With New Eyes, or Look Again!  The Value of Creative Re-Visioning

[First this week, THANK YOU to all of you who have been following and especially for those registering your ‘Likes’ for recent posts.-Linda]

Writing and particularly for me, journal writing, has been a lifelong refuge and treasure.  I kept as many as four journals going at a time through my college years, and I have kept a dream journal as well as a writing journal active for over 50 years.  Early on, I addressed my journal Itself as a Friend (Dear Friend would start my entries).  It is this long practice of journaling that has sustained my lifelong interest in writing and has led to several academic journal articles and to date, four published books (the first two academic and the last two, mainstream).  


My just released Better Endings: A Guidebook for Creative Re-Visioning (Central Park South Publishing) includes journaling pages so that you, too, as the reader can engage with the magical art of journaling that can open new doors of self-discovery, insight, and future envisioning.  The journaling prompts, included blank journaling pages,  and chapter topics presented in Better Endings truly can guide you to explore and reflect upon key values and events of your own Life Story: past, current and to come.

I have personally ‘beta tested’ every theme and journaling excursion offered with the Better Endings chapters.  Part One introduces topics that let you have fun practicing creative re-visioning with movies, fiction, and historical events.  You will get to write your own ‘better endings’ for movies or stories whose endings you have always disliked and to reflect upon what it is about these stories that lead you personally to want to rewrite these conclusions.  This is not at all about improving upon the screenplay or writing but about developing your own sense of ‘creative license’ to re-envision (or re-view) any story to explore its open possibilities.  If you can practice re-visioning a fictional story or an historical event, so too can you look at your own life story events (past, current and to come) with this same creative license, allowing you to imagine and mindfully explore your own open possibilities! After all, you are the composer, editor and key actor in your own Life Story.  In fact, that is what Part Two is all about.

Part Two gives you, the reader/ journal writer of Better Endings, the freedom to reclaim your own creative license; to re-vision and flexibly reflect upon the ‘shaping events’ or Turning Points of your own Life Path. Topics include:  What If?, Second Chances,  Silver Linings, Loss and Recovery, Big Moves, and Your Best is Yet to Come.

The value of creative re-visioning and journaling your reflections is that it opens your intuitive awareness. It can help you arrive at a sense of more meaningful closure and purpose with regard to your significant life events, situations or relationships, so you may approach new choices with greater understanding and clarity of intention.

Better endings are not necessarily happier ones, but they can lead to New Beginnings!

images are from pixapbay.com

If you would like to explore these themes in your own life, pick up a copy of Better Endings: A Guidebook for Creative Re-Visioning.  (You can click on the embedded links here or on the right panel cover image to be routed to Amazon, or you could order through Barnes & Noble or any other major retailer site.) It is available as an eBook (but if you choose this, please do create your own Better Endings Journal and do the journaling), or as a softbound or hardcover version. I welcome all reviews, comments, and questions!

Defending Your Life :  Mid-Life Review for Better Endings

One of my favorite movies is Defending Your Life, about the between-lifetime adventures of Daniel Miller (Albert Brooks) and Julia (Meryl Streep).  Daniel and Julia are recently departed Souls whose lives are on trial to determine whether they get to “move on” or must to return to Earth to make more progress on their life goals and challenges.  They meet and fall in love in Judgement City, a way station between lives where their trials are held.

Rip Torn plays Bob Diamond, the lawyer for Daniel, whose case is much less likely to succeed than that of Julia, a brave and virtuous heroine by all accounts.  Daniel is judged as having been too fearful and risk-aversive, based on scenes from his life shown in the courtroom.  Rip Torn tries to defend or apologize for some of the less stellar episodes from Daniel’s life, but he is clearly aware the verdict is going to go against Daniel. So, near the end (I will not spoil the twist ending; worth seeing!), Julia is moving on and up, but Daniel boards a bus taking Souls back to Earth to be reincarnated, to hopefully recognize and learn their lessons better the next time around.

There is also an excellent non-fiction book on the same theme: The Journey of Souls, by Dr. Michael Newton.  Newton interviewed over a hundred people while they were under hypnosis, not about ‘past lives’ but rather about between incarnations. He discovered a high degree of intersubjective agreement among these many people’s accounts; they provided very similar descriptions! Among other shared factors, they talked about undergoing a life review process to determine how far they had come during their last lifetime toward fulfilling certain goals or learning particular lessons. Here is the intersection with the film, Defending Your Life.

