Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Be A Hero

What if you were the hero in your own story? 

This is a question I encourage my workshop participants to ponder as they craft personal stories about trauma and recovery. 

In storytelling, a hero's journey story is an archetypal tale that follows a certain pattern. Using this pattern, participants can craft a story about recovery from addiction, survival from trauma or other challenge. The story structure often looks like this:

HERO is forced from home ---> Sets out on journey ----> Encounters obstacles  ---> Has a transformation ---> Returns home

You might recognize this pattern in Hollywood movies. Lord of the Rings, Star Wars and Lion King are perfect examples.  The hero/heroine leaves home under duress and finds both friend and foe on the quest. The journey leads to a fundamental shift in perspective and the acquisition of some great wisdom. The return home may be physical or a metaphoric return in which the heroine incorporates the new wisdom into her life. 

When working with social service providers, I encourage them to use this pattern to help their clients shape (or perhaps re-shape) trauma stories. This exercise also helps transform a victim story into a victory story. The aim is to get them to examine how they already possess characteristics within them; and have resources available to them to save themselves.

What does a hero do? A hero saves, protects and defends. What if you are the one you have been waiting for? How would you respond to the next obstacle or challenge you face? How might you show up as the hero is your own life? 

Please share your answers in the comment section below. Would love to hear your thoughts.

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