Joseph Campbell had a theory about the world’s mythologies containing a similar hero’s journey by which a man (or woman) may have an adventure and be transformed by their experiences. Listening to his conversations with Bill Moyer on the popular radio series “The Power of Myth” helped me get my butt in gear to being brave and following my dream to be a full-time artist. Putting aside the legitimacy of this story arc as a monomyth for all cultures, I can’t deny that there are remarkable similarities between its structure and my life right now.
The Call to Adventure
This has been going on for a while, but it did require some pretty drastic events to make it happen. I would be willing to call the entire upheaval of my life a kind of supernatural intervention. There were threshold guardians, or rather, challenges to getting on with my journey. Namely: to go through my entire apartment and pack it and sell it and give it away. “It” being many many things. There was also my taxes and following through with agreements I had made with my folks so that they would not be left with the burden of my things. 😦 It was far too much to do in one week. Somehow, miraculously and with very little sleep, with the help of a few friends and family members, I got it done and got on that plane to my first stop, Los Angeles.
What am I doing in LA? Actually I’m not in LA, I’m in Los Osos (the bears) visiting my friend Katana Leigh Dufour and her husband Jeremy who I haven’t seen in over 2 years.
I planned my trip to Sydney to include a stop in California for a few reasons. My primary reason was to spend time with a friend who in my mind has mastered the art of manifestation. I don’t mean she sits around wanting things and then they arrive (though that happens too). What she does is follow her bliss, and when her ideas don’t work as imagined, she changes them. She seems to flow through obstacles like water…always seeking the path of least resistance. She also works very very hard. As far as I’m concerned, she’s a teacher and leads by example. She’s also a full-time artist/illustrator and appears not to struggle with that. (Shameless friend website promotion here.) I know I’m making this sound like an impossible person. I’m sure she does get frustrated at times, but she’s as close to a bodhisattva that I could expect to find for my path, and I knew that being around her would be good medicine for my adventure.
I was right. Though she is honest about some of the sacrifices she has had to make leaving her home in Saskatchewan to live in the unknown wilds of San Diego and then Los Osos, she is deliriously happy with her U.S. husband here and I’m glad to say Jeremy is good medicine too. The best part of this leg of the trip has been our conversations….conversations about being Cree in an area that doesn’t have any knowledge of her nation or tribe, and about collaborative art and relationships, and the land and its spirits, and about following one’s bliss.
I’ve also met some other fabulous people who know people I know by complete random happenstance. I would like to make a particular shout out to Ken Campos of Live Oak Monastery who knew my FB friend Lupa Greenwolf, and Mary Malinski of WalksWithin.com who Katana and I met in completely different locations and times. Having these kinds of random connections that defies time and place feels like seeing a trail of breadcrumbs in the forest. It’s as if I’ve been left clues by a former self that show me I’m doing alright making my way though the dark wood.
I couldn’t help but notice that we are in a place called “The Bears.” I have a fondness and relationship to Bears and always think of them as being resourceful. They are just waking up for springtime here and they are hungry. I feel a bit like Bear, hungry for spiritual food and ready to be out and adventuring after a long sleep in my cozy hiding hole.
It seems to me that this is yet another threshold guardian. Ursa Major is most recognizable constellation in the northern hemisphere and bears are representative of the west in many cultures here in North America. As I am about to leave this hemisphere, heading beyond the western most edges of our shores, I can’t help but wonder if Bear is here in all these little coincidences to see me off.
In a few days time I will be in Australia, and I’m guessing some of the challenges and temptations will be awaiting me there as I stretch myself into this epic adventure as a hero of my own story. In another blog post, I will add some pictures of some interesting beauties I was able to witness near Los Osos, California that you might want to visit someday.