Hero's Journey

Fueling Your Passion


Even in the middle of May, the forest stays cool. I always notice the difference when I leave town after resupply. While climbing (because it’s always uphill to get back on the trail out of town) with my freshly loaded pack, I can feel the sweat starting to line my spine, leaving that moist spot between my back and my pack, despite the best efforts of my sweat-wicking shirt.
But as I crest yet another hill on this mountain range of the Appalachian Trail, I can still feel the coolness of the forest.
I stop and make camp a little further on, in a relatively clear cove near a bend in a stream. Having water nearby when you set up camp is a godsend. Otherwise your tired feet may have another hike to haul your water bag at the end of the day.
I learned quickly on my extended hike of the AT that I wasn’t going to have the ample amount of time I originally thought for reading, meditation, yoga, and campfires. It was commonplace for hikers to walk as far as their legs could carry them in a day. Sometimes I found myself pulling out my headlamp as the sun went down, looking for a flat place to pitch my tent.
But tonight I hadn’t pushed it so far, and it was dusk. The forest was cooling off even more as I unloaded my gear.
The thought enters my head - I’m gonna light a fire.
I know it’s not necessary. I know I can just heat up my chicken and rice on my portable stove, climb into my sleeping bag, zip up my tent, and call it a day.
But I want to start a fire.
So I make a fire ring out of rocks on a flat area free of surrounding brush. I collect leaves, small twigs, and some larger sticks and set them up teepee fashion.
Then I take out my lighter and light my sacred pile.
A small stream of smoke swirls from the leaf I had touched the flame to. But not a flicker of fire.
I do it again, in a different area. Same result.
The forest in May is cool because it holds the moisture from the rain. It had been a particularly rainy spring.
After several more failed attemps and a scuffed thumb, I am about to call it quits. This seems futile.
But what do I really have to lose?
If it doesn’t light, it doesn’t light. Not a big deal, I’ll just call it a day. But if it does light…then by golly, I’ve got a bonafide campfire!
So I continue. I eventually get a small patch of kindling to persist and glow with red flame. The flame licks up to the small bundle of twigs above it. Seeing that take, I proceed to do the same thing on the other side.
Eventually, the flames are enough that I no longer desire to put my hand all up in it any more.
The bigger sticks and small branches at the top catch.
The fire has begun.


We can’t give up on our dreams so easily. Our ideas to help others, save the world, and enjoy ourselves in the process, take time, dedication, and persistence. As well as a thoughtful laid out stack of branches.
I knew a hiker who started a fire in the rain. I rolled up to the shelter, tired as a dog, to be greeted by the warm flames and friendly faces gathered round. I later found out it had taken him hours to get it going.
Many of us had just spent the last several days in pouring rain through the Smoky Mountains. So along with our bodies soaking up the heat from his diligent project, our socks were also drying nearby.
Just get one piece of kindling lit.
It does make a difference.

Love Always,


Freedom To Live

Your Hero’s Journey: Freedom to Live


You wake up to a bright, fluorescent light bulb blaring above your head. It’s one you’ve seen, day after day, for years. But today, it’s different.


The cheap fan is blowing steadily, rotating slowly from side to side. The slight draft is a respite from the heat. Even the breeze feels different.


You throw the sheet off of you, and climb down off the top bunk of the metal bed. The body in the bed below you snores softly, still sleeping.


Making yourself a cup of instant coffee, you sit in the hard plastic chair and lean your back against the bars of your cell. Sipping your drink, you contemplate how this is the last day you will be in this cage.


Today is the day you leave prison.


Oddly enough, you notice a slew of different emotions. Anger at yourself for putting yourself in this position. Fear of the unknown and uncertain future. A bittersweet sadness, because there are those you have met who still be here after you depart. Hurt over what others have done to you. Shame over who you believe you are, and feeling like your life has not yet amounted to what you want it to be.


Yet, even as you feel these emotions, you’re aware of them. You are aware that they are stemming from thoughts that are not empowering you. Thoughts that are not true.


Closing your eyes, you take a few deep breaths, and bring your attention inside, to what feels really true. The thoughts dissolve.


You feel a huge wave of peace wash over you. You see all these emotions, all these stories, and you realize that they are not who you are. That you can indeed let them go, and decide to embark on a new adventure.


