As a writer I know the importance of looking over my manuscript, editing it, choosing better words, phrases, metaphors and even rewriting the plot, the characters, the arc of the story. I believe the same can be said about living in the real world since I believe every person’s life is like a novel. Some are thrillers, comedies, great works of literature with great events rooted in a historical context. Some tell tales of tragedy and drama, others are less burdened with pain. For all of us the stories of our lives are being told every day. We have the opportunity to change the course of the narrative, or if we remain unconscious about how we have written our story, we are captured by events rather than make choices that direct the arc in a positive direction. What I’m saying is we have the power to rewrite our story, plot lines we may have internalized at some earlier time. When Paul Simon sings “I’m working on a rewrite” he is telling us he’s doing something to change the course of his life.
When you rewrite the story of your life it’s important to notice the original inputs.
Did you receive negative messages from parents or other grownups? Did you have siblings that you either parented or who parented you because your own parents were not available? Did you live through a time of turmoil or trauma? Was war, depression, political upheaval in your background? Did you have an illness or disability that made your childhood either emotionally and/or physically challenging? Did your family stay together and was it a loving family or did you experience the dislocation that comes with divorce, death of a parent(s) and were you raised by persons other than your biological parents? And, what was the quality of that parenting? These events–as well as others– are the early drafts of your narrative.
To create a rewrite consider the following? 1. What were the messages your caretakers gave you about how to be in the world? 2. What events stand out as crucial to the story? 3. How did you react to the events? 4. What conclusions about yourself and others did you come to? 5. How did the events of your childhood lead you to a career, a life partner, the choice of where to live, the people you surround yourself with? 6. Did you repeat parental behaviors (divorce, illness, self-care, serving in the armed forces, choice of profession)? 7. Did the early narrative lead you to become adventurous, withdrawn, fearful, courageous, reckless, loving, or bland? Now look at your early draft and decide how you want to change your story. Share your early draft of your proposed rewrite with us. If you develop writer’s block and you’re having trouble figuring out the direction to go in ask Dr. Ike and he’ll help you with it. As always music about the topic is welcome.
We start off our musical set with the following: