In this episode, we speak with with writer, speaker, and soul-blogger Justine Musk, who has long been exploring the heroine’s journey in her work. She’s bold, honest, raw, and her story is an uncanny fit of the heroine’s arc.
Justine found her true voice and power as a creative leader after rising up from her own personal underworld. She shares how we can look to myths for guidance and offers advice for putting yourself out there. Her insights on our relationship to emotions, what she calls “non-predatory” power and leadership, and why saying ‘no’ is so important as a woman will blow you away.
You have to say ‘no’ sometimes to protect the deep, rich, powerful ‘yes’ that makes for a meaningful life.
— Justine Musk
Majo: I wanna talk about this theme of reclamation for a second. Because when you think of the heroine’s journey, there’s that pivotal point where something isn’t working or your body is giving you these signals… everything implodes or explodes in this breakdown, and then you descend. And in that descent there’s a reclaiming of things that have been lost.
I’d love to hear from you: What do you feel that was? What were you able to take back for yourself?
Justine: Wow, that’s a really good question. You know, the descent into the underworld, much like in the myth of Persephone… it’s something that can’t be rushed. You have to let it unfold as it’s going to unfold. And it’s absolutely a reclaiming of parts of yourself that you had to send undercover in order to function in the world that you found yourself in at the time.
If people who have power over your life as a child or as a young woman tell you, You cannot be this way, because if you are this way then we will send you into exile (or the equivalent of exile), then you really have no choice but to adapt your personality accordingly. And that’s all done, as you know, unconsciously. So I think a lot of empowerment is allowing what’s unconscious to become conscious.
I think that is really what the descent is all about. It’s a descent into those darker states of mind where you start to ask yourself some very tough questions. And it’s when you start listening to the answers that transformation starts to happen.
For me it was reclaiming my sense of myself as a badass, basically. And the irony was that it was also about reclaiming my writing. By that point I’d had three novels traditionally published, but the next novel that I was contracted to write I actually ended up blogging for four years, exploring the world of social media…
You have to have a spirit of courage and adventure or else you’re going to find it tough to get up in the morning sometimes. It’s kind of knowing that the fear can be powerful but you can also learn to dance with it.
- Justine’s early years: A small town, bookish girl who couldn’t wait to grow up. Early influences, teenage awkwardness, and learning to stand up for herself. [4:30]
- Coming into her own in her college years, wondering where she belonged, plus her awareness of the disconnect between how people were perceiving her and how she perceived herself. [9:14]
- The story of goddess Persephone and why Justine connects so strongly with her. [12:52]
- The benefit in connecting to myth, “post-traumatic growth”, and Justine’s insights on dealing with pain. [18:33]
- How Justine emerged stronger and more empowered after descending to her lowest point. [22:43]
- Justine’s advice for putting yourself out there, plus why it’s important for women to be unconventional. [27:02]
- Taking a closer look at feminine authority and leadership, and the power of saying ‘no’. [32:23]
- On women’s relationship to emotions and feelings (especially in the workplace). [35:54]
- Justine shares her excitement for an issue she’s exploring and what she’s working on now. [39:05]
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Check out Justine’s blog