The last step of the hero's journey is variously called "The Student Becomes The Teacher", "Return to the Village With The Elixer" and "Movement to the Higher Level." It represents the end of one phase of life, and the beginning of another.
Any experience that takes you through the "dark night of the soul" will teach you about who you really are. What reality really is. IF you learn the lesson, you will be changed forever. If you are not changed, if you repeat the previous behaviors, you did not learn the lesson.
Information that does not change behavior is trivial information, and useless. Or you did not learn it. Once a lesson is truly learned, it should not be possible to go back to the old way of doing things.
The "Hero's Journey" pattern is not a circle. It is a spiral, describing growth up a staircase described by the Yogic Chakras or Maslow's Hierarchy, or any of the other systems of deep though encoded in religions, philosophies and evolutionary systems around the world.
How can you know that you have moved to the next level? How do you anchor new knowledge in your body and mind?
1) Take consistent, new action.
2) Teach what you have learned to others.
I really like #2. Anything you have legitimately learned, that has changed your life for the better, you have the right and perhaps even obligation to teach. Take the self-pity out of it: a 10 year old can teach a 9 year old.
Once you have learned the path to healing your emotions: finding love, banishing (or re-interpreting) fear, dealing with shame or guilt or loss...join or start a support group. Mentor others. Blog about your experiences. Tell the truth, ruthlessly. Trust me: telling the truth helps "groove" it more deeply in your own consciousness, and also provides a beacon for others seeking a way out of their emotional morass.
The best way to be sure you know something is to teach it. Share it. Stand up and say, clearly, that it is possible to win. That there is hope.
Our Deepest Fear
Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.
Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.
It is our light, not our darkness
That most frightens us.
We ask ourselves
Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?
Actually, who are you not to be?
You are a child of God.
Your playing small
Does not serve the world.
There's nothing enlightened about shrinking
So that other people won't feel insecure around you.
We are all meant to shine,
As children do.
We were born to make manifest
The glory of God that is within us.
It's not just in some of us;
It's in everyone.
And as we let our own light shine,
We unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.
As we're liberated from our own fear,
Our presence automatically liberates others.