How do the books, movies, and songs in your life, the art, relate to your life and your own story?
I have always loved movies, but in a different way than a lot of other people. I have always viewed movies as a way to relate to my own life, and the characters around me. I feel the same way about books and music. The stories often parallel; the metaphors seem to intertwine. Some songs make me cry, and others give me chills. Within storylines and metaphors we can see ourselves within the characters, our friends, family, lovers, our bosses, our next door neighbor, anyone and everyone, is a supporting character in our own lives in one way or another.
Media is impactful in these ways, in all its forms; it helps us understand our own stories, our roles, and the supporting characters we include within them. And viewing them in such a way can help us transform our lives.
I came to understand this more fully when someone mentioned they saw a movie that reminded them of me, someone I didn’t know very well. The movie was about a mom who endured and then overcame spousal abuse, and then went on to create a successful career and thrive, mostly, while dealing with her inner demons. I had to tiptoe over my ego when I deliberately watched the movie to see if I agreed with him. I felt a bit like I’d been slapped. I had deep empathy for the mom in the story, and in part my story was similar. As she evolved through the story, I realized I had the same shoes to fill in many ways. I was on her journey, but mine had just begun. I realized that the spaces where the main character faltered were not my own destiny, and that I could write my version differently. And I did.
I had immense understanding and many commonalities with the main character of the story, and it helped me write my own story. I then realized that movies had always served that purpose for me. I was always seeking myself.
Once I had a friend who was very much into Top Five lists. During a lengthy phone conversation, he once asked, what are your top 5 movies? Top 5 songs? Top 5 books? And so on… When we had this discussion, I had just left a difficult marriage, and I had no idea how to answer any of the questions. I was in a place of deep self-reflection and emotional healing. Those top 5 questions helped me find my way back to myself. These lists helped me create the life I wanted to live, a life I loved.
A little self-reflection goes a long way. The practice below helped me come into my own. This practice was born of a deep desire to take back control of my life from other people, which was then eventually followed by the desire to relax into the life-force, and to let go the need to control.
What story are you living? Do you know? Here are five prompts to help you clarify your own journey. This is an involved process. Allow yourself to take time with it because it can absolutely be clarifying and life-shifting. Write them down, save them for later, or share them with the supporting characters in your story.
- What are my Top 5 books, movies, songs, games? (A combination is fine too!)
- What is the main role of the characters I identify with the most? What are they most passionate about? What main issue do they seem to struggle with? What reward are they seeking?
- Who are the supporting characters and who could they resemble in my own life? What are their roles? What are their main issues and how do they contribute to my story? Do they help? Do they harm? What are they here to teach me? In what ways do they enrich my life?
- Is there an overall theme or group of themes? In what ways do the themes align with the life I would like to create? In what ways do the themes differ from the life I would like to create?
- Rewrite your story as the main character or as an amalgamation of the main characters in a way that aligns with the life you would like to create for yourself.
A Little Witchy Bonus: The creation story you have written for your life is very powerful as is, but to add additional power, create a ritual for yourself. In a sacred space, read your story out loud, fold it, and seal it with wax (a pretty sticker will work just as well, or seal it with a kiss). Offer gratitude to Source, Highest Power, or wherever you find your faith, and then place the story somewhere special for reflection in the future. You can always burn it, but I’ve found in the past that when you burn your intentions it’s not as easy to reflect or remember what it was you intended for yourself. I personally love looking back to measure progress, so I mostly stopped burning intentions a long time ago.
The next time you watch a television show or a movie, or read a book, play video games, ask yourself which characters you relate to. Do you see yourself represented on screen or on the page? Journal what you find regularly and you may well find patterns in your life that are helpful in bringing clarity to your story.
A year after I began this work, I had another lengthy phone conversation with my “Top Five” friend. I was excitedly telling him about the art I was creating and showing, the new projects I had taken on, and all of the lovely doors that were opening in my life. He said, “You’re going through a renaissance!”
You know, he wasn’t wrong!
At the time it felt scary, and like a whole lot of work, but looking back, it was the most eye- opening and powerful transformation of my life up until that point. I wish I had realized at the time how much of a role he played in that, and had thanked him. His contribution didn’t do the work for me, but it certainly helped me get my head straight. He inspired this practice, and it absolutely changed my life. I hope that you take it, use it, and that it helps you flourish, and that from time to time you will revisit it to see how far you’ve come, and how much further you can go.