Choices November 2001
an e-newsletter for deliberately living people

November 2001
Volume II, Issue 11

"Always be a first-rate version of yourself, instead of a second-rate version of somebody else." -- Judy Garland


Return with the Elixir
Action Guide

Return with the Elixir: Final Mastery of the Change

Are you the hero of your own life, or the supporting character of someone else's story?  Who makes the choices in your life?  Whose life are you living?

We have reached the final stage of the Hero's Journey: Return with the Elixir.  Our hero returns to the society he came from and carries with him a newly integrated knowledge.  In our modern world the elixir (defined by Webster as "the essential principle"), can mean: a moral, a deeper understanding, or a fresh perspective.  "Return with the Elixir means implementing change in your daily life and using the lessons of adventure to heal your wounds." (Christopher Vogler)

Journeys sometimes take so long to complete, yet the hero is often surprised that the journey is ending "so soon."  When we are in the midst of trials and tribulations, they seem never-ending.  Although the journey ends our work is never finished; soon it will be time to leave our "old world" once again and venture forth.  Life is to be lived and our character to change through it.  We are never given long to rest on our laurels.

But for now, we are the mentor, the one who has gone before and our Elixir can fall in one of four categories.  We may hold the "Elixir for the World" and this knowledge or experience benefits not only ourselves, but the society we originally left. The change in us may also change those around us. Perhaps we will take on "Elixir of Responsibility," especially if our journey has been a rite of passage in our aging. We may have a new understanding of love or receive love in a new way when returning with "Elixir of Love."  Or we may have failed the adventure ("Elixir of Tragedy"), but still contribute to the benefit of the society around us through example.  Whatever the lessons learned, the newly initiated mentor can only lead by example because elixir can never be forced down anyone's throat.

Next month:  The Roles We Play in the Hero's Journey 

Action Guide

Take a quiet moment to answer the following questions:
  1. When have you been able to heal yourself?
  2. What elixirs have you personally acquired in your life?
  3. What surprises awaited you at the end of your journey?
  4. How has elixir made your life easier or harder?
  5. How have you changed your society by going on the adventure?
  6. What about your journey proved to others that you could advance?
  7. How has the journey added to your sense of love or compassion?
  8. How has a personal failure helped others succeed?

Extra credit:

Celebrate a successfully completed journey by creating an artwork (finger painting, quilt, cartoon, etc.) or revisit a memento of that journey (picture, letter, etc.).


The Writer's Journey: Mythic Structure for Writers , Christopher Vogler
Take a look at my resource page for a list of self-development books and websites to map out your next adventure.

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(c) 2001, Erica Wang, Coach.  All rights reserved.