Bring the Hero Myth Alive

Right Now, Right Where You Are


Entering the Dark Forest of the Psyche:

Going Down Into Our Unconscious Depths


 “Each entered the Forest Adventurous

at the point which he himself had chosen,

where it was darkest and there

was no way or path.”

The Quest For the Holy Grail

                                               – Anonymous 13th Century monk

 Once we cross the threshold into the mythic realm of adventure, moving beyond the threshold guardians at the boundary of the safety and familiarity, we must leave behind a well-worn path that has already been made before us, to enter the multi-dimensional and mythic realms of the psychic forest.  In these realms, we enter inner territory where a previous path does not (and cannot) exist.  We make our own path, as we go.

In this phase of the soul’s journey, the distinctive feature of the interior world (as well as the external landscape) is the lack of a clear path before us.  The clear way is not already laid out for those who undertake the hero adventure of awakening to what is most essential.  Myths of the soul unfold little by little, over time.  If we are paying close attention to that unfolding, then each little part of the journey can be remarkable.

Joseph Campbell once said, “if a path already exists, it is somebody else’s path”.   We have to make our own path as we go, otherwise it is not an adventure of the soul.  That would be more like a guided tour.  If the path is already laid before us, it may be someone else’s best laid plans for us, but not necessarily the path that our soul would want or choose for ourselves.

At first, it often seems easier to take the path already made, for, being already there, it appears to be more concrete, and this more do-able, and perhaps even more certain.  The path already made requires less work or less risk from us up front.   But for those of us who desire to know our soul’s true pathway to bliss, the price for taking the road already made grows steeper the longer we stay on it.

Here is what the Spanish poet Antonio Machado has to say about soul’s adventure, and how one must travel when on a hero’s journey:

Traveller, your footprints are
the road, and nothing else;
pilgrim, there is no road,
the road is made once you walk.

By walking the road is made,
and when looking back
the path is seen that never
will be stepped on again.

Traveller, there is no road,
only ripples on the sea.

Machado’s message is that we make the road by walking, before we can know where it goes.  This is the hero action step.  This is an essential component of the unfolding hero’s journey: going where you have not gone before, without knowing the way in advance.   And where we must ultimately go, is down deeper into our own depths.



Coming Undone in Service of Finding A Deeper Orientation

Many of us end up becoming more troubled, anxious and confused when we try to solve problems from the same level of consciousness that created them to begin with.  We will sometimes repeatedly and defensively strike out in new directions to get away from something old, rather than genuinely venturing towards something new to us, the ‘as-yet unknown’.

Before we can authentically take up a new way of living, we often have to un-do something old first. 

When we attempt to change something in our lives without actually going through the more challenging phase of a transition – coming undone – this can create even more troubles and problems for us.

In fact, crossing the threshold ensures that something in us is about to let go or come apart; we will now have to separate ourselves from something to which we have been strongly attached.  We have to withstand the ambiguity of the distress and the relief we feel as we detach from the old and familiar.

What allows us do well with undoing the sameness that constricts our lives?  How can we learn to bear coming apart on the inside?  

How do we have faith that once we come apart, we will fall together in new ways? 

What allows us to descend beneath the surface awareness of what troubles us, of what no longer serves life?  How can we bear to face our own unconscious depths?


Leaving behind our striving towards goals we once cherished; setting aside the successes and rewards of what we have already become accomplished; dropping the well developed plan that we have clung to – all these things undo something fundamental in the core of our being, something that tells us who we have been to the world.

This deep level of letting go in the psyche is inevitably quite unnerving to experience.  It is the price of admission to an authentically renewed life.  When we encounter this degree of undoing, we appreciate why people never bother to boldly cross the threshold into the soul’s adventure to begin with.

How can we learn to have a positive perspective about letting go and coming undone?  Another one of Campbell’s self-evident aphorisms is, “What you cannot experience positively, you will experience negatively.”

