In my last blog post I discussed how to borrow from your life to create a story. In this blog post, I want to talk about how to borrow from your stories to create a life.
A decade ago, I bought my first video camera. Instead of a Christmas newsletter that year, I made a disc with a 2-minute montage of the year's footage set to a Christmas song. It was a big year that included the birth of my daughter and a trip to Tonga. Ten video Christmas cards later, I have every big event during my daughter’s life, in a 27-minute film.
For the first couple of years, I just pulled out highlights from our family life and put them in the video after the fact. Now I imagine the video long before the year begins; I mentally story board how my year will look. I want spectacular scenery, which calls for a trip to someplace wonderful. I want the entire year to be represented, which means we need to make it a point to get out to events in every season. I dream, I plan, I fill my calendar with penciled in possibilities, and I live more intentionally.
In her book, Write it Down, Make it Happen, Henriette Anne Klauser compares writing goals to buying a blue Honda. Once you own a blue Honda, you start noticing all the blue Hondas that are on the road. Writing down goals or detailed stories about what your life could be, making mind maps or vision boards are all ways to open your eyes to opportunities that you hadn’t noticed before. All it takes is a pencil, piece of paper, and a little imagination.
Affirmations are another way to tell yourself a story that you then make come true. I wrote, “I love my job,” before I even got the interview at the Academy for the Blind. I’ve taught there for a semester now and (no big surprise) I love it!
It’s not magic. It’s mindset. When I say out loud, “I have such a great life!” or “I can do this,” I notice an immediate change in my body. I feel happier and more in control. Conversely, when I say, “You are making me crazy!” or “I’m never going to finish this project!” I can feel my blood pressure rising.
Making your dreams known can increase opportunities. Your friends will only tell you about a job opportunity or big guitar sale if they know you'd be interested in hearing about it. Several weeks ago I wrote on Facebook that I'd been wanting to go to St. Augustine, Florida. A friend read my post and invited my family to take a trip with hers. Short story short: this was the view from our hotel room last week.
Words have changed the course of human history; why not change the course of your own life for the better through writing.