The Multiple Threads of Your Life Story

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I’d like to invite you next to consider whether your Life Story might actually be playing itself out according to more than one Genre.  This week I have introduced you to three story types or genres that Life Stories represent: Comic Epic-Adventure, Tragic Epic-Adventure, and Episodic. You can determine which of these patterns your overall conception of your Life Story weaves by reviewing the sequence of Life Chapters you can identify by naming the event frames that have transpired between the critical Turning Points of your life’s Adventure (see the last two week’s tools in the right panel about identifying and naming your own Life Chapters).

Now then, might the same person’s Life Story be simultaneously Comic, Tragic and/or Episodic all at the same time? This is a profound question, for which I can say the answer is, Yes.  There are many layers to a Lifetime, after all.

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One way by which a person’s Life Story might be of multiple genres over time is simply in the sense that the Life Chapter you are in right Now—which I have called your Threshold vantage point—influences how you reconstruct your story. This is paradoxical, of course. If in the process of reflecting back about your Life you realize you stand in the Now at a relatively calm and aware precipice, then you are likely to name the Life Chapters you identify between your pivotal Turning Points in terms of a Comic Epic Adventure that has brought you to this Vantage Point of being a Threshold Dweller. On the other hand, if you are currently in the throes of a Dark Night situation, you might be more likely to reconstruct how dire events and repeating traumas have delivered you into this tragic Mess. (Please allow just for the moment my slightly droll attitude here, which cannot do justice to the real turmoil you might be experiencing.) Furthermore, if you find yourself currently on a sort of Lark of an adventure, relatively carefree and open to unexpected twists and turns in the Road before you, then perhaps you are more likely to reconstruct your Life Story as an Episodic, picaresque adventure.

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There is a more profound way, though, by which your Life Story might be transpiring according to multiple genres–and multiple story threads!– at the same time. This involves what Carl G. Jung or James Hillman or Carolyn Myss would describe in terms of Depth, or Archetypal, Psychology.  If you accept–and not everyone will–that we are each of us inherently “multiple”, all the time, because our personal unconscious domain houses a cast of archetypal character images or modes that exist under the surface of our conscious awareness yet they influence our perceptions and attitudes through dreams or ‘nudges’/ ‘impulses’, then you might be further willing to entertain the possibility that these unconscious aspects of Self may actually be construing THEIR Life Stories distinctly from your own conscious Life Story viewpoint. Perhaps you have an Inner “Wanderer/ Idealist” archetype sub-self in you. Then this figure might construe the life s/he shares with you as an Episodic Adventure, even while you may consciously be more goal directed on a Comic Epic Quest. Or maybe a ‘part’ of you that was squelched from early childhood trauma is in a Tragic mode and this colors all your experiences with a tinge of skepticism or sadness, even though for the most part you are consciously feeling happy and successful.

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I find that for Life Mapping, referring to Archetypes is very important and potentially very helpful and illuminating, so that in Life Paths I will be introducing a fresh new approach to working with some of your Archetypal “cast and crew”.  I also realize that Archetypal Psychology is not everyone’s cup of tea, outright at least. So in Life Paths I am also offering an alternative to thinking in terms of or making contact with your ‘depth’ archetypal impulses directly; you will be able to opt for simply reflecting upon your LIFE THEME values and qualities, instead.

For those willing to ‘sink’ to such depths (naturally), try reviewing the three Genres: Comic Epic Adventure; Tragic Epic Adventure; Episodic or Picaresque. Can you identify with MORE THAN ONE of these story types as having been or currently active in your life? I invite you to actively contemplate, talk about, or write/ journal about these multiple dimensions of your life.

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A third way to go about exploring your own Life Story Genre multiplicity is by simply reviewing one Life Chapter at a time. Sometimes each chapter is a Story in itself, and different Life Chapters may have taken their own forms as one of the three Genres we are exploring this week. Maybe your earliest Life Chapter as a Child was Episodic but your middle years were/are more focused as a Comic Epic Adventure. Maybe one of your chapters was distinctively Tragic but you survived and discovered a pathway to a more positive storyline. (If so was there a meaningful transition between these?)

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So what’s the point of all this complicating what seemed pretty simple at the start of the week? As humans we are Meaning Bearers and Meaning Creators. That is, our lives “Make Sense” because of our sense-making capabilities. If we are not entirely happy with the Story we construe ourselves to be living out right now, we can “switch horses midstream”, if we choose to.  We can look ahead to creating and re-modeling the Story as we choose! We are not locked into any storyline beyond our own control.

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Have you seen the Will Ferrell/ Emma Thompson/ Dustin Hoffman film, “Stranger Than Fiction”? I highly recommend it. A man (Ferrell) living out a fairly dull, overly routinized Life Story as an IRS agent comes to the awareness that he is actually a character in a famous writer’s story! The author (Thompson) always kills off her characters in the end. So an English professor (Hoffman) asks the man to try to determine whether he is the character in a Comedy or a Tragedy. I won’t tell you the ending but suffice to say, there is a definite turnabout needed!

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I Welcome YOUR Comments, Insights and Stories as you reflect upon or entertain these ideas in relation to your own Life Adventure!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Life Lessons: Your Currency for Better Endings

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Let’s focus today’s post on the potential value and benefits for you of Life Mapping.  How can identifying your Life Chapters this week, for instance, help you to achieve your own Better Endings?  Here’s a quick tip:

First, identify  your Life Chapters as phases of your life experience that have occurred BETWEEN your major, critical Turning Points (see Sunday’s post to get there if you haven’t done your Life Chapter mapping yet). 

