Eat, Pray, Love was Elizabeth Gilbert's yearlong journey around the world, in search of her true self. It's a memoir, a best seller and a movie, but it's also something else. It's her hero's journey.
A "hero's journey" is the pattern identified by author Joseph Campbell, who said that protagonists in so many stories follow the exact same steps to complete their journeys. Gilbert is no exception and, as she tells Oprah during an interview for "Super Soul Sunday," the "heroes" are often those who would never consider themselves as such.
"The call starts [the hero's journey], and then? The refusal of the call," Gilbert explains. "'Don't ask me to do this… I'm not a hero. Don't look at me. I don't have the power. I'm just a kid, I'm just a regular guy.'"
Martin Luther King, Jr.'s life, Oprah adds, is a classic example of a hero's journey. He was a community leader who wanted to focus on his church, but, as it does with everyone, the call persists. Gilbert says this leaves a potential hero with two choices.
"You can answer the call or you can refuse the call. Really, [King] could have refused the call. He could have insistently said, 'It's not me,'" Gilbert says. "But he chose to answer it."
Though King is a famous example, Gilbert believes that a universal calling -- a yearning to step out -- lies within all of us. It's the same no matter who you are, whether you choose to hear it or not.
"Every quest begins with a question. And the question's always the same question," Gilbert says. "Here's the question: 'What have I come here to do with my life?'
"There's no one who hasn't had that question come to them," she continues. "That's the call."
Also in the interview: Gilbert shares the ugly truth about answering that call and what you can expect on your journey.