Monday, October 02, 2006

Stories We Write, Roles We Play

What story are you telling with your life? What roles have you decided to play in your own life story? What roles are you playing in the life stories of others? Are they still working for you?

Maybe you signed on to play the lonely spouse or the victim. Or maybe you took on the role of the one who always screws up, or the one who always loses, or the one who never gets the girl, or the one who never feels good enough no matter how outstanding her performance may be. Is that still working for you? Or have you outgrown those roles, and your story line is due for a change?

Maybe there are stories in which you will always play some part. You share some kind of life-long bond with that storyteller, perhaps as co-parents or in some blood relationship. But if the events of that story deplete your life force and detract from your health, joy, satisfaction or success, perhaps it's best to play only bit parts in that particular story.

My life story began as a horror story. The first few years of my life were spent navigating dangerous territory, both physically and emotionally. The next thirty years were spent surviving. Yes, I was a survivor. But that was a deeply dissatisfying place to be. Try being passionate and expressive, but locking that up inside because you think you have to fit into the roles others have written for you.

It wasn't until I experienced an emotional "rock bottom" that I was able to move past survival. I was so done with surviving. It was such a bland existence, and I craved flavor and texture and color, fragrance and harmony and delight. I decided at that point that I wasn't going to survive any longer. It had to end right there and then. A part of me died there, but in the end, Life won. Love revived all that was real and genuine and loving. I didn't lose anything worth keeping.

I am still learning to flesh out my decision to live the fullest, most joyful, most passionate and adventurous life possible, and part of that is re-writing my life story as an adventure/inspiration/romance/comedy. Some of the roles I once played no longer fit my story line. I gave most of them up. Some of the people who played supporting roles in my story of tragedy and pain were out of place in my passionate, joyful version. I let go of the ones I could and relegated most of the others to bit parts. I still have some editing to do.

What about your life story? Are changes needed in your story line? Are there characters you need to write out of your story or relegate to smaller roles? Are there stories you need to be recast in or written out of because you no longer fit the roles those storytellers have created for you? It's your life. It's your story. It's your choice. Make it.

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