the story of 2012: your tests and trials

Last week I decided it would be fun and meaningful to look back on 2012 as if it were a mythic story.

I created a series of prompts that are a little different from the usual year-in-review suspects. I started with the call to adventure that’s a part of all mythic stories: deep yearning, love and desire, support and allies, hope and resilience. If you’d like to catch up, click here.

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My biggest surprise is how quickly the images, metaphors and symbols flow from these prompts when I put pen to paper.

Mostly I’m free writing, and a few times I’ve felt a need to pull out certain words and make poems with them. I love that, because a deeper story does indeed seem to be unfolding. I’m excited to continue the experiment.

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This week we’re entering new territory: tests and trials.

Yes. Every mythic story (and I suspect every year) takes a turn at some point. In myths and fairy tales things look encouraging at first but don’t work out quite as planned. Maybe you’re thwarted by creatures who block your way (evil witches and wizards, dragons, beasts) or situations beyond your control (dark magic, bad weather, high mountains to climb). Even if your year was wonderful, I bet there were some bumps in the road and unexpected detours.

Writing Prompts: -During the past year I was thwarted by… -During the past year I was tested by…

I’d like to be able to tell you that things get better now. But, well, they don’t. There’s a moment in every mythic journey when hope falters because things just aren’t going well. Optimism is in short supply and a particular kind of despair arrives. It’s called the Dark Night of the Soul. You could say it’s the grandmamma of all bottom-of-the-barrel experiences.

Here’s the interesting thing about real life though: even in the midst of abundant joy and meaning we will have moments of hopelessness and despair. And that’s okay. It’s normal as long as it’s not the kind of hopelessness that is unrelenting.

Writing Prompts: -During the past year I felt hopeless when…

Finally, we arrive at another turning point and discover there’s a paradox that’s been working its magic behind the scenes: when we stop trying so hard to persevere, that which we’re seeking shows up and we claim our reward. In myths and fairy tales it’s often the act of giving up hope that spurs a resurgence of hope and an experience of renewal and rebirth. An inner well of resourcefulness and strength rises up. Turns out it was there all along, but we lost track of it.

Writing Prompts: -During the past year I was renewed by… -During the past year I stepped into my power and reclaimed my resourcefulness and inner strength when…

Here’s a recap of this week’s prompts, all in one place:

  • During the past year I was thwarted by…
  • During the past year I was tested by…
  • During the past year I felt hopeless when…
  • During the past year I was renewed by…
  • During the past year I stepped into my power and reclaimed my resourcefulness and inner strength when…

Just like last week I’ll be exploring these prompts in my art journal. Looking forward to it!

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• stay tuned for part 3 next week: claiming your wisdom and coming home 

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8 thoughts on “the story of 2012: your tests and trials

  1. Patty,

    I love your artful replies to your prompts. I clicked on them to enlarge the pictures and they are so cool. I love how you writing goes straight uphill – always a positive sign. Again, I copied the prompts you left. This will be an excellent New Year reflection. I don’t know if I’ll reply with the same beauty you’ve given us with your art, but they do make curious to see how I WILL answer. I’ll let you know.

    • Hey I didn’t realize my writing was going uphill. And you’ll do it in your own particularly beautiful way Sara. Love the idea of doing the prompts right at the end of the year. I may hold off on some myself and do them on the 31st. More coming next week.

  2. I just caught on today, Patty. I’ve been consistently reverbing and wow, and I gaining a lot of insight and I think the heroes (heroine’s) story approach will flesh it out some. I am going to work with my art journal, too, to see what comes out. Probably do some collaging. Perhaps rather than art journaling in the true sense, I will make what I am calling “fragment boards” from the prompts. I’m starting tonight with….During the past year I was thwarted by… THANK YOU! I’ll send you a link when I post about them!

  3. sharing sharing sharing! Signs everywhere – I’m just finishing Jean Houston’s “The Wizard of Us” in which she overlays the Hero’s journey on that story. It made me think of doing this very thing and yet I haven’t gotten a round toit yet – I shall make space for it within the week! Thanks for the inspiration!

  4. Pingback: Reverb12 – Day 19 – You Shall Not Pass » PiercedWonderings

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