Sometimes it takes darkness and the sweet / confinement of your aloneness / to learn / anything or anyone / that does not bring you alive / is too small for you.
David Whyte, Sweet Darkness

If you prefer, watch my little video on The Return here.

Characteristics of The Return from the Hero(ine)’s Journey

  • Refusal and Lingering
  • Rescue or Escape
  • Crossing a Threshold
  • Integration of a Change
  • Presence of a Gift for the World
  • Rejection or Acceptance of this Gift
  • Healing and Reconciliation
  • A new level of Freedom
  • Celebration

General Solutions to Problems in The Return

  • Address any lingering—notice, recalibrate beliefs and expectations, ask for help, begin implementation steps.
  • Include and transcend what you learned from Initiation events.
  • Notice and recalibrate any beliefs about being a victim.
  • See and leverage for the greater good your maturity, wisdom, and power.
  • Continue receiving help, probably in new or different ways.
  • Recognize what must be let go. Then do it.
  • Use your resources and wisdom gained to cross the threshold(s).
  • Reconcile old and new patterns, beliefs, systems, and structures.
  • Expect some dissonance and awkwardness.
  • Recognize any shifts in power, especially with elders.

Specific Strategies for Before and During the Return

  • Take responsibility for your experience—see and own wherever you are.
  • Do adequate grief work around what has been lost.
  • Do a Re-entry Visualization: imagine yourself going through every step of your return.
  • Show up for the groups you’re already in—book clubs, church groups, volunteer work, etc.
  • Take more walks, especially in a range of places. Invite companions.
  • Journal or create some art on The Return.
  • Send Loving Kindness Meditations toward the people you’ll be seeing: May they be well, may they be healthy, may they be happy, etc.
  • Do Morning and Evening Reviews:  AM when rising— consider the day, who you’ll see, set intentions, feel appreciation and gratitude, etc. PM at bed—consider your day, what went well, what didn’t, what you learned, thank people, feel appreciation and gratitude, etc.
  • Call some people now—initiate an actual phone conversation.
  • Acknowledge and express your feelings, from uncertainty to joy.
  • Know and use your Ascending Practices: ones that energize and bring you up.
  • Know and use your Descending Practices: ones that relax and bring you down to resting.
  • Do a Resource Inventory: make a list or map of how you’re Re-Sourced: people, animals, places/landscapes, activities/hobbies, exercise/movement, food, spiritual, etc.

Specific Strategies for During and After the Return

  • Take deep breaths.
  • Remain curious rather than judging, blaming, or putting responsibility on others.
  • Find ways to appreciate others.
  • When you feel no words or dis-interest, remain quiet and take in someone’s presence and beauty.
  • Take the Two Second Pause: before responding to something, especially if it’s difficult, take a breath and count to two.
  • Go on some Artist Dates—take yourself to places of beauty, inspiration, and joy.
  • Monitor desires for specific outcomes.
  • Use the tapping sequence (EFT) when you feel anxious. If you don’t know or can’t remember, just use your fingers to gently tap the top of your chest.
  • Notice when you’re getting tired and dis-engage sooner than later.
  • Be OK not understanding everything.
  • Fully experience and enjoy all the hugs.

Click here for a larger, printable version of the Map.