What if we looked back on each year as if it were a mythic story?
For the past few days I’ve felt a pull to reflect on 2012. I’ve discovered lots of lovely people following the same urge; they’re out there creating prompts and projects to make it easier for all of us to get on with it.
But after I tested the waters with a couple of prompts, I realized I needed something different. (Which is in no way meant to criticize what others are doing.)
Turns out what I need is a way to open up to metaphor, symbol, dream and story.
I want to celebrate the last year by deep diving into a less literal re-telling of it. Most definitely I’m ready to be embraced by the mystery, wonder and insight that I sometimes lose track of in the day-to-day routine of living.
Maybe you’d like a different way to view the past year too?
Well then, I’ve got a gift for you.
Starting now and continuing for the next few weeks, I’m sharing a series of writing prompts inspired by the Hero’s Journey story. Several years ago I began using similar prompts in workshops and with individual clients.
You can apply them in many ways: past, present, future, childhood memories, transitions, challenging experiences, life review. This time, though, I’m using them particularly to shine a light on 2012.
You probably already know a lot about my inspiration: the classic quest story.
It’s that universal narrative that traverses the ages and shows up in some way, shape or form in every culture. It’s a story with staying power, deeply rooted in our human psyches. It’s a story that always starts in the ordinary world, in our day-to-day lives.
But something’s out of balance and we hear the call to adventure.
In myths and fairytales there may be a pending disaster that precedes the call. But here in 21st century real life, there’s often a deep yearning at the heart of every call: a yearning to change something, right something, find something, claim something, start something, leave something.
The yearning itself can be hard to name, and that’s okay. We can let it reveal itself through metaphor, symbol, poetry, free-writing.
Writing Prompt: -During the past year I yearned deeply for…
Once the yearning has begun to cast its spell, we’re pulled into a threshold passage between the familiar and the unknown. It may seem both scary and exciting. Some part of you seeks to connect and attach to something. You take a few steps forward and your desire is activated. The mysterious yearning reels you in and you don’t have much say about it.
Writing Prompts: -During the past year I most desired… -During the past year I truly loved…
You’ve now entered the realm of wisdom, a place that’s pretty different from the known world: mysterious, confusing, surreal. In myths and fairytales it may be a place of dark forests, deep caves, magical people or creatures, and forces of good and evil. Here’s where you meet up with allies, guides and mentors, the companions and helpers that sustain you on the journey.
Because for sure we can’t do it alone. We find hope and resilience by seeking nourishment and support.
Writing Prompts: -During the past year I was supported and nourished by… -During the past year I felt hopeful and resilient when…
Here’s recap of the prompts, all in one place:
- During the past year I yearned deeply for…
- During the past year I most desired…
- During the past year I truly loved…
- During the past year I was supported and nourished by…
- During the past year I felt hopeful and resilient when…
This week I’ll be exploring these prompts in my art journal. I’m keeping it simple, though: a pen, a blank page, maybe a spontaneous bit of color here and there. I want to sit quietly and let the words flow organically from each prompt. I imagine I’ll be doing a fair amount of free-writing, using metaphor and symbol.