Grieving: A Hero’s Journey

Many of you have heard me talk about the Hero’s Journey and how I have used it as a guide on my life path. Knowing the steps of the Hero’s Journey and how it works in my life has helped me stay more conscious and aware of what is happening and also be able to better deal with life’s circumstances and events. The last weeks have been no exception. In fact, I did not get a newsletter to you at the regular time because of a tragedy at our home. I thought about writing a newsletter about another subject and not mentioning the event because it was too difficult to talk about and then I thought, “No, I wouldn’t be in integrity with myself and what I believe about vulnerability and honest communication if I avoid talking about something that is so important to me”. So, I waited and allowed my grief to take its many forms and expressions including finding a way to talk with you about this event, how it has affected me, and how I’ve used the Hero’s Journey to try to deal with it.

In ancient times, a Hero’s Journey was prompted by a serious challenge or a life or death circumstance and the Hero/Heroine went on a “quest” in order to face this challenge. Today, a Hero embarks on a journey because of facing cancer, caring for a loved one stricken with a serious illness, the grief of losing a child or partner, a painful divorce or, perhaps, the loss of a beloved pet. In my case, my Call to Journey (the first step of the Hero’s Journey) came when our dear, 18-year old Sophie Cat was killed on our property, in the middle of the night, by a wild animal (the vet said it was probably a bobcat or coyote). We called her Sophie Cat because we also had a dog named Sophie that we called Sophie Dog (Sophie Dog died only 9 short months ago, as some of you might remember).

This incident hit me with a force that was unknown and unfamiliar to me- it was like being literally punched in the stomach. Maybe it was the violence, maybe it was the suddenness of the loss, maybe it was not being able to prepare for the loss, maybe it was not being able to say goodbye, but I literally felt it in my body as the shock of the loss passed through me. Have you felt that way? This kind of loss truly has a force of its own and there is no denying it. I can only imagine what it must feel like when someone loses a loved one in an accident or a tsunami or 911 or, or, or……. I now have a glimpse into that terrible reality. I do understand that grief is grief: no matter what the circumstances of your loss or who it is you have lost, grief is an inevitable and intense psychological reaction that is unlike anything else you will experience. Having said that, I also recognize that the circumstances of a loss may make the loss more or less difficult to come to terms with.

So, what does the Hero’s Journey have to do with all of this. Well, once again, it’s guiding me. Does it stop the grief? No. Does it lessen the loss? No. But, what it is helping me with is allowing me to be conscious and aware while I am going through the experience. And, that does give me more choice as to how I deal with this loss. I can choose to feel my grief and allow myself to express it without judging myself or trying to hide it. I can choose to not talk with many people as I go through this process (or be more discerning about with whom I talk with). I can choose to distract myself from the grief but be aware when I do. And, I can choose to feel gratitude instead of sadness for my dear companion as I stand before her altar.

We have condensed the 17 stages of Joseph Campbell’s Hero’s Journey Model into 5 major steps- The Call to Journey, the Preparation, the Encounter, the Homecoming, and Recounting the Tale. I’ve written, led retreats and am now creating an online course about these steps. And, as I said, I use them every day of my life.

In this situation, I received the Call to Journey (Sophie Cat’s death), I answered the Call (I did not resist the grief) and I clearly entered the Preparation step. What does the Preparation step mean? It means that I am dealing with the “what-if’s” of this tragedy. We made a clear decision to let our cats go outside and not keep them as “inside” cats. Was this the wrong decision? Would I do it again? I’m dealing with the anger and outrage of the situation. Was there anything that we could have done to prevent this from happening? Is there anything we can do to prevent it from happening again? Whose fault was it? Was it anyone’s fault? What can I do to support myself and ask and receive support from others? How can Michael and I share our grief in a healthy way and grow from the experience? What are my values and beliefs and how are these being challenged? How can I make sense of this all? Is that even possible? How can I heal from this and shift my awareness into gratitude for the gift of our beloved companion, Sophie Cat?

These are all Preparation questions. And, I’m filled with gratitude that I am conscious that I am in this step as part of the Hero’s Journey while I’m going through this difficult stage. This awareness helps me………

…………And, now, two weeks later, I am finishing this newsletter. Literally, I had to stop writing because I just wasn’t feeling “right” and I “knew” that something was really amiss. My body ached, I had severe stomach issues, my eyes felt sunken in my body, I couldn’t stop crying, and I just felt that I couldn’t get comfortable in my body- I kept moving it in different positions to try to find “home”. Then, it hit me. I’ve dissociated. I was literally “beside myself” with grief and nobody was home in my body. Have you ever felt that way? I may have felt it before but this time I was really conscious of feeling it.

