"Story of My Life"

"Story of My Life"

I recently read something that illuminated a whole new way of thinking about life. While that sounds grandiose at first, allow me to explain just how compelling certain narratives can be in creating a paradigm shift. In fact, if you can think back to a time where you read, heard, or learned something new and you instantly realized that it had slightly yet permanently altered the lens through which you view the world, you've experienced a very similar occasion. Let's see if it happens again after reading this.

It started while reading Donald Miller's "A Million Miles in a Thousand Years," a brilliant short read on (so much more than) one person's journey to discovering and understanding life while finally beginning to live theirs. When the author attends a writer's seminar in the book, the basic structure of a good story is quickly and pithily unveiled: "a character who wants something and overcomes conflict to get it." After learning, or rather realizing, this to be true, the author starts to see his own life through the lens of a story, as well as the possibilities of life in general. This creates an incredible paradigm shift as he begins to examine the things he does, both day-to-day "small" things as well as large actions and commitments, through the lens of story. He realizes throughout the (rather challenging, as life tends to be) journey that he had spent too much time trying to minimize discomfort and not enough jumping into opportunities to give his "character" the kind of story he would be thrilled to have lived.

It can sound entirely rudimentary, I completely understand, but bear with me here. What happens when we look at our lives through the lens of a story? Do our months and years add up to a life that makes us proud of our story? Does it have all the elements of joy, play, romanticism, and triumphs that a great story-turned-movie can easily pull tears of joy from us with? Does the day-to-day reflect the kind of habits and cumulative lifestyle that lead to a character of greatness - great love, great accomplishment, great peace, great joy, great wisdom, great memory?

As soon as I stepped back and looked from the outside in, like a director observing a cast acting out the script, I realized there was much thinking, fearing, planning - but rather little doing. Too little jumping in the deep end, taking chances on myself, smelling the roses, and enjoying each moment. Too much planning about how to enjoy the future instead of living the story of now.

So I share with you, in addition to the ask that you might take a moment to observe your own life through this story lens, a starter list of ways to live and enjoy your story starting right now.

Starter List: 25 Ways to Live and Enjoy the Story of Your Life

  1. Wake up 30 minutes earlier to journal and set an inspiring intention for the day ahead.
  2. Brew your favorite morning beverage, light a candle, and take 10 minutes for meditation or quiet reflection.
  3. Create a "vision board" collage of images, words, and affirmations that capture your dream life.
  4. Plan a picnic or nature walk to disconnect from technology and reconnect with the present moment.
  5. Schedule a "tech-free" hour each day to read, craft, or engage in a hobby that nourishes your soul.
  6. Treat yourself to a luxurious skincare routine, using products that make you feel pampered.
  7. Write a handwritten letter to a loved one, expressing your gratitude for their role in your story.
  8. Cook a nourishing, multi-course meal and savor every bite, giving thanks for the experience.
  9. Rearrange the furniture in a room to breathe new life into your living space.
  10. Sign up for a class or workshop to expand your skills and open up new possibilities.
  11. Plan a solo "date night" complete with your favorite takeout, a beloved film, and a lavender-scented candle.
  12. Go through your closet and donate items that no longer serve you, making space for the new.
  13. Create a playlist of "power songs" to boost your mood and confidence whenever you need it.
  14. Write yourself a letter from the perspective of your future self, offering encouragement and wisdom.
  15. Spend an afternoon exploring a new neighborhood or hiking a scenic trail.
  16. Host a "vision party" with close friends to share goals and support each other's dreams.
  17. Start a gratitude journal, recording 3-5 things you're thankful for each day.
  18. Treat yourself to a luxurious bath ritual, complete with Epsom salts and a soothing room spray.
  19. Plan a weekend getaway or "staycation" to rest, recharge, and reconnect with yourself.
  20. Set a recurring calendar reminder to review your life goals and adjust your priorities as needed.
  21. Volunteer your time or talents to a cause you care about, expanding your sense of purpose.
  22. Declutter and organize a space in your home that's been bothering you.
  23. Schedule regular self-care check-ins, whether it's a monthly massage or weekly hike.
  24. Experiment with a new hobby or creative pursuit that sparks joy and curiosity.
  25. Before bed, reflect on one thing that went well today and celebrate that small victory.

See if you can add 25 of your own points to the list and read it daily or weekly to remember what you can do/want to do to help your story come alive. Share them with as many people as possible and help other characters overcome conflict to get what they want.

Evoke your best epoch, with Ephoque. 

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