My Mentor Joseph Cambell

josephcampbell-450x450Within the current socio-political circus came the idea to write an article about the Hero’s Journey for the Visionary Fiction Alliance (VFA). Although the topic relates to myths and stories, we can also become heroes in our own journeys. Each completed cycle can be  an avancement in evolutionary growth that  continues until our last breath.  But sometimes we get stuck along the way.

BELLY OF THE WHALE

I stalled during the middle of writing the VFA post because the election led me to an existential crisis.  I found myself stuck in the belly of the whale stage of the Hero’s Journey.  Seeing people fighting each other in order to prop up two flawed humans made me question why many of us still place other humans above us.

“I stopped getting mad at politicians years ago and started getting mad at myself instead. The blame for the grinding dullness and depressing predictability of the current election cycle is on the electorate as much as it is on the candidates. That America gets everything it deserves and settles for is a hard truth to swallow. Maybe one day, we’ll get tired of choking on it.” Henry Rollins

Those of us who pulled out of the political church reach the same conclusion as Rollins. We become ideological atheists because we see that it’s our ideologies that are choking us. We’re the rebels that scream for the empire to topple, so we can live freely with one another. You might not hear us because we’re few in number, so we’re never really heard other than through podcasts or blog posts.   Instead,  we’re called crazy or mentally disturbed because we refuse to capitulate to majority groupthink. We have strength of mind and spirit and are immune to whatever names we’re called. Knowledge of our inner-truth is our shield. We’re  grounded in our spirit. But sometimes even hero’s fall and have to rise up again.

As I listened to the media, politicians, and some of their followers spew hatred and hypocrisy, I thought about the future my daughters would be growing up. I became despondent imagining what today’s children would be inheriting because of our shortsidedness.  That thought awoke a fear in me that I had to deal with.

IN A POSITIVE FREEFALL

How do we stay on the path when we’re facing our version of an empire run by  shadowy Darth Vaders? From beyond the grave, Campbell answered the question.

free_fall

“We’re in a freefall into future. We don’t know where we’re going. Things are changing so fast, and always when you’re going through a long tunnel, anxiety comes along. And all you have to do to transform your hell into a paradise is to turn your fall into a voluntary act. It’s a very interesting shift of perspective and that’s all it is… joyful participation in the sorrows and everything changes.” 

― Joseph Campbell, Sukhavati

FREEDOM TO LIVE

If hell is being created, I don’t have to play along. I can forge my own path. With that realization I was shot from out of the belly’s spout and on to the Freedom to Live stage of my journey.

Spiritual lessons never end. I find it more difficult now than before I started the journey. The more the veil is lifted, the harder I have to work to evolve. And since I evolved a little bit more with the writing of this post, I guess you can say this is a visionary post!

Please click here to read the article about how the hero’s journey relates to visionary fiction.

Dark Characters in Visionary Fiction Can Reveal the Light

Visionary fiction’s theme is the evolution of human consciousness. But what does that mean? What is consciousness? Psychologist, William James, coined the phrase stream of consciousness. He identified consciousness as something that is shaped by experience and how the experience is processed in our minds. So it’s our life experience that defines who we are, and we play out that definition in reality. If we have many dark experiences, then it might lead us to passing similar experiences on to others. Why are some people able to overcome darkness?

Read the rest of the article at the Visionary Fiction Alliance website.

Spiritual Stagnation, a Temporary Layover

One major facet of writing visionary fiction is that the author  spiritually grows during the writing process. There are periods where I have to put my work aside, either when I’m in spiritual stagnation or not feeling worthy enough to write because of a personal challenge that I have yet to overcome. Only after I sort through whatever issue is troubling me can I proceed. Each book’s conclusion connects me to the lessons learned by the characters, whose interior growth mirrors my own. What I find most revealing is that my characters ascend to a higher level than me; however, they take me one step further on my own path. They inspire me to become a better person.

I posed the question to some of my fellow authors of how they handle spiritual stagnation during the writing process and got some insightful responses…

Read the rest of the article at the Visionary Fiction Alliance website.

This is the final installment of the Visionary Fiction as Personal Therapy Series.  In part 1, we discussed recognition, when a reader experiences a sense of familiarity while reading. In part 2, visionary fiction authors expressed their feelings of recognition while they were writing their stories. In part 3, various authors discussed how they reacted to issues in books they read. Part 4 dealt with juxtaposition, e.g, insight gleaned from the text.  Today we will discuss self-application, how readers adapt the insight they developed from the  books they have read into their lives. (Continue reading here)

Therapeutic Benefits of Visionary Fiction – Examination – Part 3

This is part 3 of the Visionary Fiction as Personal Therapy Series, which was inspired after I learned about bibliotherapy in my psychology classes.  It led me to discover an article by Debbie McCullis in the February, 2014 issue of the Journal of Poetry Therapy.  McGullis listed  a four step process used in bibliotherapy, which strongly resonated with me as the process sounds similar to why I write visionary fiction.  In part one, we discussed the first step, recognition, which is the moment when a reader gets a sense of familiarity while reading. In part two, we examined recognition through the lens of a writer’s perspective.  In this week’s installment, we will discuss what happens after recognition strikes. We want to understand why we had such a strong reaction to the text we had just read, which brings us into the second step, examination. Click here to continue.

