Four Gates of the Heroine’s Journey

Some quick notes on my interview with Jemitra Hairston

All technical and timing snafus aside, I really enjoyed my interview with Jemitra Hairston. We touched on what I thought were some really interesting points about life purpose and spiritual self-care in connection with the transitions we go through in our lives.

I didn’t get a chance to ask nearly all of the questions that were on my mind. It looks like a follow-up is necessary, and I am glad Jemitra has already agreed to a second session at the beginning of 2011!

In speaking about transitions during the journey of the heroine, Jemitra also focused on the stories in our lives that shape not only how others perceive us, but how we perceive ourselves. It was her contention that our conscious decision to accept or reject certain stories directly impacts how “at home” we are in our own skins, as well as how our own particular journey in life progresses.

Jemitra described “Four Gates of the Journey of the Heroine” as follows:

  • Gate One: “Building Your Identity – This stage calls for you to become  conscious of the stories that shape your inner perception of self. What are the things you are told about yourself – by your parents, family and friends; but also by society and the media? These stories play a part in not only defining you  as an individual, but also as a member of a variety of sub-groups; i.e. as a woman, as a black person or as an American.
  • Gate Two: “Questioning Your Identity – Once your level of awareness concerning the variety of stories surrounding you has increased, you reach the point of “trying on” different stories to check their fit. Which of the stories that are used to define you really reflect the person you are (as well as the person you hope to become)? How many of those stories are, in actuality, a more valid reflection of someone else’s agenda than your own? It’s at this point in our lives that we can begin to make a conscious choice as to which stories we accept as “true”, and realize which narratives must be altered – or discarded completely – in order for us to maintain the level of authenticity we seek in our lives.
  • Gate Three: “Searching for Purpose” – This is the stage of our personal journey that sees us on a quest to discover the overriding theme in our lives. Jemitra referred to it as a “Vision Quest”. More important than any job we might take on is the rôle our purpose plays in mapping out the course of our lives.
  • Gate Four: “Integration” – This stage, occurring as it does after we have made significant headway in our search for purpose, sees us re-evaluating our stories (those that already exist, as well as those that are in the process of being written) against the all-defining backdrop of our purpose. Which of our narratives strengthens the foundation we need to live life on purpose? Which ones detract – or distract – from it? Once we’ve reached the stage of integration, we intuitively know which stories belong in our collection, and which ones we must re-write or dismantle to move forward.

Jemitra also recommended some important tools as a kind of “Reset Button” to quiet down what is sometimes referred to in yoga as the “Monkey Mind”: That hyper, raucous – often negative or destructive – inner voice that attempts to drown out the voice of our “True Self” or “God/dess Voice” or the voice of their “Higher Self“.

  1. The physical cleansing we experience during a trip to the  sauna or steam room helps us detox our bodies and shift the focus of our mental activity
  2. Fasting – even if it is only for a short period – can also help us achieve a shift in consciousness, as well as detox our bodies
  3. Practices like yoga, meditation or prayer help us to be more conscious of our thoughts on the way to opening ourselves up to the pure voice within ourselves.

Jemitra’s comments about taking a “media fast” especially resonated with me, as the media – with its incessant fear-mongering and message that we are “somehow not good enough” – has become a huge purveyor of wholesale negativism and insecurity.

Pressing that proverbial “reset” allows us to wipe our minds/emotional slates clean, so we can approach a story or vital transition or new gateway in life without the emotional/spiritual ballast that has built up inside to distort our judgment.

Asked about another way to positively impact the narratives that accompany our lives, Jemitra mentioned the practice of identifying and claiming an intention (or affirmation) before beginning your day. This can be something as general as “Today is going to be a wonderful/productive/successful/happy day!” or something as specific as “Today the best answer to this question will be revealed to me!” With practice, using conscious intentions/affirmations helps us shift the storyline in our own narratives. It helps us be more sensitive to making the decisions and taking the actions that best reflect the outcome(s) we desire in our lives.

If you missed last night’s interview with Jemitra Hairston, you can access it on the dedicated BlogTalkRadio page as the current on-demand episode.


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