Write a Good Story
It's been said that all we have is our story. Let's make it a good one.
When my wife and I were having an intense conversation last week, it became apparent that our issue was confusion over the story we were writing for this coming year. Would it be a year of reigning in spending, increasing savings and ultimately working for the house of our dreams? Or, would it be a year of exploration, adventure, experiences and memories made to tell and retell? A year of choosing where we are AND exploring beyond our comfort zones. My words and good intentions may have supported the former narrative, but my actions clearly indicated the latter to be my desire and my goal. By the end of that conversation, we were on the same page.
Really, what we both want for this year is to write a good story.
Now, these two outcomes aren't mutually exclusive, but the way we're framing our life and our story is CRUCIAL. Sometimes the FRAMING of the narrative affects everything within the story. For example...
If I begin to feel "stuck" in my life, I might choose to believe the narrative I'm writing is one called "Maintenance." Maintaining is an uninspiring narrative for me. Maintaining feels drab, dusty and dull. Maybe it has some degree of truth, but I will not be able to "maintain" for long. Instead, the narratives of creation, or adventure, or cultivation have a lot more weight to carry for me. Framing my story as one of the above can energize my actions, focus me on the work set before me and help me enjoy what is. Framing is not the only issue, however, there is also the nature of WHAT we write.
In the book of life, our REAL LIVES create our stories. While these involve two narratives, our inner story, and our outer story, they are best lived in a congruent manner. What choices am I making? What have I actually done? Not what have I intended to do, but what has actually been accomplished. I used to spend a lot of time imagining what kind of life I might live, the places I could go, the things I should do... All this was wasted energy. Imagination wasn't the problem, inaction was. I couldn't see how my excuses kept me off the hook from actually living my life to the fullest. I didn't see how I was missing the joy, the beauty, the meaning, the moment... All of it was there and immediately available to me, but I was distant and disengaged. I'm learning to be ALL-IN, fully present in the moment and creating in this unfolding space/time called "NOW."
Where our choices and framing meet is in creating a larger story in which to live. Choosing the greater narrative shapes not only how I feel, but what choices I make in the present. What role am I playing in my life? Am I living the quest I outlined for myself, or am I writing a smaller story that seems merely manageable? If we're feeling trapped in our lives, what we're more likely trapped in is the story we're currently writing. To bring together the writing and living portions, here's something I wrote a few months ago:
"Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing,"
I find an AND is helpful here and OR is quite confining.
We have many people living large without reflection,
and others writing constantly not making a connection.
The art of integration, living life as a both/and,
is my deepest heart's desire, so it's what I've planned.
I thank my friend, Ben Franklin, for his dare and invitation,
and challenge you to live a life of unhindered creation.
Craft a purpose and intention so huge you have to write it down,
and then take off, unleash yourself, go on and hit the town.
Remember that it's you who choose just how and who you'll be,
don't look at chains of circumstance, for truly you are free!
Write today like you are crafting stories for the world,
then let each breath and action be paragraphs you've unfurled.
No step is too big or small, but go, my friend, "live large";
own your choices, write your story, joyfully take charge.
I can't wait to see and read what's written and what's done,
to treasure your life legacy of courage, joy and fun. It's been said that all we have is our story. Let's make it a good one. Writing the story of your life IS a Great Adventure. It involves giving intentional thought to the shape and direction and then LIVING it!
Here's to living a good story,