The Home of Steven Barnes
Author, Teacher, Screenwriter

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Lifewriting core principles

Lynn asked if I could share more about E.C, my student with PTSD. The simple answer is: no, I really can’t, but if E.C. reads these words I ask that she step forward and comment.

What I can say is that I have students choose subjects for their writing that involve personal wounds, having their characters walk the same paths they themselves have walked—or wish to walk. The basic steps are:
1) formulate your goals and vision for the rest of your life.
2) Understand the intermediate steps necessary to take you there. (Don’t worry, goals and steps always change in time, but the process of clarification is vital)
3) Adopt a 1% attitude. (Small changes, over time, will take you where you want to go.)
4) Develop a meditation practice, and begin looking more closely at your motivations and actions. Where do you diverge from the path that will take you to health in all three arenas?
5) Choose a problem area, and delve deeply enough to find a “knot” in your behaviors, beliefs, value hierarchy, etc. that inhibits your growth.
6) Write a story about a person with this problem. Use the Hero’s Journey pattern to be certain your character has accepted responsibility for her life (Adulthood), is taking actions and gathering new allies, is faced with absolute failure, clarifies their faith and keeps going. If they can’t get through the barrier, clarify the character’s goals and get them better internal/external allies, then have them try again. More clarity and better allies. Repeat this process until their goals and actions are in alignment.

Now, personally, I think that the universe works in such a way that when you do this, you vastly increase your chances of achieving your goals. VASTLY. But that’s my belief. Yours may be that the universe is not just cold and random, but malicious. Personally, I’ve met a number of such people, and in every case thought they were extremely confused and damaged—there were obvious solutions to their problems that they could not access due to lack of clarity, fear, loss of faith, internal dishonesty, confusion of responsibility, etc.

As with the FEAR REMOVAL process, this approach is quite generative. As you study the Hero’s Journey in all of its expressions, and also examine the seven levels of characterization (The Chakras) it will become easier to spot the area of damage.
HERE’S A HINT: if you can identify a damaged “chakra”, concentrate your efforts on the chakras to either side. We have a lot of redundancy built into us—if you do an “end run” around the damage you’ll find your system starting to heal.

One way to do this is to define CLEARLY what your life would be like if you didn’t have the damage. Go after this life with a vengeance. In small increments, begin to re-claim the damaged territory, at a rate of 1% a week. Use Fear Removal to process the pain.

Intermittent Fasting is kind of a “nuke” here, in the sense that you can access some pretty core programming pretty quickly. In addition, you gain extra time for planning and meditation. Just a thought.

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