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  • Beyond the Hero’s Journey: Exploring the Paths of the Heroine, Healer, and Seeker // with Kimberly Lee

Beyond the Hero’s Journey: Exploring the Paths of the Heroine, Healer, and Seeker // with Kimberly Lee

  • 14 September 2022
  • 26 October 2022
  • Online
  • 4


In this fun and interactive class, we’ll explore journey narratives that go beyond the traditional hero’s journey. Collaborative, inclusive paths that have been identified include the heroine’s journey, the journey of integrity, the seeker’s journey, and the healer’s journey, each encompassing their own narrative arc and distinct beats to their paths. These narratives tend to be more expansive, including the behavior and plight of the individual yet elevating the focus to another level, involving each person’s interaction with others and effects on society at large. For six lovely weeks, we’ll investigate and discuss each of these journeys through their appearance in literature, film, fairy tales from around the globe, and the lives of public figures, supplementing our study with stimulating poetry, videos, and podcasts. We’ll engage with creative and expressive writing prompts, SoulCollage®, metacognitive drawing (no artistic ability required), and other interactive exercises and activities designed to gain a deeper understanding of these journeys for use in our creative projects, with equal emphasis given to how aspects of these narratives exist within our own lives. Our premise will be that as we discover where we are in our own journey, we can best help ourselves and offer our gifts both to those closest to us and to efforts for social change that are calling our names. Join us for the journey!

Week by Week

Each week will include readings, thoughtful discussions, writing prompts, journaling exercises, and other imaginative activities related to the designated journey, via the Wet Ink platform. Relevant videos and podcasts will be shared for further reflection. By focusing on the specified narrative arc in literature, film, and the lives of public figures, participants will be encouraged to explore how aspects of these journeys exist within their own lives and how the gifts of the journey can be effectively used to manifest social change in their own environments. The three 90-minute zoom meetings will offer additional opportunities for creative interaction and playful activities in real time for further investigation into each journey’s pathway. Readings will be made available online and will include stories, essays, poetry, and excerpts from work by Mary Oliver, Elizabeth Lesser, Gail Carriger, Albert Murray, Christopher Vogler, Toko-pa Turner, Carol S. Pearson, and Maria Tatar, amongst others. Conversation and the giving of feedback to written work will be honored and guided by principles of Amherst Writers and Artists and The Circle Way.

Week 1: We’ll begin by giving attention to the well-known hero’s journey, as a foundation and start-point for our exploration of more inclusive and collaborative journey narratives. We’ll also look at the journey of the creative who is working towards change, giving participants the opportunity to think about the material on a more personal level.

Zoom #1: Our first meeting will include an introductory activity, followed by a review of the hero’s journey and a discussion of the need for other journey narratives. Through poetry reading, free-writing to various prompts, and mind-mapping, we’ll generate excitement and chart our path for the weeks ahead.

Week 2: This week continues with a focus on the heroine’s journey, as developed by Maureen Murdock and Victoria Lynn Schmidt, as well as the corresponding journeys of people from marginalized and oppressed groups.

Week 3: We’ll focus on the healing journey this week, described as “a physical and mental/emotional/spiritual paradigm shift that enables protagonists to accept their circumstances and view themselves with compassion.”

Zoom #2: For our second meeting, we’ll hear from guest speaker Lisa Marchiano—a writer and narrative medicine expert who focuses on the heroine’s journey—to conclude our discussion of the journeys studied in weeks two and three. Following her talk, we’ll engage with writing prompts along with a fun and enlightening metacognitive drawing exercise.

Week 4: This week’s focus will be the journey of integrity, identified by Nancer Ballard, in which “the protagonist makes a deliberate decision to speak out or take action based on the needs or plight of others,” even though the decision “may have irreparable adverse personal impacts that are beyond the protagonist’s control.” Martin Luther King, Jr. is thought to have dealt with the conflicts of this journey, balancing his call to public service with his love for and duty to his immediate family. 

Week 5: The seeker’s journey will be the focus of this week, as developed by Savannah Jackson, who has stated “to adjust what you are doing and to seek out something new that works better for you is to take care of yourself. It is how we can live consciously and creatively in an evolving world.” In this context, we’ll discuss Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy of needs and the offerings of other spiritual seekers as part of our exploration.

Zoom#3: For our last meeting, we’ll discuss the most recent journeys studied, then use journaling prompts involving favorite films and literature, as well as SoulCollage®, to discover or revisit the themes and journeys that have brought each of us to this current moment and that can serve as guideposts to light our path ahead.

Week 6: For our final week, participants will contemplate and map out their own individual journeys, e.g. the journey to belonging, which may differ from those surveyed in this class. We’ll also play with the idea of the changing journey, whose path develops based on choices, circumstances, and synchronicity. We’ll conclude on a note of optimism, taking delight in the possibilities that exist for ourselves and the world as a result of renewed commitment to both self-compassion and social change.

Who Should Take This Class

This class welcomes creatives in any medium, from all levels of experience, who seek to delve into journey narratives for purposes of self-awareness and self-discovery, by way of compelling readings, interactive exercises, and imaginative prompts and activities. Participants looking to then take that knowledge and apply it—by mapping out their individual narrative arcs up to the present and meditating on next steps in their personal lives and efforts for social change—will benefit from this exploration.


This is an online class, hosted on the online teaching platform, Wet Ink, as well as Zoom. The Wet Ink platform allows students to log in on their own time to post comments and critiques directly to authors’ works. You can also view deadlines, track revisions, and watch video or listen to audio. At the end of the class, each student will receive an email that contains an archive of all their content and interactions. 

The day before class begins, you’ll receive an invitation to join Wet Ink. There are no browser requirements, and Wet Ink is mobile-friendly. If you have any questions about the technical requirements, please email tlan.coordinator@gmail.com.

Students should expect to spend 2-3 hours per week perusing resources and readings, engaging in several writing/creation prompts, and briefly responding to peers’ work. From our interactions, we sustain a welcoming and inspiring community together.

Zoom Meetings

#1 - Saturday, September 17, 2022, 8-9:30 am Pacific Time 

#2 - Wednesday, October 5, 2022, 4-5:30pm Pacific Time

#3 - Sunday, October 23, 2022, 8-9:30 am Pacific Time 

About the Facilitator

Kimberly Lee (@klcreatrixleft the practice of law some years ago to focus on motherhood, community work, and creative pursuits. A graduate of Stanford University and UC Davis School of Law, she is certified as a workshop facilitator by Amherst Writers & Artists, the Center for Journal Therapy, and SoulCollage®. She has led workshops at numerous retreats and conferences and is a teaching artist with Hugo House and Loft Literary. She serves on the board of the Transformative Language Arts Network and is actively involved with The Center for Intentional Creativity. A former editor and regular contributor at Literary Mama, Kimberly has served on the staffs of Carve and F(r)iction magazines. She holds a certificate in copyediting from UC San Diego Extension and is an active member of the Editorial Freelancers Association and ACES: The Society for Editing. Kimberly’s stories and essays have appeared in publications and anthologies including Minerva Rising, LA Parent, Fresh Ink, Words and Whispers, Toyon, The Ekphrastic Review, Wow! Women on Writing, Read650, Quillkeepers Press, I Am Woman: Expressions of Black Womanhood in America, and elsewhere. Kimberly trusts in the magic and mystery of miracles and synchronicity, and believes that everyone is creative and has unique gifts to share. She lives in Southern California with her husband and three children. See more about her work at kimberlylee.me.

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