What we have presented above is but a general sketch of a deep and fascinating model for achieving profound happiness, health, healing, and helpfulness in the world. In his book Of Water and Spirit, Malidoma Some speaks of his life growing up in a West African village. In that culture, it is assumed that each new baby has crossed from the spirit world into this world in order to bring a gift to the community. He describes a village ritual in which each newborn is brought to the elders, who take several days to commune with the newly arrived spirit. The basic question the elders ask of the newborn is, “Why have you come here?”. They assume that each person has come with a special mission, and that their life should be organized around honoring and realizing this mission. Based on the response they receive, the elders seek to support the child’s development so that their mission may be realized.
In a similar way, the mythological path of the hero’s journey seeks to honor the deeper value and calling of each person’s life. It assumes that each difficulty, crisis, or setback a person faces is both an opportunity and feedback about the nature of that person’s deeper calling. It also recognizes the need to find the resources, both internally and in the collective field, that will help a person realize their deeper journey. It is this profound appreciation for the dignity and value of each person’s life that drew us to this myth. We have found it exceptionally helpful for coaching and supporting individuals and groups to discover and live a fulfilling and helpful existence. The few notes and suggestions we have made in this paper are taken from workshops we have co-led, and represent the framework for a book we are working on. We hope you find them as helpful as we have, in terms of creating a world that works for all.