My Hero’s Journey

Piero Fauci, an author and educator who teaches mindfulness meditation and mindful living is interviewed by host Alex Nottingham, JD, MBA in this episode of Dental All-Stars. They delve into the concept of the hero’s journey, inspired by Joseph Campbell’s work. Piero explains that the hero’s journey is a template found in various cultures and stories, where the hero hears a call to adventure, initially refuses it, but eventually embarks on the adventure. Through challenges, mentors, and self-discovery, the hero undergoes transformation and returns with wisdom and gifts to share. Piero highlights the importance of mindfulness in navigating one’s own hero’s journey and suggests reflective questions such as “Who am I?” and “What gifts do I bring to share with others?” to enhance personal growth and fulfillment.


About Piero Falci

Piero Falci teaches Mindfulness Meditation and Mindful Living and the acclaimed Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program. He leads Insight Meditation Silent Retreats and organizes Silent Peace Walks. He lives in Florida, USA. He was trained by the teachers at the Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Health Care, and Society at the University of Massachusetts Medical School and at the Mindfulness Center at Brown University.

About Alex Nottingham, JD, MBA

Alex is the CEO and Founder of All-Star Dental Academy®. He is a former Tony Robbins top coach and consultant, having worked with companies upwards of $100 million. His passion is to help others create personal wealth and make a positive impact on the people around them. Alex received his Juris Doctor (JD) and Master of Business Administration (MBA) from Florida International University.

Episode Transcript

Transcript performed by A.I. Please excuse the typos.


This is Dental All-Stars, where we bring you the best in dentistry on marketing, management and training. Here’s your host, Alex Nottingham. The title of this podcast is My Hero’s Journey, and our guest is Piero Fauci. Piero is an author and educator. He teaches mindfulness meditation and mindful living. He has written several books, including the highly praised three-book series, Mindfulness for a Better Mind, Life and World.


And he has created a variety of courses on how to apply mindfulness for the improvement of overall wellbeing and enjoyment of life. Please welcome Piero. Alex, thank you for having me. I’m excited to have this conversation with you. I’m excited to have you. And tell me about, so we had you before and I’ll put a link to this was over a year or two ago, we did one about happiness. And.


We’re going to talk about the hero’s journey and Joseph Campbell. Tell me about the hero’s journey and Joseph Campbell. So I teach a program, uh, on discovering our purpose in life and following our bliss. I call it my hero’s journey. So this is the idea of using, uh, what Joseph Campbell put together. And he described as a template of all fables of all tales, all stories.


I says, well, all the stories out there are pretty much the same, independent of what culture they come from. It can be a Native American story or it can be a Japanese story. And he said, there is a story of the hero, the hero who hears a call to adventure, who refuses to accept the call. And then he enters on the adventure itself. And so this template, this


Yeah, this template can be used for each one of us to analyze our lives and figure out how we are doing in our own hero’s journey. So I can explain a little bit about how this template looks like.


There are many ways of laying out the journey of the hero, if you will. I like to say that there are that moment in your life when you hear the call to adventure. That’s what Joseph Campbell called that voice in your head saying, hey, you should be doing this. Why are you not doing it? And usually,


Together with the call to adventure, there is something that he called the refusal to accept the call. And usually it comes like this, saying, well, not now. This is not the right time for me to take the leap of faith. This is not the right time for me to launch myself in this adventure. Perhaps when I finish college, or perhaps when I get married, or when I have children, or when I…


have professional success or when the children are away from home. So you keep postponing, uh, accepting the call to adventure. And sometimes something happens in your life. And usually it is some sort of loss. It can be a loss of financial security. It can be a professional loss. It can be a loss of health. It can be a loss in a relationship such as a divorce or something like this. And then.


What happens is that you were launched in the adventure. It’s almost like a kick in the butt and say, well, ready or not, you have to go now. And so you are, uh, you go into a stage that is called the initiation. You cross the threshold from the known land to the unknown land. And you feel completely unprepared. You feel not ready. Say, um,


You leave the comfort of the known to go to the discomfort of the unknown. But what happens is that when you cross the threshold, things start to happen. Uh, people start to show up in your life and usually they are the mentors, the guides, uh, the teachers that are going to help you to learn what you need to know to, uh, to be successful in that adventure, your personal adventure, if you will.


So we are going to be facing challenges like we all face challenges in our lives. We’re going to be defeated. We’re going to fail. And then we’re going to learn from these defeats and failures, and we’re going to build up some sort of skills that are preparing us to the greatest challenge. And the greatest challenge sometimes is called the time when you have to face the dragon, you have to slay the dragon. And, uh, so you succeed in that.


in that encounter, in that challenge, and then you return. So the last phase is the phase of returning to the village and bringing the treasure that the dragon was guarding. One important stage in this process is the stage of knowing yourself, is the stage of transformation, is when the usually,


the hero goes into the desert or goes into the cave or goes to the top of the mountain or goes to the bottom of the abyss. In some tales, it goes to the belly of the whale. And it’s in there that the hero gets to know better what the real challenge is. And the real challenge is not slaying the dragon.


face the dragon that is within himself or herself and conquering or, I would say, domesticating that dragon. So the treasure that he brings back to the village in the phase of return is not really the childness or the vault with the jewels.


