Make Choices & Shape Your Life’s Story [The Twelve Days of #QUEST2015 Day 8]

shape your life consciously

If you knew that your life’s story would be written based upon your choices and actions in 2015, how would you live?

The eighth prompt for reflection in Quest 2015 comes from Todd Henry*.

It is so easy to live life on autopilot, going through the things you have always done and letting life hustle you along a well-trodden generic path. Living with intention and making unusual choices based on personal goals is much harder.

If I knew my life’s story would be written based on the way I live in 2015, I would live with attention on following my daimon and letting it draw me deep into the work that it has been calling me to for as long as I can remember.

“Each life is formed by its unique image, an image that is the essence of that life and calls it to a destiny. As the force of fate, this image acts as a personal daimon, an accompanying guide who remembers your calling.

The daimon motivates. It protects. It invents and persists with stubborn fidelity. It resists compromising reasonableness and often forces deviance and oddity upon its keeper, especially when neglected or opposed. It offers comfort and can pull you into its shell, but it cannot abide innocence. It can make the body ill. It is out of step with time, finding all sorts of faults, gaps, and knots in the flow of life – and it prefers them. It has affinities with myth, since it is itself a mythical being and thinks in mythical patterns.

It has much to do with feelings of uniqueness, of grandeur and with the restlessness of the heart, its impatience, its dissatisfaction, its yearning. It needs its share of beauty. It wants to be seen, witnessed, accorded recognition, particularly by the person who is its caretaker. Metaphoric images are its first unlearned language, which provides the poetic basis of mind, making possible communication between all people and all things by means of metaphors”
― James Hillman, The Soul’s Code: In Search of Character and Calling

My call to deep work joining beauty, goodness, and truth into individual lives of meaning is both a personal call to how I live my life and the foundation of my work as an artist and a creativity and life coach.

I must remember to dedicate each day of my life to the embrace of the unique, internally experienced world of each human being, systems of social justice, and scientifically verifiable understandings of the world. Any approach to life that denies one or more of these aspects of the world is insufficient for understanding.

I must not fritter away my time. I must create downtime that is truly renewing and allows me to dive deep and work hard. I must create structures for my life that provide space and time for parenting, self-care, writing, and coaching.

I must dig deep. I must not shy away from the work when it gets hard. I must surround myself with people who understand and appreciate who I am and what I am doing.

I must forgive myself my imperfections and not let them get in the way of my continuing to push forward.

I must remember that truth and goodness without beauty are not enough for my soul and that without beauty, the energy I have to contribute to truth and goodness withers.

There will be opportunities every day to make choices, small or large, that have an impact of whether my life is following the drives that are an innate part of my being or whether I am resisting out of fear or cultural programming.

Making choices that shape my life’s story into a story I am proud of will require me to live with awareness and be willing to stand apart from others, to speak the truth as I see it, to claim my time as I need it, and to disappoint and offend those who would prefer me to make other choices.

It is not the easy path, but it is the path I must walk if I wish to live authentically and whole-heartedly.

*TODD HENRY is a foremost voice and authority on how teams and individuals can execute brilliant ideas every day. CEO of Accidental Creative and author of the books The Accidental Creative: How to Be Brilliant at a Moment’s Notice and Die Empty: Unleash Your Best Work Every Day, Todd travels the globe like a creative arms dealer to equip people and companies with the right systems and habits that lead to everyday brilliance. 

Rise of the Guardians and the Power of Being Seen

WinterFamily

I took the kids to see Rise of the Guardians this week. One of our local theatres has been having cheap matinees for the kids during March break, so I took them. We don’t usually spend the money to see movies in the theatre, and it isn’t on Netflix yet, so it was the first viewing for all of us.

For those of you who haven’t seen the movie, it is about Jack Frost teaming up with Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, the Sandman, and the Tooth Fairy to battle the Boogey Man. The battle is fought through children: to exist powerfully, these figures must convince children to believe in them.

The heart of the story is Jack Frost’s desire to be seen. The children of the world don’t believe in him and can’t see him.

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How many of us just want to be seen? As ourselves, in all our glory, without judgment?

One of the greatest gifts InterPlay has to offer is the witness.

Telling a story or dancing with a witness in InterPlay is a profound experience for many people.

Using one of the forms, a player speaks or moves in their own space. Although they are allowed to treat the witness as an audience, this is a choice. It is completely acceptable not to acknowledge the witness during the form.

The witness observes.

The witness observes not only the speaker, but also their own experience. After the piece is complete, there is a moment for both parties to have their experience without speaking about it. When the witness does respond to the piece aloud, he focuses on the good and on his own experience.

Focusing on the good stuff creates a supportive and safe environment. By remaining grounded in his own experience, the witness creates space for the piece and the player to remain separate. The witness is not speaking about the player, so he cannot judge the player and the player’s whole experience is allowed to exist completely without conditions. Ironically, by focusing on his own experience, the witness gives the player an experience of having been seen.

I don’t understand exactly how it works. I only know it does.

And being seen an accepted as a whole, in all your glory, messy and marvelous, is a gift that most human beings need more of.

Not having to hide is rare and beautiful.

But more, there is a lasting magic. After being seen fully many times in InterPlay classes, people find themselves showing up more fully in the rest of their lives, and that is a path to joy.

For those who are local to me and interested, in addition to my regular monthly InterPlay class, I have an InterPlay for writers workshop starting at the end of the month: Words in Motion.

Do You Notice the Good Stuff?

Human beings are wired to notice the bad stuff in life. In fact, we are so good at noticing the bad stuff that we sometimes miss the good stuff.

And, most of the time, there are good things and bad things going on at the same time. By choosing to notice and affirm the good things, we can train our brains to bring those things to awareness rather than letting them slip past unnoticed.

Stop and Smell the Flowers

The Big Bad Wolf won't get you for looking at the flowers. It's straying off the path without noticing the big teeth that gets you.

This morning, the kids were late for school. It was the first day that was cold enough for hats and gloves, and the kids decided they needed scarves, too. Eventually, one was ready and I went outside to encourage him into the car. In a moment of inspiration, I realized I had time to snap a photo of him because we were still waiting for the child inside. But, my intended model was my camera-shy child and I was not sneaky enough.

So, I ended up with this:

And the child is...where?

The beauty of the morning sunbeams caught by my camera took my breath away for a moment. I looked up and noticed this:

Good Morning, Sunshine!!!

And, we were still late for school, but I was less stressed.

And that, my friends, is the power of noticing the good stuff.

Do you notice the good stuff? Or does the rough stuff get in the way?