I’ve emerged from the Belly of the Beast. That’s what Steven Pressfield calls the heart of the creative journey, the part where you’ve gone too far to turn back, you’re past the honeymoon phase of your idea, and things seem to be falling down around you, you’re under pressure, but you still believe in the veracity, the power of your idea, and if you stick it through, you’ll be on the downhill coming out of it, toward a beautiful finished thing that you have created.
It’s intense, and scary, yet peaceful and still. Because you know, you’ve fought your demons, you’ve made mistakes, learned lessons, poured blood, sweat and tears into your idea. You’ve tested it, you know it’s good, it’s worth it. But now you have to earn your stripes, do your time, but you become part of a sisterhood who has been there. No one is with you now, in this space you’ve never felt so alone, and yet you’ve found peace with yourself. You’ve conquered the ego, you’ve lost the battle but won the war.
You’ve labored on behalf of your creative work and won the soul battle, now all is left is to manifest the final version in physical form.
How did you get here, and how do you truly know the way out?
You feel it.
I can feel it. I’ll teach you to feel it too. Your way in and out, following the creative process of your genius, past the dangers, through brilliance to find practicality and the final execution that produces something useful and beautiful, that satisfies both the artist and the customer.
How do you follow that road? You have to learn to feel it, to lean into the journey, to embrace its intensity, the passion, the loneliness, the ecstasy, the highs and lows, following the thread of purpose through discouragement, temptation, until you find your Way, your internal compass, the call of your soul to do your work as an artist.
Hi, I’m Alicia, I’m here to show you a better way to think about life. When you truly make the shift, it will be as eye opening as when Neo took the red pill in the Matrix, and I guarantee you these two things will be true: it will put you on the greatest journey of your life, and you will never be the same.
How do I know? Because I’ve been there. Join me as I retrace my steps through the journey of thought that brought me here.
For years I’ve studied the best, sought out the authors that were doing the work, paving the way to help us have a better life. I read their books, and then read their mentors’ books. I wrestled through implementing them in my own life, reconciling different ideas to create a new framework, finding the common patterns, uncovering big, scary questions about life and spending years searching for the answers, and finding them in unexpected places.
I’ve come through what Pressfield calls the Hero’s Journey:
“Our primary hero’s journey as artists is the passage we live out, in real life, before we find our calling.– Steven Pressfield, The Artist’s Journey, pg 6
The hero’s journey is the search for that calling.
It’s initiation (or; more precisely, self-initiation).
On our hero’s journey, we see, we experience, we suffer. We learn
On our hero’s journey, we acquire a history that is ours alone. It’s a secret history, a private history, a personal history. No one has it but us. No one knows it but us. This secret history is the most valuable possession we hold, or ever will hold. We will draw upon it for the rest of our lives.
The hero’s journey ends when, like Odysseus, we return home to Ithaca, to the place from which we started. We wash up on shore. We have survived. We have come home.
The passage that comes next is the Artist’s Journey.
The artist’s journey comes after the hero’s journey.
Everything that has happened to us up to this point is rehearsal for us to act, now, as our true self and to find and speak in our true voice.
The artist’s journey is the process of self-discovery that follows.
It will last as long as we’re alive, and maybe longer.”
I’ve finished my hero’s journey. I’m starting my artist’s journey. I’ve found my calling. And you know what it feels like? It feels like inner peace, that certainty of identity and purpose, that sense of having found something precious, something truly Yours, that no one can take away, and better yet, that has the promise of captivating you for the rest of your life. That creative mission that produces both internal fulfillment and outward service.
Pressfield says that you start the artist’s journey with a gift for the people, the hard-won result of your experiences from your hero’s journey, and that the gift is the work you will now produce as a result of your experiences.
That is what my writing will be from here on out. And I’m just going to dive in, because I’ve taken the red pill, I’ve flipped a switch, I’ve arrived home to Ithaca, I’ve found my calling, my voice and my true self. This journey has turned a corner, set my on my true path, and that is where I will be writing from now.
This current piece is my attempt to explain the difference you are going to see in my writing. It’s also an invitation to a few of you to work personally with me, as your coach.