We have to be willing and able to purposely and positively wander from the already made path, we have to feel into the benefits of letting go of what we already know in our minds, before we can be more open to discovering something new about ourselves that we don’t yet know.

We also need to cultivate the ego strength necessary to tolerate feelings of ‘lost-ness’, if we are going to have successful encounters during our adventures and ordeals.   We have to find a positive, open-minded way to become lost, to let the darkness of unknowing come upon us.

We also benefit from the support of others during our letting go, during our descents into the unknown within us, so that we don’t succumb to an existential panic that can take us over, whenever we begin to realize that we have no idea where we really are, or where we are going, or even who we really are.

For the hero, this very realization of ‘being taken by the journey’ is the thing the really gets the feeling of a worthy adventure under way.


David Wagoner, a poet who resides in the Pacific Northwest, has a poem that was inspired by a teaching story from the Native Americans of that region.  He writes about how they taught their young ones to pay attention, so they would know what to do and how to be, if they ever found themselves lost in the woods.

His poem was the very first poem that I actually “heard”; it awakened me.  It unleashed in me something I didn’t know about myself – that I carried within me a deep fascination and love for the spoken word.

It was a moment in time that happened over 25 years ago, and yet one that lives beyond the borders of space and time.  It was an unforgettable moment, and one I often recall.  I was in Cleveland, Ohio at the time, immersed in my post-graduate Gestalt therapy training.  Wagoner’s poem, “Lost”, was being recited by an emerging English poet at the time, David Whyte.

Annie Dillard, another wonderful American writer, sums up my experience of awakening to poetry like this, when she wrote, “It was if I had been my whole life a bell, but never knew it, until the moment I was lifted and struck”.  Here are the lines of the poem that first lifted and struck me, and moved me along on my own journey: 

Stand still,

the trees ahead and bushes beside you

are not lost.

Wherever you are is called ‘here’,

 and you must treat it like a powerful stranger,

ask permission to know it, and be known.



the forest breathes, it whispers

 ‘I have made this place around you,

if you leave it,

you may come back again,

saying ‘Here’.


No two trees are the same to a raven,

 no two branches the same to a wren.

If what a tree or a branch does

 is lost on you,

then, you are surely lost.

Stand still,

 the forest knows where you are,

you must let it

find you.

Wagoner’s poem is an essential teaching for anyone who courageously pursues the inward and downward journey of the soul, the work needed before being able to bring our bliss up and out of us into action.  An authentic journey will inevitably bring us to moments of being profoundly lost.

This sense of ‘lost-ness’ can have a debilitating impact on the psyche of those not ready or willing to be undone.  Losing our way can begin to undo one’s former sense of self, as well as one’s prior sense of place in the world.  This can elicit a downward spiral into chronic anxiety and even existential terror.  I know, because 10 years ago, I found myself literally alone and completely lost in the Adirondack Mountains, in upstate New York.

Stand still,

the trees ahead and bushes beside you

are not lost. 

Stand still.  Sometimes this is the hardest thing in the world to do when we enter the realization of being completely and utterly lost.   Finding the strength of will to slow down, when entering a state of fear, and to do the opposite of one’s tendency, such as fleeing or forcing premature solutions.

First, to find the presence of mind to slow down and drop down further into our body selves, to become grounded and feel the support of the earth underneath our feet.  From there, to begin to look beyond our experience of self, or deeper within one’s self.  To slow down enough, to be grounded enough, to study the interior or exterior landscapes that can be seen from where one truly is.  To recognize that ‘the trees ahead and bushes beside you’ have been in place for a long time; indeed, they are not lost.


I was visiting with one of my most soulful and endearing friends late one summer season, 10 or so years ago.  We decidedly in a rather impromptu fashion (and in the spirit of adventure) to head for a cherished vision quest site, a place where my friend has hosted his vision quest work for decades, and to where I had been three or four times previously myself.  This site is located in some vast and pristine mountains in upstate NY, well off the beaten trail.  I welcomed the chance for another time of solitude on this remote and beautiful land.

