The Heroine’s Journey – Step 6 etc.

Seems I’ve made a tangled mess of things!

You may or may not have noticed that I’ve skipped several weeks of this 12-wk series. If you’ve been following along, I hope you’ve gained some insight into your own heroine’s journey from the ‘experts’ – Joseph Campbell, Maureen Murdock, and Victoria Lynn Schmidt. That said, I hope you don’t mind if I call it a wrap.

My original intention was to relate this journey to how a woman finds her voice, learns to be content, and shares joy. But in the spirit of a Netflix show that seems to be all the rage (Tidying up with Marie Kondo) – if it doesn’t give you joy, throw it out.

So, just as I decided to never watch another episode of Marie Kondo after the first one, I’ve decided I need to let this series go. I found it began to be more of a chore than a joy – perhaps because I’m tied up in a big client writing project and am working to finish my business book. But also because:

  • the exercise became too academic and not as reflective as I’d hoped.
  • I found nothing profound in Campbell’s approach.
  • I struggled to relate to Murdoch’s emphasis on the feminine/masculine dichotomy with the idea of rejecting and accepting – I think I look at life more holistically maybe?

Key takeaways:

  • I will resist any blogging series that will span more than a few weeks at most. I loved the daily A2Z of April and the Bits-of-Joy in July. I find daily writing on a particular theme to be exhilarating because the posts can be short, pithy, and reflective.
  • I would recommend Murdoch’s book if you are looking for an opportunity to dig into your mother/daughter, father/daughter issues in a journaling exercise. She offers some good stuff – just not for me right now.

Because I don’t want to leave anyone totally hanging, the gist of the journey is that the heroine hits rock bottom – everything falls apart, she feels lost, alone, and frightened – and then through mentorship and the help of others, she gains inner courage and wisdom. In my experience, this is – indeed – the journey of midlife.

But rather than being cyclical, in my experience, the heroine’s journey looks more like this:

roller coaster

That said, a few quotes from Stages 6-9 of Schmidt seem to sum up Midlife nicely:

  • She goes through her own awakening and comes out willing to accept help from others.
  • She can’t be betrayed again because she has her own strength and self-realization that can’t be taken away from her.
  • She accepts others as they are and embraces the female aspect of supporting one another.
  • She begins to see the oneness that we all share together.
  • She lets someone else lend her a hand, give her a boost, and, in turn, that person will be exposed to the benefits of going on an inner journey.
  • She sees the big picture of life and realizes she can’t ever go back to the woman she once was and she doesn’t want to.
  • She has learned to set boundaries, take action, and listen to her own inner voice
[Schmidt, Victoria Lynn. 45 Master Characters, Revised Edition: Mythic Models for Creating Original Characters. F+W Media. Kindle Edition.]

In My Experience

Each week I offered a bit of how my experience with the different stages of the journey. Today, instead I’d like to share a poem I wrote in 1994 (at 31) for a friend celebrating her 49th birthday. I had recently gone through my first cycle of the heroine’s journey and felt like I’d been to hell and back!

Feminine Cycles 2

 Your Heroine’s Journey Experience

  • Have you found your journey to be like climbing a mountain or traversing a valley? Has it been cyclical? Or more like a roller coaster?
  • Which of Schmidt’s quotes resonates most for you as you’ve traveled your heroine’s journey through the darkness into new awakening?


  1. HI, Janet – This post is excellent modeling for all of us and reminded me of why I follow you. It takes courage to explore and reflect upon our journeys. It takes even more courage to know when something is not working for us and to stop something that we have started. Thank you for this important reminder and for sharing all that you have with us. I have learned a great deal here.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks so much for your encouraging words. I appreciate that my approach to life offers something for you to reflect on. I don’t know if I’d ever ‘win’ blog awards because I’m not consistent in my posts or finishing themes, etc. but I gotta do what works for me. Thanks for joining the conversation.


  2. You might not have followed all their steps in the journey but no doubt you have had one of your own. I agree that midlife and beyond seems to be cyclical – I always think of a healing journey as being like peeling the layers of the onion – you heal one layer and then you are challenged later to go a little deeper until you get to the core of the issue. Of course it is then time for a new onion 😉 I am pinning this


  3. I found your series fairly heavy going Janet (I assumed it was because I was a bit shallow!) I think the roller coaster sums up my journey to Midlife – and probably beyond. Nothing is as linear or predictable as I’d like it to be, but that’s life isn’t it? Highs and lows and joy and sorrow – it’s what refines and defines us.
    Thanks for linking up with us at MLSTL and I’ve shared on my SM 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Leanne, it was a bit heavy – I don’t think you are shallow! Just look at the beautiful reflective writings you share on your blog! Some of my posts felt like wading through mud – even for me. I love your phrase ‘refines and defines’ — we are all works in progress. Thanks for joining the conversation.


  4. Bravo Janet! I love your courage to recognise that once something becomes a chore and you aren’t finding joy then it is time to reset and move on. I know in the past I would have pushed and pushed to keep going down a path even though I wasn’t happy, just because I didn’t want to feel I had failed by not completing the journey. Now I know that it is OK to change our minds, especially if something isn’t working for us. Thank you for your honesty and teachings and sharing with us at #MLSTL. Have a great week. xx

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sue – isn’t it crazy how for so long we were taught to ‘endure’ rather than ‘enjoy’? I’d rather leave the weight lifting to keeping pace with your Fit February than with my own blogging journey. LOL. Thanks for joining the conversation.


  5. I found this all heavy going. But I have also gotten to the point that when something becomes a chore it has to go. I think my journey to midlife has been pretty consistent my earlier life was pretty much a roller coaster so it was nice to have it level out.


    • Isn’t it great when life slows down and evens out a bit. I’m not sure a life that has no dips and turns would be very interesting but a few spaces to coast without drama are great! Thanks for joining the conversation.


  6. Janet, While I personally will miss the series (It is/was fascinating) I am 100% behind you stopping it. I have put Murdoch’s book on my list, and think I might explore it more as you suggest. I’m still uncertain about my own personal journey and it might help me to work through her stuff. But I am also so glad you are role-modeling stopping something that isn’t working for you…something I need to learn to do. As someone said to me recently “You go girl. You do you.” 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Pat – thank you for following along and commenting on the heroine’s journey series. I am so happy that you got something out of it. I know you seem to be really searching on your journey to understand yourself — but I think finding joy in the journey of discovery is what it is really all about. Do we ever really know ourselves? And, yes, I agree with your friend — “You do you!”

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I’m more about looking at life holistically too Janet! And definitely the roller coaster ride. I enjoyed reading the series. Your poem is beautiful, especially the line ‘the life shared to bring forth new birth in our world’
    ~She begins to see the oneness that we all share together.
    ~She sees the big picture of life and realizes she can’t ever go back to the woman she once was and she doesn’t want to.
    ~She has learned to set boundaries, take action, and listen to her own inner voice
    I’ll be sharing on FB and Twitter for #MLSTL


    • Mary Lou – thanks so much for your encouraging words about the series – that was driving me crazy 🙂 and for your kind words about my poem. Isn’t it so true that in sharing our story – we give birth to hope, joy, courage, etc to others. Thanks also for sharing on social media. Thanks for joining the conversation.

      Liked by 1 person

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