Posts Tagged ‘Norman MacLean’

Convert Affliction to Anecdote – Utilizing the Stories from Your Hero’s Journey

Sunday, February 28th, 2016

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“We must let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the one that is waiting for us.”
– Joseph Campbell

The Hero’s Journey

In The Hero with a Thousand Faces, Joseph Campbell describes the Hero’s Journey as a life-altering quest where, after passing through trials, the hero is transformed to a higher level of consciousness.

The stages of the journey are:cave

1) The “call.” The hero sets off on a quest.

2) The journey into unknown territory.

3) The supreme ordeal. As Campbell puts it, “The cave you fear to enter holds the treasure you seek.”

4) Sharing the wisdom gained.

Being on a Hero’s Journey enhances the hero’s perception. They feel like unseen forces are intervening to protect and guide them. The hero has a sense that everything happens for a reason.

The Hero’s Journey of Lincoln

Abraham Lincoln was on a Hero’s Journey in his life long quest to become president. In Lincoln’s case, his Hero’s Journey made him aware of the lessons and stories in every day experiences. Life had meaning and seemingly random incidents held significance. He could draw out the deeper gist that existed just below the surface of most people’s perception.

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Grasping “The Big Picture”

Several years ago, when I worked in Honduras, I came across two stonecutters.

“What are you doing?” I asked the first stonecutter.

“Squaring the stone,” the man replied.

“What are you doing?” I asked the second stonecutter.

“I am building a cathedral,” the man replied.

Okay. The second guy was a little presumptuous, but he still gets points for seeing the big picture.

Your Hero’s JourneyHerosJourney41

I believe that we are all on a Hero’s Journey, and like Lincoln, we are endowed with the ability to discern the profound stories and parables that unfold before our eyes every day. We have only to be prepared to see them.

Convert Affliction to Anecdote (Activity)

Put yourself in the right perspective to capture the stories of your daily life.

Write down the significant bad things that have happened to you in life. Then, as bad and unfair as these incidents might have seemed at the time, identify some lessons you learned from them, or how you became a better person as a result.

Here are some examples (based on personal experience):

1) How missing a flight and having to spend the night in a strange city with your kids became a treasured memory.

2) How an illness indicated you that you needed to make changes in your unhealthy life style.

3) How being replaced by a chimpanzee at your job led you down the challenging path to work that was closer to your heart.

4). How you looked deep inside yourself for the fortitude to bounce back from a dismal failure.

Are the catastrophes of life bad, or is life just trying to teach us a lesson?

The Hero’s Perspective: Change Your Unholy Mess to Unparalleled the-wicked-witch-of-the-west-ozMetaphor

You show me someone who is on a Hero’s Journey and I’ll show you a resilient, unflinching individual who converts life’s challenges into stories of inspiration, strength and humor.

To paraphrase author Norman Maclean, from A River Runs Through It,

“In the end, all our failures and successes merge into one, and a story runs through it.”

Upcoming Presentations:

March 21, 2016, 7:00 am. “Finding Stories in Your Hero’s Journey.” Aztec Toastmasters. Tucson, Arizona.

April 9, 2016. “Storytelling and The Hero’s Journey.” Cometitive Edge Toastmasters. Tucson, Arizona.

April 14, 2016, 12:30 to 1:30. “Use Stories to Touch Hearts, Minds & Funny Bones, Like Abraham LIncoln Did.” Moon Valley Women’s Club, Phoenix, Arizona.

Related Posts

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A Light Heart Lives Long #EurekaMoments 6

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Failures Can Be Transformed into Strength – #LifeLesson 11

Is it better to remain silent, or to speak up and confirm you’re an idiot? LifeLesson #12

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Turn frustration into creative energy #LifeLesson 7

Sunday, November 8th, 2015

 

Late for the Wedding

The Graduate

Eventually, all things merge into one, and a river runs through it.