The anger turns to passion – passion for this gift of your life and for starting anew. The fear turns to excitement – excitement for all the possibility that lies ahead. The sadness turns to compassion – compassion for all those suffering, here and elsewhere. The hurt turns to forgiveness – forgiveness of yourself, others, and the past, and clarity around a new future. Shame turns to strength – the inner strength to realize who you really and truly are.


You are powerful.


In that moment, you hear your name over the loud-speaker. Setting your cup down, you stand.


You walk out of your prison, into the big wide-world of your Destiny.




The Hero’s Mastery of the Two Worlds is True Mastery of the Self. This mastery leads to freedom from the dear of death, which in turn is the freedom to live. This is the final stage of the Hero’s Journey.


Freedom to Live is what it means to live in the moment, neither anticipating the future nor regretting the past. You just ARE. You’re body may still do things, but you do them with not-doing, with an energy that emanates from the core of your being.


You are motivated by love, connection, oneness, and joy. Indeed, you recognize this is all there is. Any time a lie comes up, you are able to see it as such and gently release it with love, returning to this freedom that is you.


A Hero’s Journey is truly never over, because death is a construct of the mind. It’s a journey of ongoing evolution, where you are always evolving into more of who you are. As one saga of the journey completes, another begins, because there is always more to learn, always more to grow, always more to love.


We are always arriving.


Love Always,


Mastering Two Worlds

Your Hero’s Journey: Master of Two Worlds


“Part of me wants to do this, and part of me doesn’t,” she said.


“Well, what’s the part of you that does?” I asked.


I was working with a client facing an inner conundrum. It’s one we’ve all faced at some point or another in some similar fashion.


A part of her wanted to go all out, dedicate herself to the vision she had of helping others heal, and just enjoy the whole process. The other part of her, however, felt this was insensible, irrational, and believed she needed to buckle down and make sure the bills got paid.


“The part of me that does, well, she’s free-spirited. She trusts that everything is working out. She just feels loved and gives love.”


“And the other part, what about her?”


“She wants to make sure shit gets done. Like she doesn’t want to leave people hanging and she wants to make sure I’m taken care of.”


Through my own experience and working with others, I’ve come to believe that we have two worlds we live in. One is our Outer World and one is our Inner World.


Our ego, our conscious mind, our personality – this is the aspect of us that engages with the Outer World, or the Material World. There is nothing wrong with the material world – it is the very Earth we live in. The mind, by itself, wants to ensure our safety, our survival, and our needs being met.


Our soul, our unconscious mind, our higher self – this is the aspect of us that engages with our Inner World, the Spirit World. This world is no less real than our Outer World – it is the very vehicle by which we perceive our life. The soul wants to ensure our growth, our destiny, and our gifts being shared.


“What is the conflict between these two aspects of yourself? How is that a problem?”


She pauses, but only for a moment. The answer comes to her clearly.


“It’s a problem because part of me believes in myself… and another part does not.”


“What is her purpose – this part doesn’t believe in you?” I ask.


“To make sure I stay safe,” she answers.


“For what purpose?” I ask.


“So I can survive longer.”


“For what purpose?” I ask, not intending to be a parrot, but truly, the parrot’s got the right idea.


On we went, and I asked this same question, over and over again, of both parts.


I could start to hear the shift in her voice, the change in her energy, and even her physical body relaxing as she connected more deeply with these two seemingly opposing forces inside herself… that were really one and the same.


Turns out that both of these parts really wanted the same thing – to Be Love, Source, and to Enjoy the whole process of Life. At the surface, they were going about it in different ways. But just like two people reaching a heartfelt consensus, these two parts realized they were part of the same whole – who she was.


Integration really is a simple process, but it’s often the road less traveled. It can feel “easier” to engage with our problems on the surface level, never really digging down to uncover what the deeper issue really is.


In the Hero’s Journey, as the Hero Returns Home and achieves full integration, she reckons a balance between the material and spiritual world. Another way of saying this she creates an mending of her Inner and Outer world.


When we feel whole, our whole life feels whole. The next step becomes clear. Fear falls away because we are fully present with who we are.


We know exactly what to do.


