Lessons learned from the movie Finding Joe

I asked my daughter this morning, “why do you think we are here in this world?” and you know what she said, “To have the adventure of life!”  That was very insightful especially after watching the movie, Finding Joe, which is a movie about the teachings of Joseph Campbell and the journey of life. The following are things I took away from the movie. It was a sprinkling of wisdom, inspired people, things to think about and good takeaways. The thoughts are sometimes direct quotes from the movie (but not all are stated who said them) Enjoy.



A CALL TO ADVENTURE—a divine call to action for your life. This may come in the depths of sorrow, a hard life situation, the very things we may need to catapult us in a better direction for our life, a better version of ourselves.

“I think that people tend to wake up the hero of their own life when they are tired of being the victim of their own life.” -Robert Walter, President of the Joseph Campbell Foundation

The hero of your own life means you are responsible for your own adventure. You have a choice to surrender to victimhood, you can give your responsibility to someone else & have them tell you what to do or you can understand you have a choice and are responsible.

Joseph Campbell always talked about a metaphorical death of some kind. The old lends itself to the new. “The snake who cannot shed its skin must parish.” -niche  It is an indication that change has taken place. When we continue to let go of the old and let the new emerge, that is change…growth.



The Chinese letters for the word CRISIS are actually both DANGER and OPPORTUNITY.

The lessons often come from the hardest things in our lives. It is not necessarily what happens to us, as what we do with the outcome of the situation. Do we fall victim, or rise above it.


The Hero’s Journey—a life metaphor. This is the story in every story we tell, fairy tale we hear, journey that inspires…the hero’s journey.


Every story begins with a separation of some kind, an initiation and a return home. The movie Star Wars was a prime example of the Hero’s Journey throughout the story.



In many stories the forest often represent the unknowns, the edges within our lives. The moments where courage is needed. Joseph Campbell often talked of the story of the knights of the round table. They were in search of the Holy Grail, but it was decided that the best way to find it would be to have each knight start at a different location to begin their journey. The one caveat was to find a spot on the edge of the forest where there was no trail because if their was a trail it was sure not to be the knights true path. If there was a path, they would be following someone else’s path, not their own.

You must go out on your own to find your own TRUTH.



FOLLOW YOUR BLISS and the universe will open doors for you, where there were only walls. -Joseph Campbell

Robert Walter describes “Bliss” as “the one thing you can’t not do. Your Authentic Journey.”

It is trusting that deep impulse within us, to follow that specific path, the bliss, the one thing that makes us feel most alive.

Deepak Chopra says, “Follow your bliss does not mean get addicted to pleasure.”

It doesn’t mean selfishness. Don’t follow what other people think is your bliss. So how do you find your bliss?

Ask yourself—what do you enjoy doing, what are you passionate about, what can you do where hours seem to slip away while you are enjoying what you are doing??? What set you apart as a child? You know within. Ask yourself this…If money and time were no limitations, what would you do?? How would you express yourself??What would you do to benefit the world? What lights you up?? use words, use images, use music, art, find things around you that will help you identify what ignites your energy.

Talk to yourself in a journal and begin to see your dreams, hopes, what you feel good about, your lessons you have learned…begin to see yourself.

Rebecca Armstrong talked about how Joseph Campbell would give this advice to his students: “Don’t do what Daddy says because he only has one interest in mind for you—your security! If you bargain away your life for security now, you will never find your bliss.”

If you still feel like you don’t know what you are looking for—at least know this—you are looking and that you are on your way to bliss. Go looking—try things you have always wanted to try, do things that you are drawn to. Ask yourself why you haven’t tried something. Take different paths to work, shake up your routines. Put yourself out there. STRETCH yourself. Do something scary or uncomfortable.

Why do most people NOT FOLLOW their bliss? FEAR

“What will they think of me must be put aside for bliss.” -Joseph Campbell

Our first greatest demons we have to face are those critics right in front of us (ourselves and our friends and family). They all mean well, but you know what excites you. You ultimately are the one who holds yourself back from following your bliss because you begin to believe the others around you or you are afraid of what they think. If you can do that—you can achieve the impossible.

“I want to sing like birds sing, not worrying who listens or what they think.”  -Rumi

“Opportunities to find deeper powers within ourselves come when life seems most challenging.”  -Joseph Campbell

Joseph Campbell speaks of slaying a dragon in the hero’s journey. He describes the Dragon as the beast covered in scales that say ‘thou shalt’ and ‘thou shalt not’  The beast is a construction of all the rules, regulations, social obligations that have made you feel that you have to or have been made to do certain things. This is the moment where you take everything you’ve learned and use it to beat the dragon.

Robin Sharma said, “What is the one thing that keeps people small, that keeps them from their mountain tops?? their fears or as Joseph Campbell would say..their dragons.” Fears that are not faced begin to toxify, to creep to make you scared.

LOVE is what we are born with FEAR is what we learn.

Fear isn’t going anywhere, you just have to create the courage to move past the fears. Tony Hawk shared his experience creating the first loop ramp and facing the fear of actually doing it.

Courage takes practice. You just have to keep facing a fear and moving one step past it and it becomes easier. Do the things that scare you, whether it’s a tough conversation, leaving a job you don’t enjoy…the courage comes after. It’s okay to be scared, it’s a healthy warning, but that shouldn’t stop you from facing your fears.

Often the fears and dragons are the projections of ourselves–we create them, we create something that we have to defeat and it is often just something within ourselves. We can all be heroes if we are willing to look at ourselves more closely and understand and see the good and the bad and become better.

You begin to see the parts of yourself you struggle with on the inside. To fully see and understand the inner dragons, you must surrender. Some would say, loving your dragon is the more efficient way and feels better. There’s always a gift in battling inner demons and overcoming them because that is what a soul’s journey is about, facing fears and growing beyond it. As we overcome our fears we gain power. The best most rewarding moments often come after a struggle.

Struggles are like a minus symbol—it’s half of the plus symbol. + On one lovel it’s negative—sure the divorce was hard, the illness a challenge, you lost your job…we are not saying that wasn’t troublesome. Look at what awareness you can add to it that gives you a far bigger picture to master it.


“The privilege of a lifetime is being who you are.” -Joseph Campbell

At a certain point in the heroes journey it’s going to come about you loving and accepting yourself as you are. That’s a powerful moment that aligns you directly with the universe. The real goal in the heroes journey is not to only slay the dragons but to bring back the essence of the journey you experienced to others. To share your story and allow others to learn from it.

The choice you make to not give up is a story you are telling yourself. Did you show up for this life? Did you have the courage you needed? What did you learn about YOU?


I truly hope you learned some key things from JOE (Joseph Campbell) & I will leave you with a few other key thoughts that he has shared with the world. Peace and love to you in all you do.  -Heather

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