What’s your life’s story going to be? I’m reading a book by Donald Miller called A Million Miles in A Thousand Years where Miller re-writes his own life, edits it actually, for adaptation to a screenplay.
Given the chance, would you perform a re-write? I’m not finished with the book, but the question I am asking myself alongside Miller is why not go ahead and re-write it for the better now…why not move forward with a better ending? Miller’s research shows that a quality storyline is one where the character overcomes adversity giving the audience something to cheer about.
If you could tell your story of life, what would you say? Would your screenplay be worth watching? What would the critics say? It’s YOUR life; it’s your story you can make it anything imaginable, right?
If your home or work life is riddled with mediocrity or unhappiness why not write a new ending to the next 90 days for starters? I’m not talking about a bucket list containing things like “one day I will skydive” or “travel to India,” I’m talking about an action plan of HOW you’re going to change your story. Life it seems is more easily measured by words and actions than thoughts or feelings (or bucket lists) anyway.
Putting a new story in motion might require creating a new character or a modification to the old one. I didn’t realize there was such a difference, but now I do. The difference is in putting the story in motion as opposed to fantasizing on paper; fantasy turns into longing which eventually turns into craving something you don’t have or have not yet done.
For instance, I spoke with a friend going through a bizarre separation we resolved that “if your Holiday’s are going to suck this year, why not re-write what your Holiday looks like?”
Instead of dreading being alone or anticipating all the emotions that time of year can bring, moreover what this particular year will bring, volunteer at a soup kitchen or work part time at a Christmas tree lot. Make new traditions, find even one thing to move you out of your normal patterns or traditions; start your re-write one paragraph at a time.
But where does one begin? I learned the true meaning of a new word at my recent meditation retreat, equanimous (the word in its adjective form) or in its common form as a noun, equanimity. Equanimity by Webster’s means evenness of mind especially under stress, right disposition, balance…all great concepts, but I learned a richer, more personal definition to mean the place BETWEEN craving and aversion; between longing and avoidance. This is the only place you can begin to re-write your story.
In my friend’s case, it’s more appropriately described as a way of not only tolerating but accepting things as they are in this moment and not yearning for her story to read differently but making it read differently. This is her time to write a story that that begins from that particular place of balance; that place where longing and loathing make way for equanimity.
Re-writing may seem like avoidance but it’s more about creating a “now” that serves as a zone between the way things used to be and the way they will be in the future. This is the place from which the character creates her fresh reality; her enhanced plot, her happily ever after…at least a happily ever after for today, tomorrow you can re-write from that point and the day after, yep, you can start again. It’s your movie; take it out of the documentary drama category and remake it into action adventure.