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  • Writer's pictureDaniloTambone

(13) The Magic Flight - Fasten Your Seatbelts!

Updated: Mar 5, 2022

(Photo by Sourav Mishra from Pexels)

"And so, you remained stuck for a while in your Refusal of the Return. You were struggling to find a proper media that resonated with you and that could help convey your message to prospective clients. What got you back on track?"

"Experimenting, at first. I had some success with my weekly inspirational live video sessions. It was fun, and I continue to do them. But then I got some unexpected big help.”

"Covid-19 has forced people to learn and use internet for both their business and private matters. Doing video-calls has become more natural for everyone. The issue with distance therefore disappeared for most of my clients, as online coaching has increasingly become the state of the art. And my experience with live streams and online courses at that point came in very useful.”


In the Return Phase, Campbell identifies a stage that propels the Hero forward, towards the Ordinary World where they’ll be able to share the Ultimate Boon.

This stage is called The Magic Flight and can have a double nature based on the context.

In fact, if there is a god, or a goddess, or a supernatural power, that wishes that the Hero returns home, then some forces or entities that have supported them during the journey provide an additional unexpected boost, as in the case of Gisela above.

But there may be cases where the Hero has snatched the boon from a guardian, or where the Hero’s desire to come back home creates hard feelings on some supernatural characters. In those situations, the Hero must rush away from them to stay alive and come back home.

In both cases, these forces belong to the deep world where the Hero has journeyed so far, in contrast to the people coming from the Ordinary World that will support them in the following step, The Rescue from Without.

Let’s explore.


The Magic Flight in the Odyssey

The Refusal of the Return had been quite long for Odysseus. In fact, he and his men had remained for a year with Circe. Besides that, when they decided to set sail to Ithaca, they had to escape from the perils of the island of sirens, the six-headed monster Scylla, and the whirlpool Charybdis.

They land on the island of Thrinacia, where Odysseus’ men disobey the orders and hunt down some of Helios’ sacred sheep. Zeus causes a shipwreck to punish them, and all but Odysseus die.

The Hero reaches the shores of Ogygia, where the nymph Calypso rescues him, falls in love, and asks him to become her lover, promising him immortality.

Odysseus refuses her advances, but the nymph forces him to stay there for seven years.

Yet the Gods have a different plan. They send their messenger Hermes to convince Calypso, who with reluctance finally frees the Hero.

Odysseus builds a raft and set sails, but after eighteen days, as he starts to see land in the distance, Poseidon’s wrath hits him. The god is still enraged with him for the blindness that he has caused to his son Polyphemus.

In the midst of the storm, when everything seems lost, Odysseus is saved by the goddess Leucothea. She tells him to discard his clothes, provides him with a veil, and instructs him to swim until he reaches the island of Scheria, land of the Phaeacians.

Poseidon releases his rage by destroying Odysseus’ raft, but finally leaves him alone.

Then, Athena orders the winds to step down and levels the waves to ease the rest of the journey.

Finally, Odysseus reaches the shores and hides himself in the nearby woods, and there, exhausted, he falls asleep.


The Magic Flight in the Wizard of Oz

Dorothy is in tears. By jumping off the Wizard’s balloon, she’s apparently lost her only opportunity to come back home.

Yet, Glinda, the Good Witch of the North, suddenly appears and comes to the rescue.

“The power to come back home has always been with you,” she says.

“I didn’t tell that before because you would have not believed me. What did you learn through your adventure, Dorothy?”

“My heart’s desire is in my backyard, and if it’s there, I have actually never lost it.”

“Right. And you had to find this out for yourself! Now, whenever you’re ready, close your eyes, tap the heels of your ruby slippers together for three times, and think to yourself ‘There’s no place like home’…”

Dorothy greets her friends, closes her eyes, and performs the ritual.

Her world starts morphing.

Home is closer and closer.


The Magic Flight in Aquaman

Arthur has finally freed the Trident from Atlan's grip.

A few seconds before, the Karathen, the monster who had kept guarding the mythical past King for a thousand years, had promised it would have killed him if he failed.

But he’s been deemed worthy.

He gets the awareness that he is the true King of the Seven Kingdoms, and that he has always been.

And now, with this newly acquired consciousness, riding the Karathen underwater, Arthur drives all sea creatures to fight Orm's army and save his people.


The Magic Flight in Chris Gardner’s Hero’s Journey

Will Smith watches the ABC 20/20 interview featuring Chris Gardner and is blown away. Chris’s story, rag to riches, embodies the American Dream and has Hollywood potential. And, even beyond this, Will recognizes the power of the connection between father and son and the heroic journey of this man, and feels that it is a story worth spreading.

Will Smith is all in for it, and finally reaches out to Gardner.

Chris is conquered by Will’s grace, humility, and talent, and finally goes beyond his Refusal of the Return by joining him as a consultant and associate producer for the making of the movie.

In parallel, Chris finds support on his Magic Flight also for writing down the story of his life. He meets Quincy Troupe, biographer of one of Chris’s heroes, Miles Davis, and Mim Eichler Rivas, who lets him open up his soul. Quincy writes down the bare events of Chris’s life, Mim writes how those events felt for Chris.

On May, 23rd, 2006, the autobiography ‘The Pursuit of Happyness’ is published. Later that year, on December, 15th, the motion picture under the same name, directed by Gabriele Muccino, is released.

