Interview by Sarah Mervosh
When we spoke with Janet, she quickly answered most of our questions, easily slipping back into the moments during her Hero’s Journey ® experiences that have affected her most profoundly. She seemed to be quite aware of her how the Hero’s Journey ® influences her life — from guidance when switching careers to simply having more awareness when she takes her dog on walks. But one question tripped her up. When we asked Janet how she sees herself as the hero of her own life, she paused several times and asked to hear the question again. However, her hesitance did not seem to imply that the answer was not there. Rather, Janet was so much the hero of her own life, in ways that are innate and indescribable, that she had to venture into a deeper part of herself in order to find the answer.
Career: Janet and her husband own a wellness center and Janet is the primary yoga instructor. She is also a Brennan Healing Science Practitioner.
Hometown: Newton, North Carolina
Passions: Taking her dog on a walk, canoeing, hiking, getting together with friends, playing the guitar
# of Journeys: 3 week-long journeys and 3 or 4 weekend journeys
Hero’s Journey ® Message To Live By: Follow your bliss and doors will open for you that will not open for anyone else.
HJF: How did you first get involved in the Hero’s Journey ®?
JW: I got involved through my husband. He started going several years before I did. He knew that I would really enjoy it but I didn’t believe him. [Laughs] It took me a couple years before I decided to try it out.
HJF: What pushed you over the edge? JW: I got interested in it because of the outdoor elements. That’s a big part of it. I got interested in it because I was really curious about the rest of it that I didn’t know about it.
HJF: If someone was considering the Hero’s Journey ® and only knew about the outdoor element part of it, what would you tell them?
JW: There are deeper aspects of it that helped me deepen more into myself and more into living life more fully.
HJF: Was there a particular experience from the Hero’s Journey ® that stands out to you?
JW: The particular experience that stands out to me was when I climbed the leap of faith pole. I think that element was probably the most challenging for me and it wasn’t challenging so much physically as it was psychologically. I was all ready to gear up and zip up the pole and [the person] who was belaying asked me to slow down and I did and this whole wave of feelings came over me. I didn’t know what the feelings were but a lot of emotions came through … I went a lot more slowly than I had planned on going. When I got to the top, I was surprised to find how small the top of the pole was. I wasn’t sure how both of my feet were going to fit up there. It was just really amazing to go through the different mental blocks I had about that not being possible. It was just really cool to get up there and stand on my feet up there and being invited to let go of the rope I was clinging to. Again, not thinking that was possible and then finding that it was possible and then opening up even further … Then the leap itself was just icing on top of everything. It was fun.
HJF: How do you draw strength form this experience? How has overcoming it been applied in your daily life?
JW: I find that when I feel stuck about something in my life, or I feel a pull to go toward something but I don’t know how to get there, I don’t know that it’s going to look like, I know I can trust in myself and in getting support for what it is that I long for. I know that I can go for it.
HJF: Is there a specific example that comes to mind?
JW: Before we had our wellness center, I transitioned from being a Montessori teacher to being a Brennan Healing Science Practitioner. That required a lot of trust and faith and a process and not really knowing how that was going to happen. Knowing that even though I enjoyed the Montessori classroom, that wasn’t where I was being fulfilled anymore. So moving through that was an example. Another example was creating this wellness center. That wasn’t even in my mindset or goal set at all. Things just kept happening where it was just the right thing to do and it was meant to be. We went to the building and we just loved it and it was for a great price …I had to keep trusting. In my mind, I was like “no, this is not going to work.” But things just kept showing up like, “yeah, this is going to work.” That was a big place in my life where the pieces from the journey and being able to trust and not knowing what the next step is going to look like or how I’m going to get there, but being able to trust that it will happen and that I can do it.
HJF: Are there any other ways has the Hero’s Journey ® made itself present in small, doable ways in your life?
JW: I have more awareness when I’m walking my dog, for example, of the trees around me, more awareness of the birds singing in the trees or the squirrel scurrying across the yards. I have more of an openness and relaxation in being able to take those things in. Also besides taking in the trees and nature, the Hero’s Journey has also helped me with the ability to take in others. I enjoy being in the presence of others and taking in who they are.
HJF: How do you see yourself as the hero of your own life?
JW: That’s one of those things I can feel in my body and my systems, but I don’t know how to describe it yet. I don’t know how to put into words yet … [Pause] I see myself as a hero of my own life through trusting. Another person might describe their experience that it’s about a lot of courage. I guess my experience about being the hero of my own life is that requires a lot of trust and compassion and surrender and being able to ask for help and support when I need it and also knowing that I can stand on my own two feet. That I can take the steps I need to take to get to wherever it is that I’m headed, even if I don’t know where that is.