Everyone loves a good story. My favorites are ones that have adventure, romance, and humor. Most stories follow predictable patterns or themes, such as:
- Conflict between good and evil
- A central problem or challenge, followed by various activities leading toward a solution
- Individual growth (i.e.: from selfish, uncaring and critical through an awakening moment or incident into a “good” person)
- Relationship triumph (boy meets girl, boy & girl fall in love, boy & girl live happily ever after)
And then, sometimes, a story surprises us by purposefully NOT fitting into a pattern. Robert Munsch’s “Paper Bag Princess” comes to mind. The princess was aggrieved by a fire breathing dragon who burned down her castle and all her belongings, and took her Prince hostage. Rather than playing the victim, the princess dons a brown paper bag (because all her clothing was burned), hikes across the countryside to the dragon’s lair, outsmarts the dragon, and frees her Prince. Upon realizing how conceited and wimpy the Prince is, she ultimately decides not to marry him.
I use Munsch’s creative tale to illustrate the point of this article: We will either live our lives according to some default storyline OR we will live into a new story; one that magnifies our inner gifts and empowers us to access the highest, truest, and best version of ourselves.
For example, a few years back I became aware that I was living in a story that I hadn’t intentionally or consciously written for myself. It was a default story. I was living out the storyline of “abandoned girl” who believed she could not count on others and that she must do it all herself. She must be self-sufficient, strong, and prove herself capable in all matters. The main character in my story was controlling, driven, unintentionally selfish and dis-empowering to others. And boy, was this story laden with victim-mindset beliefs and self-limitation.
This was not the story I had imagined for my life! I wanted to be graceful and compassionate. I wanted to do work that I loved and that makes a difference in the world. I wanted to be a loving, calm parent and spouse.
Well, the tension mounted in my story long enough… I was finally awakened, picked up my pencil, and the next chapter began to unfold, consciously and by design. You can read all about it when I publish my book 🙂
Writing your life’s story, chapter by chapter, with intention, is a continual process. What’s the story that is creating your current reality? Perhaps it’s a story entrenched in an old pattern, such as mine was. The exercise below will help you reflect on your story to date and decide how you’d like it to unfold from here. Grab your journal and a pencil!
Following the exercise, I offer a couple of resources to help you get started.
Life Story Exercise
What if today begins a new chapter in your life – one that was NOT pre-written for you? You can write it anyway you wish. Reflect on the questions below to find out how this chapter begins…
- What default messages do you no longer want to be in your story? (for example, I knew I had to let go of my default message, “You cannot count on other people. You have to do it all yourself.”)
- What are the best qualities, values, or behaviors of the main character (that’s you!)? Which of these qualities, values, or behaviors will you exhibit more in your next chapter?
- What will your relationships be like in your next chapter? Remember, you get to make up the story anyway you wish. Envision what you wish for in your relationships, and then write it down. Read my article about Being the Change you Wish to See.
- What surprises will this chapter hold? Any exciting twists or turns? We might as well have some fun with this 🙂
Download my free Life-by-Design e-book. This is a great resource with some practical HOW-TO steps