find tools to encounter, slay and re-envision no longer wanted programming and patterns.
With Robin Grille, you will unmask the mythology of the modern, uber parent on a quest through your own Inner Child’s realm.
With Karen Brody, you will learn to enter into your own unconscious realm through the restorative power of sleep.
With Kelly Wendorf, you will discover ways to distill the ultimate treasure of all heroic journeys: the elixir of wisdom and its practical applications to everyday life.
With Lysa Parker and Barbara Nicholson, you will find the superpower of mindfulness as a tool for discovering the spiritual essence of attachment in relationship.
With Elly Taylor, you will discover the implications of parenthood as a rite-of-passage and what this individual transformation means for your relationship to yourself and others, especially your partner.
With Teresa Graham Brett, you will discover that you already are the author/authority of your own story, and how to become more conscious of your authorship moving forward.
With Michael Mendizza, you will discover how your hero’s journey can be transformed into a much needed call for mentoring other parents and future generations of parents.
With John Breeding, PhD, you will discover how a break with cultural conformity may appear as a break down, more than a break through, for your or your child, but these openings are how the light gets in!
With Meryn Callader, you will discover that the underbelly of hell, including surviving divorce, abuse or betrayal, can providing the compost for a new, empowering reality to emerge.
And finally, at the end of 2015, your virtual retreat facilitator, Rebecca Thompson, will help you Return to the Village with your treasures with guidance on how to keep the adventure going!
Notice that all of your guides have completed their own hero’s journeys, some of them many times now, and understand what it means to “walk between two worlds” of consciousness – your inner realms and your outer daily and ordinary world reality. Here’s what your virtual retreat with your guides includes:
What is a Virtual Retreat?
A Parenting As A Hero’s Journey Virtual Retreat allows you to skip piling on more information into your overwhelmed mind and instead EXPERIENCE a deep dive into an adventure created specifically for parents like you… parents who are hearing a call to a different way of being as a way to create the world you want your children to inherit. Your guides will share and guide you through:
A Welcoming Initiation: Each virtual retreat begins with a live call with your guide who will share an overview of the journey ahead.
Breadcrumbs On The Trail: Each virtual retreat includes practical guidance, exercises and love notes emailed three times a week.
The Deep Dive: A webinar that covers the deepest, most profound insights into the guide’s teachings. This webinar is for you to keep and enjoy.
Personal Connection: You will have a personal connection with your guide in our forums. You can ask questions about your practical exercises and parenting challenges, as well as find more inspiration for your real life parenting adventure.
Closing Circle: A live call at the end of your three-week journey to share your experience, bid farewell to your fellow travelers and guides and discover ways to keep the momentum going if you like.
Your Facilitator: Rebecca Thompson is a holistic counselor and the founder of the Consciously Parenting Project. Rebecca will be your facilitator for all of the virtual retreats through 2015.
Thank you for joining us for this adventure and for inviting us to walk with you on your path. If you feel inspired to share your journey with me, and perhaps Kindred readers, you can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
They may not be able to say it now, but your children and grandchildren will thank you for Answering the Call! We thank you, too!