Within a short time we were packed up and off to the mountains, near Keen Valley.  We took enough food and water for a two-day trek, and returning to a base camp area that held indelible memories and deep meaning for the both of us. We planned to each venture our own way alone, and we headed out to solo sites that we favored. 

My friend walked with me to help find the way towards my site, up to the point where the path disappeared. We parted ways near some rock ledges I recognized, which would lead me to a high outcropping that exposed a wonderful southern horizon overlooking the mountains, for as far as my eyes could see.

I was in my element.  I was outside of time, entering into the eternity of the natural world, one moment at a time.  Fully immersed in the here and now, time stretched itself out, and the space between things grew vast and wide.  

 I watched the sun make its way across the blue horizon; became acquainted with the shrill pitches of various birdsong. I listened to the wind blow through tree branches, moving through the ever-changing colors of leaves in their glorious shades of green.  I saw entire mountain ranges turn gold as sun began its dip towards the western skyline; I distinctly felt each drop in temperature as a coolness upon my skin; I listened to the vast silence that came when the afternoon winds died down into evening stillness. 

 The night grew brisk and cold, and the stars slowly came forth with the brilliance of their distant, shimmering light.  I felt utterly alone and yet wonderfully at home in the universe, with no other human beings anywhere near my location, no one even slightly aware of my whereabouts.  I only knew of one other companion, one mountain range over, sharing in a night of solitude and mystery, gazing upon the same dark, embracing sky as me. 

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

In the welcoming light of the morning sun, it was time to head back to base camp.  There was one particular turn to the left I had to find as I descended the mountain ridge and approached the rock ledges.  This turn would take me towards a familiar footpath, and eventually towards our base camp.    

I never found that turn.  As I descended, and kept descending, my internal compass began sounding warnings of alarm.  The landscape was in a way familiar to me, yet there was no opening turn to the left.  I kept going down the slope, and with the passage of time, the woods became thicker and less traversable, and it became increasingly clear to me that I was lost.

Wherever you are is called ‘here’,

 and you must treat it like a powerful stranger,

ask permission to know it, and be known.

The panic and dread of being lost, of being off-track in our lives, takes us out of the moment.  Panic in particular un-grounds us, furthering a sense of disorientation.  Our minds leap forward in a spiraling projection of catastrophic outcomes that have not yet happened.  We enter the thickets of our thinking, and we lose sight of our senses.  Feelings of familiarity and safety evaporate into thin air.

Whenever I feel lost, coming back to the present moment is the hero task at hand; it is what I must be able to do to re-orient to life more deeply.  To come back to my own inner resources, I attend to my breathing first, slowing down my breath.  Then slowing down my body, my external focus on activity, which then helps me to slow down my mind.  I stop myself from going into anxiety-driven action circles.  I remind myself that actions based on panic create useless, futile outcomes.

We all need to know how to slow down our runaway train of fearful thoughts, in order to bring our full attention back to our current surroundings or circumstances in a useful way.

This profound entry into the lived experience of the unknown must begin to somehow become known for us.  Bringing our focus back to the here and now, we meet the powerful stranger that is called ‘lost’, whether this space is in a literal forest, or a life circumstance, or in previously un-navigated territories of the psyche.   When we practice letting go or ‘losing’ our panicked state of mind, we find ourselves by coming back to our senses.  By listening deeply.


the forest breathes, it whispers

 ‘I have made this place around you,

if you leave it,

you may come back again,

saying ‘Here’.



My first feeling, when I realized how lost I had become, was not fear or panic.  My initial reaction was anger.  I was agitated that I had missed the turn.  How could I have missed it?  That didn’t happen to me when I had been here before.  I was angry with myself.