At the end of our session, she thanks me profusely. I smile and say, “You were the one who did the work. I just sat here and watched.” Because, really, all I did was ask the question…


“For What Purpose?”


Love Always,


Homeward Bound

Your Hero’s Journey: Crossing the Return Threshold


It was a 90 degree day in New Orleans, Louisiana. Which meant it felt like 110 with the humidity. Humidity so thick, you could chew it.


We were finishing the last coat of paint on the last room of the three-bedroom shotgun house in the neighborhood of Lakeview. During Hurricane Katrina, flooding from the 17th Street canal floodwall breach inundated the neighborhood, as well as most of the Crescent City. This house, like many others, was a complete rebuild.


Just months ago when I visited, the original house was several blocks down the street, up against a bent telephone pole.


Hundreds of thousands of people were affected by the storm, and so many lost their homes. In the months and years after Katrina, the community – from all over the country – has come together in rebuilding efforts.


I was working with a newly fledged volunteer organization rebuilding houses. I had learned a lot that summer – from hanging drywall, to how to breath through the unbearably hot masks to protect you from mold, to how to make your paint job look even.


Of course, I was having lots of fun. I loved the people I worked with. I loved that I could see the progress of my work. I loved working with my hands.


But nothing compared to the look on the woman’s face.




Have you ever felt homesick, dear one?


I believe we all have.


Maybe even for most of our life.


Home is much more than an abode to live in. A town to identify with. Even a community you feel an integral part of.


We all crave to return to the home that is inside of ourselves.


I’ve found for many of us, in order to find that home, to really discover it, it requires getting lost.


In The Wizard of Oz, Dorothy couldn’t wait to skedaddle from her small Kansas town. But even though she yearns to go back as soon as she arrives at Oz, she must go through the Hero’s Journey to discover that the home she seeks has been inside of her all along.


This stage of the Hero’s Journey is where the Hero crosses the threshold to return “home” – or to the old world she originally departed from. Her purpose is to retain the wisdom gained on the quest, integrate that wisdom into a human life, and share that wisdom with the rest of the world.


We are not meant to live in a vacuum or in isolation. We are meant to connect with our gift, to engage with our power, and a natural unfolding will occur so that we can share this with those around us.


So that we can bring the healing fully home.




It was a cooler morning a few weeks later. We were just stopping by to grab the last of our supplies – some old paint rollers and paint buckets we had left.


As we pulled up, we saw another car in the driveway. An older woman was working her way up the steps. She turned and looked at us, and then beckoned us to come to her. We got out of the car and walked up to greet her.


“Have you been inside yet?” my friend and the director of the organization asked.


“No I was just about to walk in,” she answered. “I can’t thank you enough for all the work you have done! We are so happy!”


But she did thank us. At least me anyways. The look on her face was more than enough.


The woman had tears of joy in her eyes as she walked over the threshold of this newly painted house.


Finally, she got to go inside. Finally, she got to come home.


Love Always,


Rescue You, Rescue All

Your Hero’s Journey: Rescue from Without


How often do we secretly – or not so secretly – wish that someone or something would rescue us?


When I was in preschool, I remember playing this imaginary game with another little boy I had a crush on. Granted, I was in preschool, so I didn’t know what a “crush” was. I did know a lot about Disney princesses though. So I decided this dark haired boy was my prince.


We were out on the playground and I pretended that I was tied to a tree. I decided I was “Minnie Mouse” and he would be “Mickey Mouse.” I was yelling, “Mickey! Mickey! Save me! Save me! The train is coming and it’s going to run me over!”


Let’s just say Mickey got tired of this game pretty quickly and went to go play on the swings.


How often do we keep ourselves tied up so that someone else can save us?


But maybe a better question is…why?


As humans, one of our basic needs is for connection. Yes we need shelter, food, and basic necessities to physically survive. But as emotional beings we also require psychological support as well. We crave true, authentic connection.


Throughout our life, we may learn things that make us believe we are not capable. That we cannot trust ourselves. That life is scary and we are not enough.


Couple this with our basic need for connection and you’ve got a “Rescue Me” paradigm.


Sometimes though, in our effort to balance this, we can swing far into the opposite extreme. We can take independence to the max. We believe that we MUST do everything all by ourselves, in order to be “worthy.” This is just another way of seeking that authentic connection.