Both book and movie are instant success. Chris’s real story spreads all over the world, and requests for him to be a speaker at events start overflowing. The subjects he addresses are widespread social issues. Alcoholism, domestic violence, child abuse, illiteracy, homelessness – all of them are universal themes, and Gardner feels it was imperative to share his experience.

A few years later, in May 2009, Chris goes on by publishing a second best-selling book, ‘Start Where You Are – Life Lessons in Getting from Where You Are to Where You Want to Be’, where he incapsulates the key points that allowed him to stay sane when everything seemed lost and to go beyond his own limits.

Dr. Maya Angelou, the American poet and civil rights activist who became dear friend with him, says that Chris’s story resonates so much with people because “it isn't so much ‘The Story of Me’ as much as ‘The Story of Us’. It's the story of every father who had to be a mother, of every mother who had to be a father, and everybody who ever had a dream and wouldn't quit" (from the introduction of Chris’s second book).

In parallel, his business as CEO of his multimillion-dollar brokerage firm is skyrocketing.

Chris’s Hero’s Journey is appearing as if come to full circle. He is finally sharing his message with people, inspiring that Ordinary World that he had come from. He had experienced deep poverty and shining riches and, as a Master of those Two Worlds, he is aware of what they meant. He has the Freedom to Live on his own terms.

Yet, another full Hero’s Journey is waiting for Chris right after the next turn.

It will force him to confront with death and rebirth, painfully propelling him beyond what he is expecting and getting him ready to take his message to the next level.


The Magic Flight in My Story

And then, Covid-19 hits.

On the morning of February 1st, 2020, I wake up in my bed in Milan with a terrible headache and cough. My eyes hurt. My whole body aches. My voice is low, I can barely speak. Never experienced anything so sudden and intense like that. I take my temperature: 38°C, around 100°F.

The day before I had conducted the first of two days of Scrum training with a new team in the Fintech company, and today I had to perform the second one. But, in these conditions, I can’t even get out of my bed. So, I apologize with the company and we agree to reschedule the training.

At that time, Covid-19 had officially hit only China, and it was still unheard of in Italy and Europe in general. No prevention protocols were in place yet in my Country. Two weeks before, one colleague in Modena and his whole family had been hit by a strangely persistent fever. That colleague had then come back to work, maybe a bit too early since he was still coughing a lot, and he then probably infected me.

Even small noises make my head explode, even weak lights sting my eyes like needles. I stay in bed coughing for the whole day, in a dark and silent room. And the next day, and the next one, and the next, for a full week.

I have to cancel all my job commitments with no idea of when I’ll be ok.

Then the fever goes down, but I’m still unable to “function properly”.

I feel ok only in mid-February, two weeks after the start of this self-imposed quarantine.

Was it really Covid-19? I will never know. At that time there were no tests available to check it, and several months later, when they were developed, my body had already gone back to normal. Nothing to declare.

After those two weeks, I finally get back to work in Modena.

One week later, based on the worrying sudden development of the epidemiological situation in Europe, the client in Modena asks all consultants like me to work from remote. One week later, on March 2nd, they tell all their employees to do the same.

Lockdowns spread all over Europe. The generalized ‘Work from Remote Era’ has just started.

I support my teams on adapting their practices, so that they can continue delivering results despite of these ground-breaking changes. Nobody knows how long this situation will last and if there’ll be impacts on their jobs. This uncertainty is killing them, and I take care of their emotional health as much as I can, while I take care of mine.

One, two, three months go by. The news tell that Intensive Care Units are saturated everywhere and can’t handle new patients. Death tolls increase day by day. It’s clear that the situation is out of control and is going to stay with us for quite some time.

In the meantime, I continue with refining my coaching skills and I get signals from the universe that this road is worth exploring.

In fact, as a former student of a training for coaches, I’m invited to take part with other fellow coaches to an international Mastermind organized by the same company that provided that training. We exchange experiences and coach each other. They see a special spark in the way I coach and encourage me to lunch my website, which I actually do shortly after. You should start blogging, they say, so you can touch more people.

Yes of course, I say, but let’s stay down-to-hearth. My consulting job is still bringing home good money and it’s a safe thing. Let’s not mess up with risky ideas about launching a coaching business.

Yet, the universe has its own way to cut the chords when you refuse to take the right path.

And this Magic Flight that had unexpectedly brought me back home, this physical distancing from the client’s premises and their people due to Covid-19 protocols, was just the first step.

Something toughest was waiting for me, just around the corner.


Your Story

  • Think of a moment in your life when something unexpected happened and propelled you forward. Maybe you had a message to give, or a prize to share, or a situation to bring to completion, and no idea of how to do it. Or you tried to leave behind a situation, taking with you the most of that experience, and someone or something chased after you in resentment. What happened? How did it feel like?

Beyond Your Story

  • Look beyond the specific events that you may have recalled in the first part of the point above. Signals that show us in which direction to go, like powerful winds that blow at our back, manifest themselves at any time. Ask yourself: how often do I notice them?

  • The journey provides us with an environment where we grow a new understanding and a new awareness of what we truly are. What counts, though, is the ability to bring such a new consciousness back into our Ordinary World in a balanced way. Sometimes, our journey’s companions may feel betrayed by our desire to metaphorically come back home, and they try to keep us from doing it. Has this ever happened to you? If yes, what did you do to cut the chords and purposefully move further?


Is this post lighting you up? Are you willing to Open Up to Your Potential?

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The Journey so far:

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