Our story forms the core of who we are and how we express ourselves. It is what makes us unique. While I was in yoga today, the yoga instructor told us that it was her 5th anniversary of moving to LA. She described how she came here 5 years ago on a plane with her mom and 9 suitcases. It was right after Hurricane Katrina. I was enthralled by her story after hearing just a few words. Our story can tell others so much about us.
I believe we are all storytellers because we all have a story. The strength and power of our words can leave a lasting impression. Learning how to tell our story in a way that resonates can lead to tremendous success in any given field. It can stop isolation and connect us to one another. If you are able to access your story without shame and reveal it in all its authenticity while adding fiction to it as a way to mask some of its origin, you will discover that your story can be your gold.
How do we learn to access our core? Start by thinking about the most pivotal life moments you've gone through. Be willing to dig into these moments without fear. After working with writers for 15 years, I designed an exercise I call "Log Line For Your Life." A log line is a summation of your story with an emotional hook and a twist of irony. I like to tell writers to think in terms of setting up "who (make us feel empathy)," "dilemma," "action" and "goal." For example, one log line that reflects a pivotal moment in my life is, "When a work-obsessed corporate executive experiences a fall from grace, she is forced to turn her plan B into her plan A and discovers that her plan B was her plan A all along." This came from a true-life experience. It was my nudge from the universe. After 15 years of security with two sister companies, I lost my job but awakened to the life I was meant to create.
In Richard Walter's book, "Essentials Of Screenwriting," he lists several principles of screenwriting. Principle #8 is "Whenever writers sit down before blank paper or glowing pixels, they should write their own personal story." Richard writes, "Decades spent writing and teaching have taught me that writers' own personal stories are the only story they should write. He goes on to write, "Whatever the original concept, however specific, however narrow, in all instances it is filtered through the peculiar sensibilities of the specific writer. In the end, despite himself, the writer will create a tale that is personal. Why fight it? My advice: Surrender."
If we surrender to what is, we open ourselves up to see our pivotal moments in a new way. If we can view our pivotal moments in a positive light, we can see how getting through them adds so much to our lives. My yoga instructor viewed the moment she moved to LA as a new beginning to her yoga practice, a new consciousness. She teaches our class from her truth and connects us to herself.
For me, after I lost my job, I opened my own business and wrote my first book, Story Line: Finding Gold In Your Life Story. It is about adding fiction to your truth. My hope is to create community through the revelation of story and to guide people to access their truth and express it in their art. Once we learn to do that, there are no limits to what we can achieve.