The real treasure is he himself or she herself transformed. And then he becomes a gift to others. They say, well, if Pietro was able to do this, if Alex was able to do this, perhaps I can do it as well. So that’s the hero’s journey. So Dr. Joseph Campbell was a mythologist, and he actually worked closely with George Lucas in the Star Wars films.


And in Joseph’s research, many of the great stories, Greek and Roman stories, and many of our superhero movies and so on have been based on the patterns that Joseph didn’t create. He just discovered that all of these follow this pattern and what many of this future psychologists and mindfulness teachers like yourself has said, wait a second.


these movies, our life follows this arc, because why would we like to watch these epic movies or read these epic odysseys and novels? Because they reflect what’s happening inside of us. And what I hear you saying is, by understanding the hero’s journey, we can consciously start choosing and saying, oh, I’m in this phase of the hero’s journey, and there’s something that can be of value here. And


What I assume and correct me if I’m wrong here, Piero, is that we may have multiple heroes journeys throughout our life and just being aware of that. And this is basically mindfulness because mindfulness is instead of the stuff happening to you, you can be mindful, aware, and have a choice of how you perceive what’s happening to you. So many things there that you said. You’re right about Joseph Campbell. Joseph Campbell studied different stories. And then he said, well,


These stories are pretty much all the same. You know, they have this path of the hero, the journey of the hero. So that’s something there. Uh, we have several heroes journeys throughout their lives because we have different roles in our lives, so you can have a professional hero journey, but you can have a real hero journey, a hero’s journey as a, as a parent, for instance, uh, as a spouse, for instance. So.


There are different hero journeys and they’re happening at the same time. Mindfulness really is the awareness that arises from paying attention to what’s happening in your life. So it’s a training. I like to say mindfulness meditation is the training, is the practice and mindful living is the game. So you’re training yourself to pay attention to your life and say, okay, where am I right now? What’s happening to me right now?


And it can be in this present moment, or it can be an assessment, or where you are in your life. You can make different kinds of assessment. I, for instance, make an assessment of my advanced age. I am 70 years old now, and I keep looking at the rest of my life and say, okay, what shall I do now knowing that I have perhaps 15 or 20 productive years ahead of me if my health is not good enough?


stands right if I am in good health so you can make all sorts of assessment that 20 years old 30 years old 40 years old whatever age you are and


Luke Skywalker, so talking a little bit about the partnership between George Lucas and Joseph Campbell, Luke Skywalker is living an ordinary life, if you can call that life that he was living an ordinary life. And then suddenly something traumatic happens. So he returns to the huts where he was living, I believe, with his uncle and aunt.


and they died. I mean, they are not there or something happens. And then he has to launch himself in the unknown land. He has to leave behind the known land, and then he enters the unknown land. And fortunately enough, he meets the guides. The guides would be Jedi Masters, Obi-Wan Kenobi and Yoda.


These are his, and this is the phase of initiation. And they are preparing, if you remember, there is a complete time of training of Luke. So he has to train himself to feel the force, not to be reactive, but to respond more maturely to the challenges and so on and so forth. So it’s a beautiful hero’s journey right there.


There is a beautiful movie that I want to mention. But before you get to your new movie, you didn’t finish the star wars. You only got us halfway through the journey. I want to hear the rest of it. Okay. You finished the star wars, Alex. Okay. So we have the call to adventure where his village was burned and, and his family was killed. He met Obi-Wan and Yoda and trained. Then he had a face. And so that’s transformation is third. Then he has to transformation. He had a face.


And return is the last one. So he had a face himself and he had a face, uh, Darth Vader, and then he comes back home, uh, and he’s got that beautiful ceremony. Then, uh, by the way, I’m going to put in the show notes, a link. I have a two part series that I release on May 4th, the fourth, fourth be with you about star wars and dentistry, how to be the dead, uh, the dental force awakens.


and the dental Jedi or what have you. And so I use some references from star wars and dental training. So I’ll put the, the link as well. Cause these discussions work out well together. What a coincidence that we’re talking about this and you have produced something similar. That’s an interesting coincidence there. Yeah. Uh, so I want to mention a movie called the secret life.


of Walter Meaty. So I’m going to ask you Alex also to put a link there. It’s a directed by Ben Stiller and it’s the hero’s journey from beginning to end. You will see that if you think about separation, uh, initiation, transformation and return, you will see how well crafted that movie is based on the hero’s journey is called the secret life of Walter Meaty.


