Day 7: The Power of Storytelling [31 Days of Possibility]

by Lani Voivod | @LaniVoivod

In 1996, I met Joseph Campbell for the first time.

Not in person. (He actually died in 1987, so that would have been weird.) As a name, mentioned by some now-forgotten screenwriting teacher, back in another life when I was living in Los Angeles.

Soon after I heard his name, I saw his name on a book, The Hero With A Thousand Faces. It jumped out at me at a bookstore where I was working part-time.

But it wasn’t until I brought my Wookie-loving boyfriend (Allen, later to become my husband and father of my children) to a traveling pop-culture tour in 1999 called “Star Wars: The Magic of Myth” in San Diego that Mr. Campbell finally received my full and undivided attention. It seemed at every turn, I was reading about how Joseph Campbell’s work inspired and influenced George Lucas so deeply that Lucas often credited it for the off-the-charts success and enduring popularity of the whole Star Wars saga.

An American mythologist, writer and lecturer, Campbell is still one of the most awe-inspiring dudes I’ve ever encountered. His life work was an active and ultra-passionate mash-up of psychology, comparative religions, world cultures, and the myths and legends hooked into our spirits and souls for thousands of years. (If you ever have the chance to check out Bill Moyers’ interviews with Campbell during the renowned six-part PBS television series “The Power of Myth,” I highly recommend it!)

He’s also the father of “The Hero’s Journey,” a 12-part structure culled from myths across time and cultures that seems to live at the heart of virtually any and all enduring stories, legends, and characters, from Jesus and Buddha to Huckleberry Finn to The Wizard of Oz to The Lord of the Rings to The Matrix to Harry Potter. (And of course, Luke Skywalker and Star Wars.)

 

 

Here’s the kicker: This structure, this template, it’s more than a storytelling tool. The Hero’s Journey is an archetype embedded in our human psyches, deep in the mysterious goop of our beings. This structure is popular not because of the stories that were built from it, but because it is IN US. We feel this, we know this, on some level or another.

We are the heroes of our own story

That “Call to Adventure,” that “Meeting With the Mentor,” that “Inmost Cave” thing – these plot points are a framework for our own lives. We can literally look back at our own memories and misadventures and see how certain people, places, and things plop right into the framework. Play with this, and you’ll soon see how certain decisions you’ve made became major turning points, how trials became essential plot twists that led you to a new level of knowledge, growth, or enlightenment.

The question is, as it so often is: Are we willing to travel our own Hero’s Journey?  

Are we willing to be the storytellers of our own lives? To overcome our customized odds, face our own demons, trust our allies, go down certain scary roads all by ourselves, and ultimately return with The Elixir, so others may benefit from our blood, sweat, tears, and victories?

What are the stories you tell yourself?

Who does your wildly imaginative and probably very stubborn mind keep insisting you are? What are the limits you’ve believed so long you’ve accepted them as truth? What story or stories do you keep playing in your mind and heart, consciously or unconsciously, that keep you from the Story of the life you truly want to live? The life you were born to live? The life you deserve?

These stories we tell ourselves, the ones that don’t serve us or our Life Purpose, they bleed out into the world. Ultimately, they become the stories that others believe about us, because we’ve told bits and pieces of these stories so often and so willingly.

 “I’m not any good at that.”

“I have the worst luck!”

“I never get what I want.”

“My boss has it in for me.”

“My weight is holding me back.”

“I don’t have any time.”

“I could never change directions at this point in my life.”

“I’m too old.”

“I can’t make a living doing what I love.”

“No one understands me!”

“I’m all alone.”

“I don’t deserve it.”

We’re so good at telling these stories, we’ve gathered tons of evidence, tons of selected memories and plot points to support their “truth.” For better or for worse, they make us feel safe, they give us our identities, and they become our lives.

But the stories we tell ourselves can either thwart or amplify our POSSIBILITIES.

If we’d like to expand and amplify our Possibilities, we must:

1)   Own our immense power as the storytellers of our own lives.

2)   Write the story we want to live through the actions we take, the people we play with, and the choices we make.

3)   Share the story of our new dreams, goals, and vision with the people and networks around us, so they can join the adventure we want to fulfill.

As a blossoming Agent of POSSIBILITY, we’re counting on you to return with the Elixir. No one else can do that for you.

Only you.

Check out the video (including glowing lightsaber) for Day 7 of the 31 Days of Possibility: The Power of Storytelling!

 

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Enjoying this 31 Days of Possibility series? Why not share it with your friends and favorite connections so they can go on this adventure with you and expand their own possibilities! Share on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, Pinterest, Instagram – wherever you like to connect and play the most. 

And if you’d like to connect with us on any of these channels, please make it happen! 

You can find us on Twitter at @LaniVoivod@AllenVoivod@EpiphaniesInc@AhaSummit, and @AhaYourself. Plus, you’re always welcome to ask questions, give feedback, and share some of your own experiences (and hopefully your big “A-Ha!” victories along the way), here in the comments, and on the Epiphanies, Inc. Facebook Page. Allen and I love to hear from you. Here’s to you and your vast and wondrous possibilities!

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