Day 8 of 40 Days of Story: Who do you want to become on the journey?

You want something. And you want something even more.


In story structure our hero has a problem to solve, a desire to chase. It’s her/his external quest. But in that process there emerges an internal quest. The hero desires something deeper–ultimately needs to become something more.


One of my favorite features of story is that it calls out longings. It helps us see and name desires and dreams. And ultimately it’s not story if it’s not transformation.


Once again: Conflict drives a story. Desire defines it.


So here’s today’s question: Who do you want to become on this journey? How do you want to change and grow in this season?


I know. These questions can feel epic…and ethereal. But I’d encourage you to get really practical and hopeful. So, to get what you want in this season what will it ask of you? More courage? More patience? More vulnerability? More forgiveness? More joy?


What is that one thing you need more of…the one trait that you get to become more of?


As we go through this process we will talk extensively about the role of the Guide in story structure. But it’s worth noting it here. I don’t believe we become more–achieve this internal quest–on our own.


There are a thousand guides we can rally on our journey, but for me two have been the most profound. God–the Divine Ground of Being and Source of Love–not only guides me on the path of becoming but gives me the very grace to desire more and the power/love to become more. And secondly, I’ve needed trusted friends as guides. Their embrace of who I am now and their belief in who I can become keeps me moving.


More and more I believe: Community builds capacity.


So, consider your one trait you want to grow into in this season. Who do you get to become? And then, who can help you on this journey of becoming?


I leave you with the words of another guide of mine:


To Come Home to Yourself by John O’Donohue

May all that is unforgiven in you

be released


May your fears yield

Their deepest tranquilities


May all that is unlived in you

Blossom into a future

Graced with love.


Amen and amen. May it be so. And as always, I’d love to hear about it.

Day 7 of 40 Days of Story: Can you see what you want?

You want something. You know you do.


Today’s story question is about your External Quest in this season. Can you name what you want and turn it into a concrete goal?


It must be so clear that if we saw you on the big screen chase it and achieve it, we’d know our hero had won.


So, the exercise is to name it and spend a few minutes visualizing it. Imagine it with all your senses. And do share.

Day 6 of 40 Days of Story: What is calling you out of your Status Quo?

All great stories start with disruption…including yours. What’s calling you out of your status quo?


Stories start with upturn–disruption is built into its very design. In story structure it’s called the inciting incident. Something happens to our dear protagonist to shake up the status quo. Suddenly life as he or she has known it is no longer possible.


Now our story gets going. Our main character is off on a quest to try to gain a new equilibrium. There’s something he or she wants or needs and must go and get it.


In the movies this disruption comes from an outside force. And in real life it usually does too. It takes a divorce, a job loss, an illness to shake up our own status quo. But on occasion disruption doesn’t have to entail external drama. It can be a tiny stirring for more that we let grow large.


If you have a stirring for more pay attention. If you have an external disruption don’t let that be wasted.


Yesterday I shared with you about one of my favorite status quo seasons: life in Colorado. Yet, disruption came. It came in the form of a job loss. The division I worked for couldn’t make their business model work and my new story started with a layoff. I was in shock.


Then disruption did its magic. It thrust me on a quest I would have never pursued on my own. This quest has entailed setting off to Cuba to direct a documentary series; journeying through the Middle East and Europe to interview refugees; shoving my belongings in storage for almost four years; living off of savings until savings were no more; co-founding two companies and I’m still in the midst of upturn. I remain unsure how this story will play out…how a new equilibrium will be established. But I can’t resist being thankful for the loss of status quo.


So friends, what is calling you out of your status quo? As I said: If you have a stirring for more pay attention. If you have an external disruption don’t let that be wasted.


I look forward to hearing.


Day 5 of 40 Days of Story: What’s Your Status Quo?

Today we take a couple of minutes to name our reality.


In story, we first see our protagonist in what is called stasis, his/her status quo. It’s the reality that the protagonist lives in before the quest begins.


The reality has its good and bad qualities. The main thing is that the protagonist can survive in it without being changed…without experiencing great disruption.


So, here’s your question–and I know it can feel like a BIG one but I believe you can do this—what’s the reality you’re living in that doesn’t require you to change?


Can you name the good and the bad in your world that defines your status quo?


I encourage you to do this with curiosity, courage and candor.


I can’t resist telling you about one of my favorite status quo realities. Several years ago I moved to Colorado. Fort Collins swiftly became one of my favorite places on the planet—almost immediately my body, mind and spirit swiftly sank into a sense of home. I relished my community. I loved my work. And I got to hike several times a week…pure bliss! The beauty and grandeur of the mountains recalibrated my soul, which I had been desperate for. I had moved to Colorado after spending a year-and-a-half producing a series on sex-trafficking, so this place became my soft-landing and healing ground. I thought I would live there for decades.


In the midst of that gorgeous status quo there were also other realities. I loved my job, but there wasn’t room for growth. And I so enjoyed the other parts of my life I didn’t feel compelled to put much energy and time into dating…though I longed for relationship. So it was a really beautiful status quo…but it didn’t require me to stretch or grow or be that uncomfortable in it.


So, what’s your status quo?


Remember: there is great power in naming reality. And if you dare, I’d love to hear about it.

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