Los Treinta y Tres – 33 Heroes return from their ‘journey’

by Juliet Platt on October 14, 2010

in Life lessons

What an astonishing, compelling and moving thing it was to watch the rescue operation in Chile yesterday. Thirty three men restored to their families after 69 days trapped half a mile below the ground. Quite a heroes’ journey.

The interesting thing about the archetypal hero’s journey, so often quoted by wise men and personal development gurus, is that when the traveller returns he or she brings back with them a gift, something they have learned, some message or insight for the benefit of their old community, so that it in turn can change and evolve. This is the transformative nature of the hero’s journey, the fact that our experience does not just benefit ourselves, it also teaches those around us the next steps.

There is no doubt that the miners will indeed find themselves unable to resist the call for them to share their story. Oprah and Dr Phil are going to have a field day; Hollywood is going to be all over it; and one of the number, Victor Rojas, kept a journal about the entire experience which publishers the world over will kill for.

As the miners were stretchered away one-by-one from the rescue shaft, there was little opportunity for the rest of the world to hear their individual messages. These were, quite rightly at that moment, reserved for the ears of their most intimate relatives.

However, a few hours after being rescued, the “Showman” Mario Sepulveda, the second miner to emerge in the Fenix capsule, and whose name spookily means “stop the grave”, declared over the airwaves that he’s been alive for 40 years, but that now he’s really going to start living. Amongst the gifts of rocks that he brought back to the surface with him, this was the real gem.

Chile’s job right now is not to try too hard to get these men reintegrated into their old lives, but to give them the platform and means to impart all their insights and messages.

In the meantime, we can look forward to learning from them all.

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