In the Hero’s Journey, there comes a time when the Hero truly does need a powerful guide, friend, or supportive helpers to bring her back to everyday life.


Think Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz, when Glenda the Good Witch instructs her to tap her ruby red slippers three times and say “There’s no place like home.”


The Hero needs encouragement, but not because she is broken. She needs it because she has embarked on something major. And although she has realized the boon within herself, it does not mean she no longer needs support.


Where do you need support in your life?


And where are you (or are you not) asking for it?


The thing with support is that most people do not know 1) that you need help, 2) how to give you the help you need, or 3) believe that they are the ones that can help you.


You need to be clear with the Universe (aka ask the people around you) on the kind of assistance you need. Not everyone will want or be able to hold the space that you desire in order to heal and bring this gift into the world.


But it just takes one.


Find that one person who sees you as an empowered Soul, who believes in you, and who is willing to listen and love you unconditionally as you go through this journey. Be that person for others.


Like a chain of Light, we are linking to each others Power in an authentic way, a way that enhances our connection, rather than drowns it. A way that helps us realize we are our own rescuers. A way that helps us rise out of co-dependence and even independence into a state of interdependence.


In this way, when we rescue ourselves, we rescue the world.


Love Always,


Your Magic to Fly

Your Hero’s Journey: Magic Flight


The reason we resonate so much with the Hero’s Journey is that we inherently recognize it as the path we are always on during our life.


This journey transcends time, place, culture, and religious upbringing.


In fact, I learned a great deal from the story of Moses. A great teacher of mine told one version of this story to me.


In this story, Moses is fleeing with his people from the Egyptians. He knows he needs to get to the Red Sea.


But he takes the wrong path.


He does get to the Red Sea…but it is not parted.


His people are behind him, depending on him, and the Egyptians are bearing down.


What would you do?


Moses tunes into himself. “I had this vision that we are supposed to cross here. This must be the way to go.”


Moses trusts that although he took the “wrong” path, that he is here and so it must be the right path.


So he walks into the sea, up to his ankles. Nothing happens. His people wonder what he is doing.


Then he walks in to his knees. Still nothing happens. His people are growing more concerned by the moment.


He walks into his waist. His people start yelling, “Hey Moses! What the F*** are you doing?!”


Moses remains calm and walks in up to his chin, still the sea remains. His people can literally see the Egyptians over the crest of the hill. The fear is palpable.


Then Moses walks all the way in, fully submerged. Even his staff is under water. He takes his last breath…


…and the sea parts.


He and his people run through the parted sea, just as the Egyptians approach. The sea closes like a curtain behind them, blocking the Egyptians from reaching them.


Moses had to go all in and trust.


If Moses had taken that “right” path and reach the Red Sea when he could have crosses, the Egyptians would have been able to cross as well, follow them, and kill them.


If you want the Universe to go all in with you, a toe in the water is not going to do it.


It’s OK to step fully forward into the unknown and trust yourself.


This story represents the stage in the Hero’s Journey where the hero must escape with the boon. It’s called “Magic Flight.” This magic flight can be just as adventurous and dangerous returning from the journey as to go on it.


Taking flight is the hero completely believing in herself. Literally taking a leap of faith. Because with the boon of the journey, she has also realized that the boon lies within herself.


She knows she must share this boon, her Real Self, with the world. So she is willing to take the risk, take flight, and see where the magic takes her.


Love Always,


Sharing Your Gift

Your Hero’s Journey: Refusal of Return


A bodhisattva is a person, who with great compassion, achieves nirvana to benefit all sentient beings.


Legend goes that the bodhisattva leaves the village, goes to the mountaintop, attains enlightenment, and then goes back down to the village to bring others to this same mountaintop of nirvana.


The story of the Buddha is an example of such a legend.


One thing that many do not know though, is that in this story, the Buddha initially is hesitant to teach. Not because he did not want to help. But because what he wanted to teach could not be communicated with merely words.


In the Hero’s Journey, the hero may refuse to return after she has achieved her ultimate boon. Having found bliss and enlightenment in the other world, the hero may not want to return to the ordinary world to bestow the boon onto her fellow beings.


Have you ever experienced this, my dear?