Then I was embarrassed.  What would happen if I didn’t find my way out of the mountains?   What if I was instead heading deeper into the Adirondacks, without knowing it?  Then people would eventually have to come searching for me.  But how and when would that happen? This started another runaway train of fearful thinking.  I had to keep coming back to myself.

I took stock of my situation.  Having left for an adventure on short notice, I wasn’t planning to explore any new terrain, so I did not bring a compass.  In addition to that, I had already used up my food supply and most of my water.  And I had no timepiece.  Not good.  

Not knowing where I was, I had no idea where to go next.  There was no visible horizon, no orienting point through the thickets.  The forest had enclosed itself on me.  I could see no clear forward way to navigate, and going back the way I came was also no longer clear.  This was when I could feel a genuine panic begin to arise within me. 

It was also right then that I remembered this particular poem by David Wagoner.  It came to me somehow, up from the deep unconscious well within me, in my time of need.  It became an essential resource.  I had to take stock, gather myself to myself, and listen inside.   Then, I had to orient myself to the woods around me, to what was not lost.

I took off my backpack, and sat on one of the many felled trees around me.  I felt like one of them.  So I sat still, as they did.  I was ‘here’.  So were they.  I listened.  

I could hear the sound of the same whispering wind as yesterday, moving through the standing trees. There was a busy little chipmunk scurrying about, apparently not lost.  I practiced letting go of my thinking, and listened deep inside.  I felt into what I knew.  I knew to walk in the same direction as much as possible.  I knew to find water, and to follow the water.  And I knew that water, and my own fluid nature within, would lead to an opening somehow, somewhere.   

I became acutely aware of my vulnerability.  Being alone with no first aid kit, I couldn’t afford to get hurt this deep in the wild.  Walking as mindfully as I could, and paying attention to whatever I could, became my new orientation point.  I kept searching for an opening in the forest, hoping to find the sun in the sky. I kept looking for water.  I was finding none of those things.  And I kept looking for the opening within me. 

I continued to realize that I was in a foreboding landscape, and lurking in me was also a corresponding mood.  Time and time again, as nothing in the landscape was opening up, as I was making my way through dense brush with no path, I could feel my fear rise up.  Each time, I kept slowing down and coming back to ‘here’.   I would do the psychological work of getting okay, getting found on the inside.  I spoke kindly and reassuredly to myself.  

At times, I quietly sang soulful songs to myself that I knew.  I kept checking inside with my internal sense of things.  I was both purposefully walking and cluelessly wandering; I could not afford the luxury of panic in this unsteady terrain within and around me.

I walked on in this manner for what felt like a very long time.  It couldn’t have been more than three or fours hours, but with no horizon, like when inside a cave, time is eternal.  I kept being decisive in my walking in one direction, as best I could tell.  I occasionally would sit, rest and breathe.  I still had absolutely no idea where I was, where I was headed, or which way would lead me out.  But I kept taking stock: I was alive, and for sure, I was on an adventure.  I was unharmed; I had a tent, warm clothes and a sleeping bag.   And I had inner resources. 

No two trees are the same to a raven,

 no two branches the same to a wren.

If what a tree or a branch does

 is lost on you,

then, you are surely lost.

Stand still,

 the forest knows where you are,

you must let it

find you.

 Feeling lost requires us to slow down. Slowing down, we must find our way towards acceptance with our ‘lostness’.   We practice becoming grounded enough within while ‘not knowing’.  We take the time needed to orient ourselves to our present environment, our circumstance, our dilemma.

We practice taking stock of our conditions and our resources. We keep listening inside, and we sense into what we experience within and without, before having answers, or a clear direction.  We learn to feel into which way to head next, and bear the uncertainty of our process.

Wagoner says if what is happening before us is lost on us, then we are truly lost.  Practicing ‘mindfulness’ is a key feature for the realization of our hero potential.  We simply keep using the resources of our senses, and not getting lost in our head, in mental thinking, especially so in times of deep uncertainty or not knowing.   We learn to bear the tension necessary to keep focused on making our way as we go.

