By Ellen Gerst
Writing the rest of your story … what does that involve and how do you start?
Let’s imagine that your life up to now has been a movie, aptly named “The Story of My Life, Part I.” You held the starring role, surrounded yourself with a wonderful and loving cast of supporting actors, and, to top it off, you and your co-star were deeply in love. When this movie was over and “The End” scrawled across the screen, naturally, you were very sad, disappointed and unsatisfied. Perhaps you wanted to stand up and shout, “This is NOT the way it was supposed to end. I signed on for a role in happily ever after, and I got stuck playing a role I didn’t and still don’t want.
Well, the “movie studio” does not have the power to remake this film. However, there are always sequels in which wrongs can be righted and happy endings may be found. You decide to audition for “The Story of My Life, Part II.” And to make sure things go your way this time, you decide to be a triple threat. You will be the star, the director and the producer! This movie will begin at your current age and status and, perhaps, have a quick flashback so that the audience can see how you arrived in this place.
The producer may be the “money-man” behind the scenes, but as the director, you are in charge of how the movie unfolds. This means you have the power to cut away the obstacles that may hamper your success. You must also have a clear vision of how the movie will end … or at least how Part II will end. After all, you wish to star in sequel after sequel!
By imagining the endpoint before you start filming, you are the shaping the big picture vision of your life. With clear cut goals, you can then begin to turn your imaginings or fantasies into reality.
Before you start filming, here are just a few questions to ponder.
~What is the name of your movie (other than Part II)?
~What is the overarching theme of the movie?
~Will the viewer learn any lessons from this movie?
~Are there scenes in this movie that you expect will be hard to play? If so, how can you prepare for them?
~Who will be your leading co-star?
~Who will comprise the supporting cast?
~How do you want the viewer to feel as he/she watches this movie?
~How does the movie (or this sequel) end?
All movies require lots of preparatory work, which can include scouting locations and developing the wardrobe, for example. The initial filming is usually spliced into a rough cut with some scenes eliminated and others redone. Lastly, it is edited into the final product.
Similarly, in your “real” life, you must prepare yourself emotionally, mentally, physically and spiritually to move into a new phase of your life. Just like a movie director, you can try out different ideas and locations and discard (or cut out) what doesn’t work. The further along you are in your process, the more you refine what the final “product” (or your new life) will look like.
Who’s ready to say — Lights, Camera, ACTION?
Ellen Gerst is a colleague I’ve connected with here in Phoenix. Ellen is grief and relationship coach who uses both her personal experience as a young widow and her professional expertise to help women who have experienced the loss of a partner through death. She is a member of the Advisory Board of Hope For Widows, a workshop leader, and the author of several books on both grief and finding love after loss, which are available at her website: http://www.LNGerst.com/Library.html