Honestly this film and book have long been part of my background motivation for writing Your Life Path (2018) and my soon to be released simpler and I think the reader will find more fun and creative journaling sandbox: Better Endings: A Guidebook for Creative Re-Visioning. My thought is, why wait til after or between lives—or later in THIS life, no matter your beliefs!—to find out how you are doing with your deepest life mission and goals. It can be very illuminating to step back and do some basic contemplative or journaling life reflection, here and now, to take stock and maybe consider some basic or highly desirable mid-life corrections you might want to make, before ‘moving on,’ in THIS life!

Images are from pixabay.com

Better Endings Story Seed:

Defending Your Life (to Now)

Imagine (playfully) that you have passed Beyond; just temporarily, let’s say.  You find yourself in Judgement City, where a lawyer defends your case for ‘moving on’ in a courtroom with a judge and several wise-appearing jurors looking on. Your lawyer and a prosecuting lawyer against your transcending show some brief clips from your life to emphasize why you should return for another life to work on unfinished lessons, or to show how you have fulfilled your purpose and are ready to ‘move on’.

List 3-5 of your life events the lawyers might show in these clips, including at least one from both positive and less positive moments.  What lesson or lessons are you still working on? Where to from here then,
to fulfill your life’s mission or goals?

Map Your Relationships

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Life Mapping lets you review the trends and potentialities of each of your Life Themes within the epic adventure of your lifetime! This year at Better Endings for Your Life Path we are exploring one Life Theme per month (see monthly topics) by using and reflecting on life mapping techniques; for February we are focusing on Relationships.

Many life mappers identify Relationships as a primary Life Theme, either directly or according to sub-themes like Family, Romance, Pets, and/or Friends.  I would like to invite you to choose one or more of these topics to map across your life course. If you choose more than one, then I would ask you to color code the events you will map for each Theme you are exploring.

The basic technique of life mapping which I will be presenting fully with my upcoming book, YOUR LIFE PATH (see right panel!), invites you to first make a list of Significant Life Events pertaining to your Theme(s), then plot their relative impact on shaping “the person you have become.”

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First then, make a list of events or situations involving key relationships in your life. You can make separate lists if you are exploring more than one Relationship theme, like one list for Romantic relationships and a separate list for Family or for Friends events (or do one at a time). Keep a wide left margin on your page. Let this be a list of events or situations that have influenced you in significant ways. You can start with the earliest or with the most impactful life experience involving this Theme, then feel free to recall earlier or later events freely (you will order these chronologically later).

After you have a list of key events, in the wide left margin next to each event, note the age you were when this occurred (either a single date or a time frame). Then ask yourself, “How has this event or situation impacted the person I have become?” RATE the event or situation relative to the time frame when it occurred, from -5 to +5, where -5 is extremely negative and +5 is extremely positive. Note that you could rate the same event as both Plus and Minus in its impact, such as -3/+5 if you recognize the event has had both a negative as well as a distinctively positive impact on your life for one reason or another.

Now then, you can use the Life Map chart below to simply PLOT the impact scores you have used to rate the relative positive and/or negative influence of each event in your list. Use a pencil (you can copy this post and enlarge the chart or make your own separately) to put a dot or an x along the time line , marking onto the 0 to +5 or 0 to -5 lines to represent your events. Plot these impacts according to the relative age you were when they occurred. You can write your Age for each event along the center, neutral Age Line.

You can “connect the dots” of your plotted events on the chart to reveal trends or PATTERNS of how this Theme has unfolded in your life.  Connect two plotted events especially if they seem somehow connected to you as forming a trend, like if you went from a negative experience to a positive one, or if a series of events were all negative or all positive (or neutral = ) on the chart).

It can help to draw a vertical hash-marked or dotted line where the event you have plotted is so significant that you may feel you were “a different person” before and after this event occurred. (These are your Critical Life Events or Turning Points.)

If you want to map more than one relationship sub-theme, repeat the above steps for each Theme you are interested in exploring.

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images are from pixabay.com

After plotting your Map, review it. Journal or contemplate (or both) or talk with a loved one about the PATTERNS you observe in this Theme. If you have mapped multiple Themes, do you notice differences in the patterning of each of these as they have interwoven within the fabric of your Life Story?