Whether it be not wanting to “go home” after a relaxing vacation or retreat, or feeling that words lack the depth you want in order to describe your vision, many Hero’s refuse to share our gift with the world.


But in this refusal, we can choke off our bliss.


We are constantly evolving, constantly growing.


So although it may feel like we are “going back” by engaging with the “real world,” what we are really doing is bringing this peace, bringing the “real world” to others.


One of my clients, after experiencing such radical healing in her body and life, was hesitant to return to seeing her family after months of being away. It was the holidays, and even though she was very happy where she was, she was dreading the interaction with her parents. Not because she didn’t love them. Because she felt they wouldn’t get her anymore.


With courage, she decided to step into that world. Because when we engage with others, we truly are allowing ourselves to step into their world as well. What she experienced amazed her. Although she didn’t have the same conversations as she may have with her Soul Family, her tribe she has met along the way, she was able to have deeper level conversations about life with her family. She actually saw, heard, and felt that they were opening up to her new lifestyle. She even felt like she “got” where they were coming from too. Through the whole interaction, she didn’t feel like she needed to explain herself at all.


That’s because she wasn’t explaining her vision. She was living it.


We can truly never walk back through the same door ever again. We are always evolving into more of who we are. We can experience similar lessons along the way, but we are experiencing them at a higher level than before, for a deeper learning.


As we learn more, as we experience more peace with and within ourselves, it is part of our Hero’s Journey to share this gift with others. It’s not an obligation, you can and may indeed initially refuse.


But when we see how much the world needs our help, needs our presence, how can we not step forward as our best selves? How can we not feel gratitude for our own healing and want to share that with others?


How can we not ask, "How may I serve?"


Love Always,


Reaching Your Destiny(ation)

Your Hero’s Journey: The Ultimate Boon


What is the thing, that once you attain it, you feel you will have fulfilled a major piece of your destiny?


I believe that even though we all intuitively know that “having” something outside of us will not make us happy in and of itself, that as humans we all still deeply crave to engage with our dreams as a process of discovering what we truly desire.


I dream of creating a home for authentic living and leadership, call The Haven. It is a physical space for healing and change, where you come to BE. It’s a sustainable farm, retreat center, and school. It’s a family, a community, a tribe. It’s a way of life.


Even though I want this very much, whenever I find myself feeling any “lack” for not having it, I remind myself that this place, this Haven, is inside of me. It’s inside of you too.


It’s Your Haven Within.


The external goal is there to help me reach inside myself, day after day, to find my internal soul that can bring it into being.


The thing with healing anything, with achieving anything, is that we ARE that thing, first, before we recognize it’s physical representation in our reality.


On the Hero’s Journey, this achievement is called the "Ultimate Boon." Note that this happens AFTER the shamanistic death, or apostasis. The Hero lets go of who she thinks she is in order to be who she really is.


The ultimate boon is the achievement of the goal of the quest. It is what the person went on the journey to get. All the previous steps serve to prepare and purify the Hero for this step.


One client I worked with was driven to help women empower themselves. She was drawn to faith healing, to showing up fully, to teaching others to be their best selves by practicing this in her own life. As she went through her journey, she experienced all of the stages.


She heard the call. She refused it. She had supernatural aide coming at her from all directions. She decided to cross the threshold and undergo an utter inner and outer transformation in the “belly of the whale.” She experienced more than her fair share of trials – trials I was awed by how she handled with grace and strength, even as she struggled. She was tempted to go back, to give up on this mission and go lead a “normal” life, but she knew she couldn’t. She had come too far. She atoned with the authority figure in her life, and integrated that power in her own authentic leadership. She even experienced the apostasies, the representation of death by completely letting go of the outcome. And through this process, she realized the ultimate boon – she was able to heal herself, be a space for other women to heal, and the true gift – be her complete self in the process.


I believe that’s all we all really want – to just be our damn selves. No restrictions. No judgments. Just complete acceptance of who we really are.


Just be you, and all that you desire finds you.


After all, it is your Destiny(ation).


Love Always,


Letting Go of Who You Think You Are

Your Hero’s Journey: Apostasis


When you pass on, what words would you want on your gravestone?


Thinking or talking about death in our society can be seen as morbid. It is, and it isn’t. The power is the way we decide to converse about this. Because it is something all living creatures have in common.


A powerful exercise is to float out into the future, to the end of your life, and look back towards now. What do you want to have experienced? Contributed? Received? Connected with?


Who do you want to be?


The biggest challenge with stepping into the creation of what we want to experience is the underlying knowing that we must give up who we think we are.


There is a stage on the Hero’s Journey called Apostasis. It is also referred to in different cultures as shamanistic death.


This is when the hero dies a physical death or dies to the self to live in spirit. In this death, she moves beyond the pairs of opposites to a state of divine knowledge, love, compassion, and bliss.


The death is of the attachment and identification with the ego. As long as we live, we will always have a personality. It’s like our heart or our lungs – it was given to us for a soul to experience life. But when we let go of the attachment to the personality – to the limits we place on who we believe we are, we can experience true peace.


We can do this in seemingly small and big ways. For example, someone deciding to be sober and no longer consume drugs or alcohol is not only letting go of a way of living, they are letting go of an old way of being. Similarly, someone who thinks of themselves as “always anxious” can choose – maybe a little or a lot at a time – to let go of this identity and live as the calm and strong being they truly are.


Apostasis is a letting go, a surrender, and a choice to see the union among duality. To be able to sink into that larger perspective that we have both “good” and “evil” inside of us, but we also have the ultimate power to choose which of those to feed.


This is the kind of death that frees you, the death of fear.


I will leave you with a poem I wrote one day, inspired by life itself.


Dear God.

Thank God I am dying.

For it means I know how to truly live.

To be ripped open by Passion

And devoured. Whole.

Into the abyss of Eternity

And all that lies within

To breath in


And transmute it to Life.

In this Death, there is Joy.

Dear God, thank God

I am dying.


Love Always,


Becoming the Teacher

Your Hero’s Journey: Atonement with the Father


I was crouched down outside of the Forest Hall, with my hands clutching my heart.


I could not stop uncontrollably crying.


Rewind just ten minutes before. I was laughing and playing with my group at the Thailand mindfulness center called The New Life Foundation. I had stumbled upon this miraculous healing place from a fortuitous and serendipitous chain of events – aka met someone who told me to go somewhere where I met someone else who told me to come here.


We were engaged in an improv workshop. The goal of the workshop was to simply be completely present in any activity or role you were playing. The facilitator was moving from one act or scene to the next, so we never knew what to expect.


I was exhausted from staying up late the night before and being awakened by the regular roosters and dogs that call Thailand home. So exhausted I couldn’t think anymore, I simply was following the crowd.


Suddenly, the facilitator grabbed his chest, and fell.


As if he was having a heart attack.


No thoughts went through my mind. It was simply raw unfiltered energy.




I ran out the door.


And let the sob rip through me.


Gasping for air, my mind could not understand at that moment why on earth I was reacting so viscerally to what was obviously a play-act of death. My mind could only watch as it stood aside and allow myself to sob out every tear in my body.


I was lucky to have good friends nearby. A few came out and simply held me, not needing any explanation to why I was reacting this way.


After what felt like an eternity, I had the strength to walk upright. We walked up the hill.


I told my friend, “My dad. He died of a heart attack.”


It was as if all those years of grief culminated in my soul finally, and viscerally, watching him die. And in that moment, I felt fully free.

I would never be the same again.




In this stage of the Hero’s Journey, the Hero must confront and be initiated by whatever or whoever holds the ultimate power in his or her life. In many myths and stories, this is the father, or a father-figure who has life and death power. The is the center point of the journey.


In Star Wars, Darth Vader represents this for Luke Skywalker. In Harry Potter, it’s Dumbledore. For me, it was my dad. For you it may be someone totally different, even a woman.


This is the initiation stage, where the Hero steps fully into the role of the leader.


Facing authority can be intimidating for many. Some of us avoid it by rebelling against it, some of us by placating to it. When we truly face authority, we do so on equal ground.


Even if externally we feel like we are David in David and Goliath, when we face authority with courage, we are choosing to see ourselves as equal. When we believe this, our outer world mirrors our inner, and that authority recognizes our own authority within us.


You write your own rules.


You become the teacher.


Love Always,