Now then, I invite you to focus on one Life Chapter at a time, and to ask yourself:

 WHAT LIFE LESSON(S) HAVE I LEARNED FROM MY EXPERIENCE IN THIS LIFE CHAPTER?

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You could simply extend your Life Chapters chart to add the Life Lesson onto the chart for easy reference.

Personal Example:

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Next you might ask yourself, “How have I applied this Life Lesson, or how might I apply this Life Lesson to a decision or to a desirable future transition or Goal?

Personal Example — Life Lessons to Apply:

With retirement goals, listen but be wise about how much to share or  discuss this goal, as some will simply give cautionary advice based on their own considerations; also though, research very carefully every step of the way.

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Reblogged from Ajaytao, July 16, 2014

Please feel welcome to share your Comments and your stories!

Turning Points: Your Chapter Turners

Prescript: I have decided to add a fourth blog post per week. On Thursdays I will post your insights and/or your results from applying life mapping tools. I might also reblog relevant tips or life path affirming stories and ideas.

Here’s an odd idea I woke with today: Earn Life Coins to add to your Life Line every time you do something healthful and positive. The goal: to add more life coins per week than you ‘spend’ on unhealthful actions. After a two week-plus cross-country roadtrip during which my dietary habits suffered some while driving, I’m ready and need to start adding some positive coins to my own Life Line!- L

Turning Points: Your Chapter Turners

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Which situations or events in your life history have been your Turning Points: events of such magnitude that you feel you were a different person before and after each of these events occurred?  That is this week’s focus; to identify your monumental moments.  Now let me add this piece: if you were to rate each of your Turning Points in terms of its relative positive and/or negative impact on your life (say, -5 to +5), what would that be?

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 For example, moving from Buffalo, New York to Phoenix, Arizona for graduate school when I was 24 was a huge event in my life. I would say its impact was mainly positive (+5), but at the same time it required me to leave my family and friends and all I had grown up with to move to what felt like a very foreign world (-3).

This sort of “duality” may be a characteristic feature of Turning Points. Think about one of your own. Would you rate its impact as all positive? All negative? Or both to some degree? Why?

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 I invite you to describe each of your Turning Points in terms of their relative positive and/or negative impact on the person you have become.  I welcome any insights or examples you might wish to share (as Mandi of CagedNoMore did about her artistic Life Themes reflection yesterday; thanks Mandi for sharing and I am glad it helped you put some things into perspective!)

Turning Points—as we will explore a bit later here too—are more than page turners in your life. They bring LIFE CHAPTER changes. So, taking some time to identify these can help you to understand your major shifts. Which ones were by your own choice, or not?

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When I left Buffalo 35 years ago for Arizona, it was such a huge shift apart from everything I had ever known that I troubled over the decision. Every night I would raise an issue about the move in a nightly contemplation, posing questions for inner guidance. And every night I would dream in a way that clearly answered that question. How could I drive my red Buick convertible to Phoenix, for example. Wouldn’t it be too hot? That night I was taken to a rotating hotel restaurant overlooking Phoenix (there really was one at a Ramada Inn, though I hadn’t been there.) I looked down to see almost every car in the parking lot was—you guessed it—red!

Do you have a Turning Point sort of shift or a major decision coming up? What can you do to help yourself go through this most effectively, to help yourself advance to realize your greatest potentials?

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Share your stories if you’d like; I would love to share them.

Better Endings to You! – Linda

At a Crossroads?

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This week’s Better Endings topic is better choices. Choices are opportunities to steer your ship more consciously in the direction of…your choice! They are crossroads, bridges between one state of affairs and potentially another. Therefore our choices are golden keys we can use to open new doors, to enter new vistas of experience and change; or, not.

I love the final scene of Castaway. (Well, okay, that’s after I got over the fact that Chuck had to let go of Kelly; and that she never finished her Ph.D..) After surviving his 5 year ordeal of being marooned and barely surviving, Chuck is shown to be at a literal crossroads along a dusty Western road. He is free–if not in another sense potentially adrift or stranded again–; free to start a new life in any direction he might choose. But then Spirit or the universe offers a sign: the same picture of angel wings that he had used to make the “sail” by means of which he had escaped his captivity on the island. Chuck senses intuitively that this sign indicates the right direction for him to follow, because it reveals synchronicity, events lining up in an unpredictably ‘connected’ way.

This week’s life mapping activity lines up well with our topic of better choices. Among all of the 12 or so significant life events you wrote down last week (or could this week; see last week’s Life Mapping Activity in the Category archives to catch up), some of these influential, shaping moments were more “critical” than others, right? Your Critical Life Events  (CLE’s) are those that have been so extremely impactful in your life that you might feel you were not quite the same person even, before and after that event or situation occurred. Critical events of that magnitude are your life’s Turning Points. They are real chapter turners.

So this week we will focus on Turning Point sorts of opportunities for making “better choices”. How have you typically approached the major choices and transitions in your life? Have some of the most critical events in your life so far felt like they were beyond your own control? How does choice factor in with those circumstances, in retrospect? How much choice do you have, really, in various kinds of situations, and how can you make the very best choices possible so that, now, if you choose!, you can begin to align your choices with your conscious intention to manifest Better Endings?