Just as the Approach to the Innermost Cave was a necessary step leading towards the Supreme Ordeal, The Reward is the natural step proceeding the Hero’s survival and development into a true hero.
The Reward can play out in a variety of different ways depending on the genre and conflicts presented in the story. I’ve previously mentioned Christopher Vogler’s “A Practical Guide to Joseph Campbell’s The Hero with a Thousand Faces” as the primary source for my interpretation of Campbell’s monomyth. I’d like to call upon Vogler again to explain a few reward options often employed. Vogler states:
Sometimes it’s a special weapon like a magic sword or it may be a token like the Grail or some elixir which can heal the wounded land.
The hero may settle a conflict with his father or with his shadowy nemesis…
The hero may also be reconciled with a woman…
Today marks my 10th day in this second juice fast and the 33rd day of the overall journey. By the time the second juice fast comes to an end, the journey will have taken 53 days, a week shy of two months. After surviving my ordeal with the monster thickburger, what reward will I seize? What conflict will I settle? With whom shall I reconcile? My shadowy nemesis: food.
As I sat down to write this entry, I decided to take a look back at all the entries that came before this one. The first entry struck my particular attention because I am still enamored by food. All the examples I started out with, the burger, the chicken, and the pizza ring true to sometime innate deep inside myself. And after 33 days, I’ve realized that it’s not going away.
So is my reward the ability to go back to how things were because they will never be defeated? No.
I used Vogler’s words above because I like his choice of saying “settle a conflict.” To me, this sounds like the two will still exist; only the conflict between them will cease. My love of foods, despite their levels of healthiness, will never go away. Twenty-seven years of pruning what I like and do not like cannot be ignored and forgotten in a matter of months. But, and here lies my reward, it does not need to be ignored.
I can boil down my takeaway from my supreme ordeal into one word: moderation. Last time I talked about finding healthier food options for myself and my family. But they don’t need to be my only source of food. I know I can’t change like that. But I also don’t want this to sound like some cop out. I am not forfeiting this challenge, saying that nothing matters and I’ll just go back to eating what I want. I don’t want moderation to sound like a dirty word because moderation seems like a cliché.
Most importantly, my reward is my understanding of what moderation means to me going forward past this particular journey. Moderation in both what I eat and how much I eat