The messenger came suddenly and unexpectedly. He was telling me that it was time to leave what I know, to leave my comfort and relative safety and go away. The sensation
felt both exhilarating at the thought and terrifying. “Go away”, I thought. “To what? What might happen? What if I don’t like the experience? What if I am not happy doing that? What if I fail”?
With these thoughts, I refused. “I won’t go. I am not ready. I am not equipped. I do not want to go”. However, over some measure of time, my thoughts again shifted towards the exhilaration. “What if I do not go? If I do not, I will never know what could have been. What if I am happy in going? What if I succeed? What if I win”? And with these thoughts, my mind became ever more resolved. “I will go. I will do this”. With these words, with this personal mental contract, with this psychic commitment, the universe shifted and doors began to open.
This is the typical process of one’s beginning adventure.
First, there is a character, a figure, a bearer of opportunity, who presents themselves and their message of adventure. The seem to say, “Wake up, sleepy. It is time to go into the unknown”.
In fairy tales, this great unknown is commonly represented in the symbol the forest. It is in the forest that the big bad wolf lives. The witch of Hansel and Gretel is there too. All manner of strange things live in the woods and scary things can happen there. We could, quite literally, be devoured, eaten, and killed.
However, as adventurers, it is our job to go through the forest, for we know that the forest space has a limit. No forest on this planet stretches on forever. Every forest ends at some point, enabling the traveler who passes through its shadowy and mysterious wood, to come out into the light of the meadow beyond.
Because of the inherent mystery and danger of the forest, we, as adventurers, change as a result of having gone through it.
Had this messenger not appeared, we would have not, in all likelihood, gone on our adventure, our journey, our process of change.
It is our duty, as individuals who seek to live life, to heed the call to adventure. Almost all heroes deny the adventure at first. But, in time, the adventurer returns their focus to the potential of what may be, of what they may become–if only they commit.
Jim Hart is the founder of The International Theatre Academy Norway.