Then something larger can eventually take over.  The ‘forest’ is a potent metaphor  for the invisible forces of the universe at large, for the intangible presence of aliveness, for that eternal something that connects you and me, for the soul consciousness within that can communicate with us.

If only we can embody ourselves enough to deeply listen, then the soul consciousness of our highest self that is tracking us can get through to us.  It knows where we are.  We must let it come to us, let it find its way to us, and make itself known.

I kept paying attention to whatever clues the thickly wooded forest would yield to me. Recognizing sunlight breaking through the density of the trees was my key.  I was fortunate, as deep and thick into the dark woods as I had wandered, to have been given a sunny day, even if I could not see it directly.  I could follow the light beams through the trees, moving towards wherever it seemed brighter.  In my mind, the light gave a hint of a potential opening ahead.  I had to continue following the light through the trees until the opening came.  Which, after much fear, anxiety and consternation, it did.

I saw ahead a small grassy opening about eight foot in diameter; the sun was shining in there. I was immediately uplifted by this sight.  I made my way to the opening, and stood on the grass.  The ground was soft and wet underneath me.  Looking closer, I could see that there was some seeping through of water from an underground source, which seemed to originate there.  I had found wetness, but did not see any well-spring in or around the green circular marsh.   I wasn’t sure what to do next, so I stood with the sun on my face for a moment, to open up more space inside.



The Terrain of Dilemmas

Dilemma – definition – a situation in which a difficult choice has to be made between  two or more alternatives, especially equally undesirable ones.

Here is another essential navigational skill to learn when on the mythic path of soul adventure: moving beyond our simple problem solving strategies.  What we find in the psychic forests of our inner lives aredilemmas.   How do we learn to handle challenges and difficulties when there is no immediate or clear path to follow, and no obvious right way to go?  How we do address problems that have no easy or apparent solution to them?  How do we stay with concerns that require us to face uncertainty, and give our attention to the depths of ambiguity, to all those grey areas in our lives?

Dilemmas require us to go deeper inside than we would typically go, to wrestle more, to give more effort with no guarantee of resolution.  We have to cultivate the discipline needed to stay present with the not knowing, without taking up immediate positions, and without taking up just one side of things.  We learn to reflect and we learn to actively wait, we practice persistence and resilience as we stay the course.  It is similar to how we move through labyrinths.  We go through twists and turns, apparent dead ends, places that show another potential path only once we’ve reached the very end of another, and looked from there in a new direction.

Matters of the soul in life become revealed little be little, one step at a time, helping to make the path as we go.  This requires the cultivation of patience when lacking clarity at certain threshold points along a worthwhile journey.  A fundamental and discerning question we need to ask ourselves, whenever we are seeking the treasures of the soul, is “What is the hurry?”

An examination of this question usually reveals an underlying anxiety that has taken root in us, and we are likely being driven by the ego’s willful insistence.  This urgency actually gets in the way of awakening, and delays the process of self-revelation.

In the world of dilemmas, forcing any immediate solution is like trying to quickly pull your finger out of one of those Chinese finger traps children play with as a toy.  Unwittingly we put both index fingers into each end of the trap.   The initial reaction, once your finger is caught in the trap, is to quickly pull your finger out, but this only tightens the trap more.

The solution to being freed from the trap is to push the ends in toward the middle, which enlarges the openings and frees the fingers, allowing the finger to slowly work them selves out of the trap, so as not to trigger the tightening reflex again.  This reflects for us a similar working through process for our adult dilemmas.

How many of us have been caught in a dilemma regarding a big decision to be made in one’s life?  To stay in a relationship, or have it end. To take a chance on pursuing a new job opportunity, or stay put in a job that is secure and pays the bills, but is not very satisfying.   To do something different to lose weight, or to learn to accept one’s self the way we are.


