Hero’s Journey Step #8: The Ordeal
“The cave you fear to enter holds the treasure you seek”
As it stands, my friends, May is the month of the Ordeal. As we’ve traveled through the Hero’s Journey, we now stand at the precipice of a new world, a new you. The Ordeal is the 8th step and culmination of all the courage, trials, allies, tests, refusals, approaches that have come before. It brings us to the moment of facing our greatest fear and the possibility of facing a “death”. This is usually an end of what we thought we knew, how we saw ourselves, what we expected from the plans we so carefully made for our lives. We face something we didn’t really know before (sometimes shocking) or something we were aware of at some level but didn’t want to fully see it. Whatever the ordeal contains, it will take us to a dark place, like the cave in the quote, that we go into until we are ready to come out the other side. And, the other side is a transformation, a new reality that shifts the way we think and move forward. But that’s getting ahead of ourselves.
If you are facing an ordeal right now, in any aspect of your life, please try to remember this:
There’s a reason you hid from this fear and it wasn’t a conscious one. The biggest fears we carry were born when we were little and purely in a subconscious state, so they are buried in the unconscious and usually exposed under severe stress or loss. You didn’t make it up or hang onto it willfully. But that won’t mitigate how hard it can be to face. So, be compassionate with yourself. Please.
Don’t try to do it alone. Even though no one else can face it for us, nor will face the exact same thing, many of us have been to the cave, sometimes more than once. We know how excruciating it can be and we know the experience of coming out the other end. That end is the beginning of a new “life”, one born out of the strength you just gained. Reach out, hang out and hold on to the warriors around you. There are more than you even realize.
Know, unequivocally, that there is another side. And yes, there is a treasure involved. Its’ riches are usually proportionate to the depth of the cave, the length of the ordeal. One gift is the indisputable resilience you now possess.