I welcome YOUR Comments and Story!

Digging Out

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“The unexamined life is not worth living.” (Socrates)

I am in a reflective mood this November, month of the DESCENDER Archetype.  I am contemplating the last 24 year period of my life (two twelve year cycles).

It has not been all roses, yet it has been lesson bearing, gradually progressive and illuminating in many respects.

How much to share? (This piece derives from a journaling exploration rather than being a direct blog post per se, so I will cull from the larger journaling reflections to share what I can).

I encourage you to similarly “sink into reflection” this month, to ALLOW your Descender to show you a way to DIG OUT from encrusted patterns or routines.

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Many Good Times

With the freedom I have had at work and in my personal life as a single professional, writer, cleric, sister/daughter, and friend/ pet companion, I have accomplished much of what I have set my goals to manifest. I truly am Living My Dream, Now! in the process of preparing my book for the public, a work of love (Your Life Path), finally for publication. I realize that Living Your Dream IS a PROCESS, not a single snapshot sort of destination. I have been able to do this “my way” in most respects, so I am deeply grateful for the freedom and for the inspiration of those who most understand and have supported my work and feelings through the years.

Some Not So Good Times

I have no regrets though a deep sadness regarding relationships that have not been sustained over time. Loss has affected me more deeply than I outwardly acknowledge, and physical ailments are beginning to crop up that reflect my submerged feelings. Stress is a byproduct of living in this day and age, it seems, though I am grateful for spiritual practices and inner spiritual guidance I have been fortunate to have learned  to tune into and receive that have sustained my optimism despite necessary setbacks along the way.

Abundant Life Lessons

My life has been Sooo rich and abundant in lessons: daily, over time, and in the Moment. While developing a self-discovery, personal growth program (to be shared soon with the upcoming book), I have piloted first for myself every self-help technique or Tool that I will share there, so I have benefitted greatly every step of the way.

I have gained many life Lessons about service. Leadership does not come without personality conflicts and sometimes having to take steps I would personally rather not have to have taken that have affected other peoples’ lives. But I have been learning about the Law of Balance and about the importance of Patience and Detachment.

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COMING FULL CIRCLE

As I prepare to shift soon away from my professional academic job into a sabbatical this Spring and then “retirement” (read, graduation from Academe!) just one year later, I feel excited and am ready to launch a promotion campaign for the book and initiate a next Life Chapter as an author and workshop presenter, and to return to my Home base nearer my family to live in a lovely lakeside community.

It seems most of the big shifts throughout my life have come with “Crossing the Great Waters” or relocating. This goes back to early family life as my father relocated many times from job transfers. I guess I learned then that growth comes with change. I learned as a youth to anticipate a Big Move by reflecting on current conditions and planning positive change to implement with the move; so, this truly does represent one more stage of Coming Full Circle.

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images are from pixabay.com

I am grateful for ALL, and TO all who have been friends and family and coworkers along the way. Life EXPANDS as we do in states of consciousness, so I welcome this expansion and wish everyone else the same freedom, sense of responsibility, and love as I have been blessed to enjoy.

What is Your Purpose Here? The Road of the Idealist

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This week is for Practice. I’m simply going to present you with some contemplation or journaling prompts to help you bring together your Idealist outlook with the metaphor of Life as a Long and Winding Road. This time, while I am definitely journaling about and contemplating these questions myself, I will not be sharing my personal responses here.

I encourage you to reflect this week on three sets of questions:

Sunday: Where are you now in relation to fulfilling your ideals?

Tuesday: Where are you going in order to fulfill your Ideal Vision?

Friday: How are you going to get there/ manifest your Ideal conditions and values?

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So, for Sunday/ Monday, I invite you to gently consider:

Where are you now in relation to fulfilling your Ideals?

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  • What are your highest Ideal values and goals?

 

 

  • Where are you at now in relation to achieving those ideals? 

 

 

 

  • How do you manifest (which of your) ideals daily?

 

 

 

  • In what ways do you fall short of fully realizing your ideals in the present?

 

 

 

 

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 Allow me to add one question that comes from my dream this Sunday morning. I  was teaching to a large group of persons. I asked first one student, who spoke beautifully, and then I addressed the same question to the whole class:

“What is your purpose here? Not, ‘what is your purpose HERE? But, ‘What is your PURPOSE here?”

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I welcome all of your insights and stories.