And for those of you who would love to explore a little bit your own journey, there is a beautiful documentary called Finding Joe. And I know Alex, you have watched that documentary probably more than once. I pretty much, I watched this documentary once a year because it’s such a, a way of guiding me to reflect. It’s almost like a personal coach. Oh yeah.


And sometimes what I do is I pause the video and I get my notebook and I write down the insights that come from watching the movie. Learning about the hero’s journey, studying it, even watching movies. So you can, for those that are listening or watching, you can tell your spouse or your friends or your family, hey, excuse me, I have to go to the theater. I have to watch movies because it’s helping my hero’s journey. This is personal development, everybody, watching movies.


And when you watch movies, instead of, yes, it’s fun to do, but be aware of what’s happening and see how that reflects in yourself. And then we are conscious. That’s what awakening is all about because you have these gurus, enlightenment, awakening. It’s so special and religious. Awakening is just, I can see a little bit more clearly. It’s available to- Oh, look at this. This is a movie. It’s happening.


And I can choose what film to put into my own own life and what’s going to happen there because look, Darth Vader or on the Star Wars track, he had a different hero’s journey. And I won’t ruin it who didn’t watch it, but he went to the dark side. He was a former Jedi. And so again, he didn’t, maybe he wasn’t aware of his heroes.


the good side earlier on it. So mindfulness could have helped Anakin Skywalker. I want to mention you said about awakening and enlightenment. There are a few things that I can say. I can say that awakening and enlightenment is available to everybody. It’s not something that is reserved for those people who are meditating 12 hours a day for 40 years. This is not so. They’re not awakened people. What you have are awakened moments.


Now, some teachers say, uh, awakening is an accident, but meditation makes you, uh, awakening prone. More prone to the awakening. I like that. Uh, Piero, tell me as we kind of wrap up the hero’s journey, tell me what are some action steps or some questions or reflections that we can make regarding our, the hero’s journey to make our lives better.


I think that I have created in the workshop that I teach, I created probably, I would say 40 to 50 questions of self-reflection. But there is an author that I admire a lot. His name is Wayne Miller, and he has the four fundamental questions that have been so useful in my life in the last three decades of my life since I got in touch with these questions.


So the first one is, who am I? The second one is, what do I love? The third one is, how shall I live knowing that I will die? And the fourth one is, what gifts do I bring to share with others? What gifts do I bring to share with the family of the Earth? So who am I? It’s a very interesting question, because together with this question, there is a sister question I call, that is, who am I not?


because we believe we are a bunch of things, but perhaps what we tell ourselves, that who we are is not really who we are. So it’s important also to ask ourselves, who am I not beyond the story that I have created of myself? And what do I love is super important. What are you passionate about? And how can I find passion in the things that I do? You don’t have to change the things that you do, but you have to reframe.


the way you approach the things that you do to say, okay, this is what I was dealt, how can I make the best out of it? With a smile, with a serving attitude, for instance. The third one is how shall I live knowing that I will die? And the fourth one is what rings, what gifts do I bring to share with others? That’s so nice to hear. They’re deep questions. And…


It’s what I always appreciated is that the more we do this, it’s not that at the end of our life, we contemplate, it’s contemplate throughout our life so that we have maintained perspective. We can live our legacy now versus at the very end. Just one more. The other day was writing about or reflecting on that quote from Lao Tse of the


thousand miles begins with the first step. You’ve heard this one, right? So my reflection is that the journey of a thousand miles is always beginning. It’s always beginning now with this step. And we always have a thousand miles ahead of you. There’s no real final destination. So the journey of a thousand miles is always beginning and it’s always beginning now. And so.


It doesn’t matter where you are in your life. Realize that you’re starting right here, right now. Beautiful. I’m going to put some, I have a lot of links to put into the show notes. A few that I like to add besides the one you mentioned here, a bibliography is we have your book, I’ll put a link as well. Better mind, better life. The documentary, Finding Joe, we discuss. I’ll have that as well as.


You’ll send me the Ben Stiller link. Yeah. Post that as well. The secret life of Walter Meaty. Okay. I’ll add that. And then also Piero Fauci, P I E R O F A L C And I’ll again, I’ll put all that in the show notes and you have an online course and I like to take it myself called my hero’s journey. And I’ve taken a few of your courses. One of them was a happiness course. I really enjoyed that.


So besides finding Joe or rather my hero’s journey that they can learn from you, they have other courses as well, MBSR and which is stress reduction. So there’s many courses that they can learn from and coordinate with you. And I appreciate the opportunity to be here with you. That was very wonderful. Thank you. You’re welcome. Thank you for being with us. And remember to follow us on Apple podcasts, Spotify and YouTube.


Get episodes as they are released and share with your friends. And until next time, go out there and be an all star.


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