So, I went to Azenet Macedo, one of the gifted healers at LifePath Center, and looked her in the eyes and said, “please help me call my spirit home”. She did. More than two hours later and after a lot of ceremony, drumming, various musical instruments, brushing my body with leaves from a tree just outside her door, oils, massage, chanting, and singing; I was HOME! I left her healing sanctuary a different person and with my body and soul intact once again. Even better than before.

And, that was the obstacle step on my path of grieving- the Encounter in the Hero’s Journey. In my previous writing, before I stopped, I had written, “I know I will meet obstacles on my path of grieving– the Encounter. But, my awareness, my consciousness will assist me, of that I am confident.” Well, it happened! And, I am entering the Homecoming-a reordering of my queendom. I am creating a life without Sophie Cat’s physical presence and am honoring her life. For this, I am grateful and am grateful that I can share this story with you- the Recounting of the Tale.

I would love to hear from you about your experience of grieving and your own Hero/Heroine journey in the process.

As always, blessings on your journey, Beverly

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10 thoughts on “Grieving: A Hero’s Journey”

  1. Bev, I am so grateful to you for sharing your journey with us and know that your love and ability to put this into some kind ove loving sense, will help both you and me as we grieve. My love to you and Michael as you grow through your pain and loss.
    Last night I shared in a celebrations of life of a dear friend who is in his last days of this life. I am so open to learning about the grief process and would like to learn more about your proposed on line offerings.

    1. Thanks, Judy. It does seem that as we age, it’s very important to continue to learn about the grieving process, isn’t it? I feel that it’s such an important process and when done consciously, can help us in not getting “stuck” in our grief. I’m so sorry to hear about the loss of your friend. You can find out more about our new online course at It is called Moving Abroad: A Hero’s Journey and is based on my work with the Hero’s Journey mixed with the Enneagram and focuses on how we can turn moving abroad into an adventure and a transformative experience. We’ll be creating more online courses including a basic Hero’s Journey course. Moving Abroad: A Hero’s Journey hasn’t officially been “launched” so it hasn’t been priced yet but you can find out more about the content, etc. on the website. Thanks so much for your interest! And, I hope you are doing well.

  2. Ohhhh Beverly, thank you so very much for sharing Sophie Cat’s story. Grieving the loss of a beloved companion presents us with so many lessons. I witnessed a horrifying, tragic dog/car event just this past week. Not my dog, not my car, but the trauma and pain felt for all involved is something I’m still working through. And then today, in the synchronicity of our Universe, I received your message. Thank you for enlightening my path.
    From my soul to yours, and Sophie Cat’s–Teska M.

    1. Thanks, Teska. Yes, it’s so true that we can literally “feel” in our bodies the trauma that occurs to others. How we respond to that, makes all the difference, doesn’t it?

  3. Wow Bev, what a beautiful description of your journey. I am so glad you had your spirit called back, an integral part of a healing process. It makes all the difference in the world to feel in balance to be able to go on. I celebrate your Homecoming! Love!

    1. Yes, feeling in balance is so important and it seems it’s an ongoing process- kind of like a plane, I guess. I’ve never seen one fly exactly level, have you? Smile. Great to hear from you, Luci!

  4. Dear Beverly,
    I am just now reading this sacred writing. Last month, I was present and grieving for the loss of the heart dog of a dear friend. I pray that my beloved cats are with me at least another decade. Thank you for the depths and dimensions and utter honesty. You remind me of the ones I want near. Those, like you, who see life and loves with vulnerably wise eyes and speak of the experiences with grace. And, your example of weaving your soul into relationships with the easy flex and color of kindness.
    I am blessed to know you.

    1. Thank you, Heather. I really appreciate your kind words. I think it’s time for all of us to be more vulnerable starting with myself. It’s not always easy but it sure does feel more real and authentic, doesn’t it?

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A Hero’s Journey is an eight-week experiential interactive online program designed to navigate your life transitions with greater clarity, confidence and much less stress.

Moving Abroad: A Hero’s Journey is an eight-week experiential interactive online program for personal growth and transformation.

The Enneagram: Who Am I is actually a comprehensive roadmap that will guide you through life and gift you with more awareness and insight into yourself and others.


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