Cool stuff: Different Work | Your Big Adventure | The Fish Pond
Part of me still has difficulty admitting that the whole thing about change is the stories we tell ourselves and others. I’m still freaking out about the idea of turning into a new age hippie. Before you know it I have attached the label “life coach” to my identity and we all know how upset our stomach gets from that word.
We make sense of our world by the stories we hold. If the stories we have don’t fit with what the world is offering us, we are in trouble.
“It’s all a question of story. We are in trouble just now because we do not have a good story. We are in between stories. The old story, the account of how the world came to be and how we fit into it, is no longer effective. Yet we have not learned the new story.”
—Thomas Berry, Theologian, Philosopher, and Cultural Historian
So. How do you change your story?
Personally, because I’m this incredibly tree-hugging magic pixie with star dust, I know that everyone has a great, inspiring and awesome story to tell. But sometimes these incredible stories are buried under a ton of dirt. Layers of societal ‘You Shoulds’. Meters of expectations from The Others. And many times, you aren’t even aware of this layer.
So. It’s more about revealing your story. Ok. How do you reveaaaaaal your story?
You could keep a journal for years. Like writing a blog. For years. And years. A looooong time.
If you blog about these things, you help yourself by writing, people with similar interests show up to support you (community!) and as an incredible bonus, you leave something behind for those folks that have identical questions in the future. Blogging is almost like therapy.
The Hero’s Journey.
You can also make use of narrative structures to trigger questions you will not ask yourself otherwise. Structures like The Hero’s Journey. A structure we all know from movies like The Matrix, Star Wars, The Big Lebowski and Juno.
In it’s short form it’s about an ordinary person faced with a challenge. He has to go into an unknown territory to retrieve something. During this journey he has to face certain tasks and enemies. He will meet people that will help him, show him the ways of this unknown place.
What makes this narrative structure so interesting is not that many movies are based upon it. It’s more the reason why so many stories are following this flow. There is a certain appeal to it, we all recognize parts of how we experience our own life story.
I created this doodle of the bigger story Lori and I hold as we are working together. It follows the basic structure of a hero’s journey. Yes, reality is a little less linear, and “home” and “special world” are not separate, but it’s like a movie, it’s a metaphor. It allows us to see connections across and within our stories. To see where we are along the journey, putting the words we use in perspective.
If you want to know more about the change from a one story world to a many stories world and The Monsters, The Encroachers and media you encounter along the way, you can read this post.
If you want to apply the Hero’s Journey structure to talk about projects, you can use The Project Story Circle I explained at the beginning of this year.