By: Stella Orange
What a long, strange trip it’s been!
I’m back from four months of maternity leave.
And I can’t stop thinking about heroes and butterflies.
When the pandemic hit the U.S. and we went into lockdown, I was seven and a half months pregnant with twins. I was already on—yet another!—hero’s journey.
I was so large, it was all I could do to sit in a chair to write and work (I needed to a bigger chair, my butt was so big) and then retreat to the couch in the afternoons to binge watch trashy British reality television (Love Island, for those of you too sensitive for street drugs but still looking for mental escape), hot chocolate and popcorn.
The hero’s journey starts with the hero sitting on her “couch of comfort”… and then something happens.
The inciting incident.
The call to action.
Something she tries to ignore – she’s not ready, she can’t possibly be the one to go on this journey, she needs to watch one more episode of Love Island.
But then she decides to “cross the threshold” – and leave behind the familiar world for an unknown one.
Or what we call in the business: to go on an adventure.
(Butterflies are a good shorthand for this story. They crawl into their cocoon as caterpillars, melt down into liquid butterfly good, and then emerge as something else entirely.)
The hero finds herself on a “road of tests & trials” – allies join her on her path, bringing their own skills and good company. But booby traps get in the way. Setbacks crop up. The sabotage of old patterns and frenemies threatens the whole mission.
The hero’s grit — and decision to cross the threshold in the first place – is tested.
Will she go back to the couch?
Luckily, the hero has been given a “magical tool” – some item that helps her meet and overcome what stands between her and victory. (Think: ruby slippers in Wizard of Oz. Light saber in Star Wars).
Anyway… I had been thinking about how becoming a mama is a hero’s journey – where the old me goes into a psychological cocoon, melts down into goo, and then comes out as something different.
And then Covid.
Suddenly, my cocoon was nested inside a bigger cocoon.
Like Russian nesting dolls.
I wasn’t just being called to “cross the threshold” into a different world as an individual.
Another veil dropped, laying bare the reality that we really are interconnected and interdependent.
And we are ALL being called to “cross the threshold” into a different world.
We’ve got teachers, writers, speakers, coaches, healers, guides, mentors, visionaries, and trainers here.
It’s how we roll!
This is a time where we – yes, you, reading this – are being called to be clear-eyed and ruthless about what you have been doing when you go to work everyday.
Now is the time to refine that work and burn off any gunk that has accumulated on it over the years.
Because the world needs your work.
The world is hungry for your work.
And anything that distracts or takes you farther away from your real, true work is a net loss for us all.
It’s all hands on deck now.
Yes, take care of yourself. Yes, take care of your household and family. Yes, make sure you put on your air mask first before you attempt to assist other passengers (and for gawd’s sake, please no coaching people against their will!).
But the game just got more interesting.
This is no longer just about business.
Our whole lives are in play.
It’s a lot to process.
But remember: you’ve been training for this your entire life.
Stella is cofounder and copywriter at Las Peregrinas, a creative and consulting agency. As our resident word nerd, she writes copy and points out the stories everyone is living and telling through their work. She is also fun at parties.
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