|dc.description.abstract||All life is suffering. Life is the pursuit ofhappiness. These are two foundational
Buddhist dictums that, in their simplicity, I have entirely misunderstood regarding their
depth, misreading them as contradictory. Indeed, my superficial interpretations led me to
Thoreau's life ofquiet desperation and deep depression.
We come to know and bring understanding to our lives by storying them. My own
Hero's Journey, the path from my egoic selftoward the universal Self, can be understood
as the resultant translations and transformations. Inevitably each of us is involved in such
a story, though most are unaware of the stages along our own Hero's journey. '
Narrative honours writing as a means of knowing. The contemplative reflection
allows insight into our imprisoning paradigms, beliefs, behaviours, and blind spots. My
research revisits and explores nodal experiences along my Hero's Journey through 4
categories: self, society, soil, and Self. While the value of this process of narrative inquiry
lay in its ability to come to know and understand one's self, perhaps its greater value is of
a more universal nature. My inquiry, while adding to the body of academic educational
narrative literature, may also illuminate a path to educators, students, and all interested,
encouraging a response to the call of their own Hero's journey.
I am a teacher/learner in a jail setting, working with youth between the ages of 12
and 18 who have committed crimes such as armed robbery, assault, rape, and murder. As
this thesis follows my continual development from egoic self/teacher/learner to universal
Self/Teacher/Learner, it also enables me to both consciously and unconsciously open the
ways in which I expand my care, compassion, and love to work with at-risk youth.||en_US