You may be familiar with Joseph Campbell’s work on myths and story. He identified a cycle to stories that also applies to our lives.
One of the big steps is the move toward Big Change. The hero or heroine realizes she wants and needs to do something differently and must act. Making this big change is one of the hardest steps. In “The Devil Wears Prada”, Andy has to face her boss and decide to move on.
All through a story the hero or heroine is faced with incremental changes that lead to making a big decision – one that will change her life forever. A heroine stands up to an ogre and she defeats him, or a courageous woman befriends the fiery dragon that taunted her village for years, as in the legend of Saint Martha and the Tarasque in the South of France. In fairy-tales we celebrate the success once the battle is won. But I wonder how the hero/heroine feels once the celebrations end?
In the lives of everyday heroes these kinds of changes appear – breakups with a partner who is no longer the right one (a symbolic battle with the dragon); leaving behind a house for financial reasons; sending adult kids out into the world to live on their own, and many more. Once the decision is made and the change occurs an expectation exists that we’ll automatically and immediately feel relieved, happy, and content.
Everyday heroines, like you and me, might actually feel comforted once the ogre-like ex moves out, or the hero-knight might hit an adrenaline high after standing up to the fire-breathing boss and saying, “I quit.” But big changes can also lead to feelings of shock, depression, despair, grief, and a loss of faith as we ask “Why me?” or simply, “What happened?” or “Oh my god, what have I done?!”
When the higher-self calls us to make big changes and be true to our Self some of the changes can lead to feelings of temporarily being lost or in a dark night of the soul. Faith in one’s Self and the Divine connection may seem dim. Meister Eckhart wrote, “Truly it is in darkness that we find the light.”
So be aware of this moment as a passage, a hallway to something better and don’t despair. It may take time to release the emotions around the changes and process the experiences. It’s not unusual to feel temporarily worse and somewhat confused before finding a new equilibrium. Life is a bit like a teeter-totter – with emotional ups and downs. Seeking the middle point closest to the support of the teeter-totter assures the least movement or drama and the quickest recovery. That support point that keeps us closest to peace is the Divine. So as you weather the changes applaud yourself for your courage, stay in close contact with your soul-Self, and know that better and richer experiences lie just ahead.
Copyright, Debra Moffitt 2013. Revised 2015. First published on Beliefnet.com as a part of Debra’s blog. No portion of this blog post or photos may be copied, republished, reprinted, or used in e-book or printed materials without the author’s prior written permission. For permission see “Permissions and Content” or send an email to Debra Moffitt.
Bio: Debra Moffitt is the award winning author of Awake in the World: 108 Practices to Live a Divinely Inspired Life and “Garden of Bliss: Cultivating the Inner Landscape for Self-Discovery” (Llewellyn Worldwide, February 2013). She leads workshops in the U.S. and Europe.