I studied mythic story structure according to Joseph Campbell in A Hero with a Thousand Faces and Christopher Vogler's The Writers Journey: Mythic Structure for Writers to prepare myself for a rewrite of my memoir.A friend explained he saw his life in terms of mythic structure. He regularly speaks in metaphors and I found his perspective of life fascinating. I've rarely considered my life, or life in general, from a mythic story perspective.
What fascinated me was that when I laid out the sequencing of Three-Act story structure, archetypal characters, and overall quest structure of the hero/ine in mythic story stucture my life's narrative lined up closely, nearly exactly.
There were four tent-pole-climaxes/ordeals with scenes and sequences. I left the ordinary world at seventeen having been called to a challenge at eight, and entered the special world of a different culture and experience, replete with challenges, thresholds, threshold guardians, tragic heroes, magic talismans. I entered the inner belly of the whale and came back out to tell a story.
When I noticed the coincidence of how a life did fit into mythic story structure, I shuddered and contemplated Schopanhauer's perspective that if we live long enough to stand back and look at our life story as an objective observer, we would be shocked to see the rich cohesiveness, as if the plot line had been laid out by a conscious writer and we just lived it.
With a deepening appreciation of the perspective of mythic story structure, I stood back and reviewed my losses, my pains, my lessons, the betrayals I performed, the betrayals I experienced, as if they were completely separate from me, though they formed me, lent me wisdom and opened my heart. I felt all the pain I had experienced was worth passing through—every sob and splitting open of true feeling a necessary step to reach where I have come: Willing and determined to love unconditionally with full trust. I feel blessed beyond my deepest expectations. My life feels whole and complete even if I would have to leave in this moment.
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