"Wind's in the east, mist coming in,
Like somethin' is brewin' and bout to begin.
Can't put me finger on what lies in store,
But I fear what's to happen all happened before."
You're just in time! We're so glad you could join us as we walk awhile with thinkers, storytellers, and travelers experienced in the ways of the hero's journey. Feel free to look around. And, if you find yourself reflecting on your own life's journey, then all the better!
Bridging the Gulf was founded for people who are looking for something better. It’s very easy these days to feel hopeless about our world and its capacity to build bridges to a shining future. It's easy to feel frustrated when we try to even talk to others about ideas that are important to us or to feel, frankly, stuck in patterns that lock us out of relationship. When we look around at the ravage that can result when we simply try to be ourselves, we may not feel very heroic. So, it can come as a surprise and a relief when we discover how the idea of a hero's journey can bring our birthright into focus of both heroism and hopefulness.
So, what is the hero's journey? This website has a lot to say on that matter. By way of introduction, let's simply say that we are all heroes on a path - a path with obstacles, many of which are monumentally confounding. Resolving obstacles of any size requires us to learn to think differently, but resolving monumentally confounding obstacles can call for radical transformations of consciousness. When our consciousness transforms, we find ourselves able to think in ways that were previously unavailable to us, so these experiences may have a rather magical feel to them. Fortunately, the human brain is exquisitely designed for hosting such magic. So, we can say that the hero's journey is about the magic of us becoming us.
Hope is the north star for the hero's journey. It doesn't take long for our original capacity for trust to get depressingly battered by the sheer process of living. So, it's an important turning point for all of us to discover that hope emerges as we make room in our hearts for magic that is bigger than self. If we can hold on to that thought (that there is magic that is bigger than me), then we can also begin to understand that despair grows from the opposite - from the sometimes unconscious and rather contradictory and egotistical belief that transformations of consciousness are under conscious control. Hope is rooted in heart; despair, in ego. Under the terms of this definition, a good therapist, coach, or teacher or, for that matter, a good parent, friend, or journey guide is someone who can help us find and learn to navigate the imaginative spaces of big magic. And with that thought, we enter the realm of the hero's journey.
It was mythologist Michael Meade who said, "When the world loses all sense and meaning, it is often mythic sense that is missing." The modern world has done a stunning job of sharpening our scientific mind and inspiring us to hone our intellect. But science and intellect alone do not create the foundation we need for a life worth living. On the hero's journey, our work is to honor what we can learn from science, and then to turn our attention to the equally important and too often unappreciated themes of myth, imagination, and wisdom. Magic is as much a part of our heritage as is science. Even now in the technologically-rich 21st Century, it is the magic of mythology that energizes the storylines that weave us together.
The study of the hero's journey offered at Bridging the Gulf reflects the passion of its founder: Melinda Harthcock, a retired trauma and relationship therapist and an advocate for justice. Melinda is a mythology buff and a fan of great storytelling whether it is delivered by way of the screen, the stage, the page, or in time-honored oral tradition. She is a proud mother and grandmother imbued with hope for all humanity despite the mess we seem to have made of things. And she is a lifelong spiritual seeker with an eye for recognizing strategies that can assist us all to journey with confidence.
The mission of Bridging the Gulf is threefold: First, our mission is to offer a safe place to explore what is going on when we feel stuck. Since obstacles are inevitable facts of life, so too is the experience of feeling stuck or stalled. The hero's journey is the particular mythological theme that addresses the experience of stuckness and that helps us understand that being stuck is a natural, maybe even necessary, part of the journey towards genius, joy and rejuvenation. As Harry Potter's mentor, Professor Dumbledore, reminds us:“Happiness can be found in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light.” The hero's journey is about finding that light switch.
Second, our mission is to offer a place to experiment with respectful, engaging, powerful, yet non-clinical aids for bridging the gulf created by issues that sap our energy and dampen our passion and delight. The ideas that shape Melinda's unique approach are outlined on this website. During face-to-face sessions, these ideas are enhanced with gentle, sometimes ancient practices and skills that resonate with cutting-edge science. For more information on Melinda's approach, refer to the Staff tab and the About Journey Coaching tab above.
Third, and perhaps most importantly, the mission of Bridging the Gulf is to create a journey elder incubator. Although life propels us all towards elderhood, there are many ways that the growth of elder wisdom can be hampered as we age. A journey elder is a person who first masters the mental and emotional skill required to pass successfully through what Bridging the Gulf refers to as the first and second initiations of the hero's journey, and then who turns back to help others succeed on their journeys as well. A journey elder incubator would support the creation of these rare and exceptionally valuable creatures. The world is in desperate need of them.
The tabs across the top of each page will help you explore the many facets of the Bridging the Gulf program. In short, Melinda coaches individuals, mainly adults and seniors, privately or in groups, on single life issues or on the layout of a lifelong journey. Often, the most difficult aspect of the journey process concerns creating and maintaining strong, nurturing relationships. For those desiring to take on this most honorable and rewarding challenge, Melinda offers the educational Hold Me Tight version of Emotionally Focused Therapy. (See the Couple Journey tab above.) Melinda is happy to coach couples, singles, or groups either privately or in workshop format. If, upon sampling or completing the Hold Me Tight program, a couple desires a more clinical approach, she will refer them to a local EFT therapist. Melinda does not offer diagnostic mental health services, nor does she work clinically with clients to resolve diagnosed mental health issues.
Melinda enjoys working with people of all ages, races, ethnic backgrounds, sexual orientations, and other designations of difference. Life can be a puzzle and a trial at times for us all. So . . . if you can imagine that things could be better . . . if you need help holding and growing that thought . . . if it’s time to take the first step or the next step, then this website is for you. And, if it feels right, give Melinda a call. Perhaps you will agree that when we are confounded, it's helpful to share notes with those who have been there before, and a whole lot more fun to travel with companions.