Those who seek out a deeper journey inevitably have to learn to participate in an active waiting process, one that is generative, attentive and expectant – yet conversely without the ego’s agenda for a specific expectation or outcome.   This is very hard to do, and sometimes goes against our natural survival instincts.

But without this working towards the uncertain middle ground, without going right in the heart of where we feel trapped, despairing or lost – and without the letting go, while in the middle of the dilemma – something new can not come forth from the conflict, the void, or the lost-ness.  Something new cannot be brought forth, birthed or be found.

T.S. Eliot gives us a teaching on the healing properties of waiting.  Learning to shed our fixed and tight ‘end points’, like a snake sheds its skin; to the surrender into waiting, without any push from our individual will: 

I said to my soul be still

And let the dark come upon you

Which shall be the darkness of God.


Wait without hope,

For hope would be hope

For the wrong thing.


Wait without love,

For love would be love

for the wrong thing.


There is yet faith,

But the faith and the love and the hope

Are all in the waiting.


Wait without thought,

For you are not ready for thought.


And so the darkness shall become the light,

And the stillness, the dancing.


It’s noteworthy to see how this working through process, on an emotional and psychological level, iscounterintuitive – the useful response to our trouble is exactly the opposite of our initial emotional reaction or psychological position with what is happening.  This is another important awakening to happen upon.  In many areas of adult life, we encounter dilemmas.  We first learn what not to do, when caught in a true dilemma.  This is why waiting is so essential.  In the beginning, we learn how not to make things worse.

During our hero’s journey wilderness intensives, we sometimes work with rappelling over the side of a cliff’s edge.  It provides a wonderful teaching opportunity to practice the exact opposite of our survival tendencies, when coming a very real ‘edge’ of anything substantial or worthwhile in our lives.

An instructor provides the support and safety backup on a roped and harnessed belay system, while we as the rapeller support ourselves with the same safety set up.   We experience what comes alive on the inside as we come to stand on the literal edge of a cliff.  We slow down, we breathe into the fear we feel awakened in our physical bodies.  We learn to shift the energy of our fear towards a mobilized excitement, working through the inner obstacles that interfere with this process.

As we mobilize ourselves, we go over the cliff’s edge, slowly and mindfully.  One step at a time, gradually relaxing our grip on the rope, letting it slide through our fingers, so we can descend safely, while gradually becoming more enlivened, excited, joyful.

The obstacle to our progress on the rappel is our reflexive clinging to security.  We  cling to the side of the cliff; we want to stay close to the solid rock.  To a survival mindset, this makes perfect sense.  But the more we move towards the rock, the more vertical our body becomes, causing us to lose traction, and making us more likely to slide off rock.

When we can move counter-intuitively away from the rock, we push against and into it with our feet.   We tolerate how far away we feel from the rock, and how exposed our body feels.  Yet this creates the traction necessary in order to be grounded in a new posture, one that will be effective for solid footing and an successful descent along the rock surface.  This traction also supports the feeling of being mobile and airborne while walking down the rock, becoming one with the open space all around us and within us.



The Path and Paradox of Wandering

One more way to work through a dilemma, when it is time to stop trying to solve it or get out of it, is to take a wanderer’s point of view.  We walk towards the middle of the issue – not away from it.  We do this by using various serpentine, side-to-side motions and actions, with no attachment to the outcome, to see what comes next.  For some of us, this can be surprisingly difficult to allow.

Remember the aphorism once more that ‘what we do not experience positively, we will experience negatively’.  As a soul practice, we purposefully practice the art of wandering, in order to be lost in the most positive and enjoyable sense.  We allow ourselves to cease our strivings, ambitions and plans, in order to let serendipity  create opportunities for us, as it invariably will.  This can be a very gentle and non-threatening way to dis-engage from our routines and ruts in life.