–Norman MacLean

I had carefully planned to leave the house at 8:50 am so that we could arrive at the wedding, of our two friends, well before the 10:00 am start time. However, while my wife and I were ready to go, my two lazy teenage sons were still glued to their beds.

“Get up, you have to shower now in order for us to leave on time,” said I to one son.

“It only takes me 10 minutes to take a shower,” he mumbled grumpily.

“You’re conveniently not counting the time for you to get dressed and eat breakfast,” I pointed out.

My other son, responded to me with passive-aggressive silence. He leisurely showered and dressed.

I Get Irritated

In response to the boys’ snail’s pace, I expressed my irritation by muttering snide remarks like:

“We’re going to be late.”

“We should have left 10 minutes ago, just to arrive on time.”

Or, my favorite, “I’ll wait in the car!”

I might as well as have been speaking Chinese. My comments didn’t speed them up one iota and it just made me feel agitated and hostile. My heart was racing.

I thought, what’s the point of this? I’m the only one suffering.

I Change My Approach

I’d would have preferred to arrive early to the wedding, but in truth, the fate of the free world was not hanging in the balance. It didn’t matter if we get there 10 minutes early or 10 minutes late. The wedding would still go on and we would still see it.

No amount or cajoling would speed up the boys anyway, so instead of fuming, I sat down at the computer and worked on a story I was in the process of writing. I poured my frustration and nervous energy into the story. I wrote like a man with 10,000 volts of pent up energy passing through me.

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By the time the boys were ready to leave, I had completed some great work on my story and I felt utterly relaxed.

Fishing – Blessing or Curse?

I experienced a similar incident in my childhood when my dad took my mom, my brother and I camping in the Colorado Rocky Mountains. He really enjoyed fishing and thought I should too.

My dad would say, “My worst day fishing is better than my best day at work.”

Yet to me, fishing was as boring as meatloaf, and I was offended that innocent fish were being killed – unless my dad was somehow only catching the guilty ones. Nevertheless, while my dad fished, I turned my attention to nonlethal ways to enjoy nature. I hiked along the river, observed bugs and climbed rocks.

Lesson:

Turn frustration into creative energy.

The next time I am in an exasperating situation, I will change gears and direct my energy into creative channels.

———-

Authors note:

These stories are my attempt to glean insights from the seemingly mundane incidents that occur in every day life. My plan is to capture these “eureka moments” and squeeze all the illumination and inspiration from them, before they can slip through my fingers.

Like the storytelling of Abraham Lincoln, I think one’s own personal stories can transform both the listener and the speaker.

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Related Posts

Yard Sales, Heroic Cats and Zombies

Overcome obstacles and doubts by doing more than anyone expected

Give yourself permission to feel frustration, then relax and let it go #tmoy #storytelling

A feather is better than a hammer to win an argument #tmoy #storytelling

Don’t let pride stand in the way a brighter future

Use warm memories to replace negative thoughts

A Light Heart Lives Long #EurekaMoments 6

Act Out Characters to Make a Story Sizzle (video)

Disarm Hostility with Friendliness #LifeLesson 8

You Only Live Twice – Life Provides Second Chances LL #9

Donald Trump vs. Abe Lincoln – #LifeLesson10

Is it better to remain silent, or to speak up and confirm you’re an idiot? LifeLesson #12

Think for Yourself: Never Ask a Barber if You Need a Haircut – LifeLesson #13

Virtue Is Its Own Reward

Upcoming Presentations

Nov. 13, 2015. “Once Upon A Time: Inspire and engage your audience with stories.” Present Like a Pro Conference. Desert Diamond Casino. Tucson, Arizona.

Nov. 24th, 2015. “Abraham Lincoln: Stories and Humor.” Cholla High School. Tucson, Arizona.

Dec. 15, 2015, 12:40 to 1:00 pm. “Abe Lincoln: The Greatest Storytelling President.” Old Pueblo Rotary Club. Hotel Tucson. Tucson, Arizona.

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