Therapeutic Benefits of Visionary Fiction – Recognition – Part 2

This is part two of the Therapeutic Benefits of Visionary Fiction Series.  In part one, we discussed recognition from the reader’s perspective. In this week’s installment, we’ll focus on it from the author’s perspective.

Authors have their moments of recognition during the writing process. This phase is important to many of them. I asked some of my author friends to discuss their own experience with the recognition while writing their books. Following are their responses. Click here to read them.

Therapeutic Benefits of Visionary Fiction – Recognition – Part 1

Some authors find their focus in their childhood. It’s something they know they’re born to do. Not me. I was a late bloomer—a seed stuck beneath a thick layer of earth. Something kept the water supply from reaching me. For many years, I pondered if there was something wrong with the way my brain functioned. Turns out my brain functions well—albeit a little more hyper than the average brain. I was a stubborn little seed. A seed that refused to take in the sustenance that I needed to grow. I thought I had the strength to pierce through the earth on my own.  (Continue reading at the VFA website)

Motifs: The Harbingers of Transcendence

Motifs are very effective in visionary fiction. For those not familiar with the term as it is used in a literary sense, motifs are either a repeating image, phrase or any other symbol an author uses to convey a message, theme or idea represented in the book. Ideally, it should be organic to the story and not forced.

In my own writing, a story will feel incomplete without at least one strong motif. In books I read, something feels missing when they aren’t included. Two days ago, as I was nearing the end of my final read through of Beyond Omega’s Sunrise, two motifs came to me as I was fleshing out two scenes. The first was a silver charm bracelet with the focus on an angel. The second was a short phrase (not mentioned as it leads to the climax). When I placed it in the story it tied into both the plot and theme of the book. A major breakthrough!

What else makes a book visionary fiction is that the author, moi in this scenario, can transcend alongside the story. The realization of how my book affected my own evolutionary growth happened today. While I was working on a paper for school, feelings of insecurity about my work arose. I phrase it in such a way as I identify these feelings as invaders from the past. I used to be a perfectionist, and I often sabotaged my work because I never felt it was good enough. Through the years, I learned that confidence comes through hard work, uncovering my weaknesses and working on them until they become my strengths, and doing the best I can in my life and work. What helped me accomplish all of the above was mindfulness meditation. It freed me from being a perfectionist; however, on occasion, the “old me” sneaks out and tries to get the best of the new and improved me.

To combat the negativity that infected my mind today, I got up from my desk and went on a three mile walking meditation. It was healing, but it got intense near the end, when I passed the apartment I used to live in. It symbolically represented the old life I’d left behind. I never felt any particular emotion about it until today. I cried…a lot. There were no conscious thoughts behind my spillage of tears other than a strong sense of relief, as if my mind spoke the phrase from my book that perfectly fit this momentous occasion! I experienced both closure and liberation, and I can now officially call Beyond Omega’s Sunrise visionary fiction!

Beyond Omega’s Sunrise will be published April 15th, 2014, in Kindle format. Paperback soon to follow.

Love and light,

Eleni

Beyond Omega’s Sunrise Trailer

Here is the official Beyond Omega’s Sunrise trailer wonderfully crafted by Ken Pottie of Digital FX LLC. I highly recommend Ken for his professionalism, easy going nature, and willingness to work with the author’s ideas.

Beyond Omega’s Sunrise will be published on Kindle, April 15, 2014. Paperback will be released in July.

Harold Ramis: A Comedic Visionary Crosses Over

“When I was twelve, I read the line, ‘An unexamined life is not worth living.’ I took it seriously to heart. And literally. Like it was a requirement in life, akin to the Buddha’s suggestion that we maintain ‘sufficiently inquiring minds.’” Harold Ramis interview in Shambhala Sun

When Harold Ramis passed away February 24, 2014, the world lost a visionary actor, director, and writer. “Was honored to have gotten to work with Harold Ramis, the Buddha of Comedy, Brilliant, humble, radiant. We’ve lost an icon,” actor Rainn Wilson tweeted.

As a child, I laughed when I watched him in Ghostbusters, never thinking that he was more than a funny guy playing a nerd. But now I view him as much more. Although he wasn’t a Buddhist, Ramis’s movie, Groundhog Day, of which he directed and co-wrote, became an “underground Buddhist classic” (Shambhala Sun, 2009). The plot is simple: Bill Murray’s character, Phil Connor, cycles through the same day until he sees the errors of his ways and evolves. (Article continues at the Visionary Fiction Alliance website).