When we consciously let ourselves wander, we are purposely agenda-less, while also walking with awareness.  We notice those things not normally observed when our eyes are fixed on the goal straight ahead of us.  We practice looking sideways at things.  We soften our gaze, letting things stand out on their own from the background of life, as and when they do.

This is helped along if we can embrace the spirit of play, a light-heartedness, which in turn encourages one to be less ambitious and more circuitous as one makes their way as they go.


Somehow, the small wet patch of grass, and the ability to look straight up at a small piece of blue sky felt like a blessing, and it gave me a sense of relief.  But I still couldn’t find the water source.  I took off my backpack, and simply wandered around the area for a bit.   A short distance away, I came across a small crevasse in the ground, and saw that water was coming out from the earth, in a small downhill trickle.   Sure enough, as I continued to walk along and follow the water, it grew a little wider, flowed a little stronger.  I had the beginnings of a water trail to follow! 

I grabbed my pack and I did just that, buoyed by this turn of fate.  Even though the terrain was narrow and rugged, and filled with fallen obstacles, I could follow the flow.   The small trickle of water continued to gain in volume.  Now, I felt like I was going somewhere, though I still had no idea where.  I just kept remembering that water always creates a path, always goes somewhere, as all rivers lead to the sea.   

The water flow began to take the form of a small mountain stream.  The water now made its wonderful gurgling sounds, as only moving water does.  I climbed over fallen tree limbs, maneuvered around boulders, passing all the obstacles in the water.  Now I was on a track and on a trek, happy just to be able to move along, watching the stream grow in breadth and depth.  The forest setting itself was starting to feel familiar to me, but with what I had just been through, I couldn’t yet trust my sense of vision.

I suddenly saw up ahead a man standing upright in the middle of the stream!  I was never so glad to come upon a fellow traveler.  As I grew closer, the man seemed neither concerned nor interested that a stranger was walking towards him alongside the stream.  His indifferent demeanor tempered my jubilance.  In fact, it had me wondering about exactly whom I had happened upon, staring intently at his fly-fishing pole in the water.

I call out to him, and asked him where I was, and how far it was to the main road.   He concisely confirmed my suspicions about my whereabouts, and went about his fishing.  Onward I went on, joyful at my fortune.  I gradually found my way back to a path well known to me. I found my way back to basecamp, where my friend had been waiting, wondering if he should begin to head out on a search for me.  No need, for now I had been found.  His patient waiting was the thing to do.

This is what I can now say to be true about my being temporarily lost deep in the Adirondack mountains.  When I came out of the lost-ness of my situation, I found that I could reflect back on my frightening and enlivening ordeal enough to realize how I had found my way to inner resources I could draw from.  I know that I can and will draw from these inner resources again when facing deep adversity with no apparent or immediate way out.


In closing, the point I wish to make is that the dark psychic forests of the soul’s adventure are not necessarily places we want to be eager to get out of.  Our true nature is alive but often obscured from us, filled with mystery and waiting for the  Presence it takes to be discovered.  The dark forest of the psyche is a place that we want to become more and more at home in, a place in which we can find our true selves.   If we can only bear the uncertainty of making our way, as we go.

Wendell Berry speaks to what can happen if we can rest in the midst of nature’s wildness and silence:

I go among trees and sit still.
All my stirring becomes quiet
around me like circles on water.
My tasks lie in their places
Where I left them, asleep like cattle…

Then what I am afraid of comes.
I live for a while in its sight.
What I fear in it leaves it,
And the fear of it leaves me.
It sings, and I hear its song.

Entering the forest and departing from the path already made opens us to a palpable sense of our soul’s adventures meant just for us, which would not come forth otherwise.   The call to adventure that comes from the soul does not find its way to us while we are caught up in the trance of our well-worn routines.

Perhaps your own soul is calling you once again to a newly unfolding path of adventure, which now awaits you.  Remember that the forest knows where you are.  Let it find you.

– Michael Mervosh