Throughout our lives, whether in books, movies or other forms of narrative, we feel drawn to certain characters and their stories. We see ourselves in the journeys they travel, the help they receive, the challenges they overcome and the moment they discover who they’re meant to be.
Throughout history, our story as the human race has been told through rock art in caves, around fires, by looking to the stars and constellations, through writing and in today’s world through social media. Each of these helped our ancestors make meaning of human existence, and finding this meaning is still something we look for today. As mythologist Joseph Campbell discovered as he travelled around the world, studying every culture, religion, and method of storytelling, all human stories follow a similar model. Campbell named this model a Monomyth.
In every story Campbell read he found the character going on some type of adventure (what he called their call to action), encountering a challenge that needed to be solved, presented with some form of help along the way, ultimately overcoming the challenge and emerging at the end of their adventure transformed. In his work, Campbell ultimately concludes that each of us are the hero or heroine of our own story. If you’re interested in learning more about Campbell’s Monomyth, and how this model matches to some of your favorite stories like The Hunger Games or Harry Potter, be sure to check out this great video.
When you think about your story, what chapters are you proudest of, what are the moments that have defined who you are, what adversity have you overcome, and what future chapters are you planning to write? Similarly, which characters in stories that hold meaning to you do you feel connected to?
This concept of storytelling will feature in my Blog posts over the next few weeks as we get closer to the holidays. In the #SPARKStory Series, I’ll be interviewing some amazing Calgarians who give their time to a number of organizations by playing some very beloved characters. I can’t tell you who my first guest will be just yet, but I can leave you with a question. Do you want to build a snowman?