room on the edge

inspiration (+ a push)

What’s your Wonderland?

My post yesterday, where I talked about Shadow Artists was, of course, only one version of ‘my story’ – a story of struggle and what was missing. The way we tell our personal stories – to others and to ourselves – has a great impact on how we go forward in our lives; whether that story is empowering or whether it keeps us stuck in an endless loop, doomed to repeat the same mistakes over and over.

I have another version of yesterday’s story that focuses entirely on the good that has come from each of the milestones I mentioned and how fortunate and privileged I’ve been all the way through this wonderful life so far – what an adventure it’s been, full of amazing people, opportunities and experiences. Whenever I look back with this things-to-be-grateful-for version in my mind, I feel instantly enthused and excited about what’s coming next.

If we can rewrite our stories, we can open up new channels of energy and really move.

Here’s a question from Aina Egeberg’s great Taming Your Dragons workshop, which I’ve run past the writers in my fortnightly group, with fascinating results, which helps illustrate that – What was your favorite, or most memorable, story you remember as a child?

Think about it for a moment. Which story did you love to hear told over and over again? Was it a fairy tale, or a family story or one you made up or one from a TV programme? What was it?

Once you’ve got it, write down the most important elements of the story for you as if you were explaining it to someone else. Which character did you most resonate with?

Looking back at what you’ve written, what do you notice? Any parallels with your own ‘real’ story in there for you?

My own story during the workshop – the first one that sprang to mind, not necessarily my absolute favorite childhood story, was Alice in Wonderland. and I described it something like this – Alice goes down the rabbit hole into a strange and wonderful world. She’s entranced and embarks on a series of adventures, not necessarily all pleasant, trying to catch up with the elusive white rabbit. She tries to fit in to Wonderland, but she doesn’t know the rules and keeps getting into trouble wherever she goes. Just as she thinks she’s got it, everything changes again… and again, until finally she gives up trying to fit in and decides to just be herself. It’s a story of maturing, becoming an adult, taking responsibility, and having the courage to live your own truth.

And then, reflecting back on what I’d said, I realized how helpful that story could be to me right now and how many parallels there are with the struggles and events that have shaped my own life to date.

When you look back at your favorite story, and how it relates to your own life, ask yourself how it would be if you were to rewrite it slightly – for mine, what if Alice didn’t keep putting herself through endless scenarios where she didn’t know the rules? what if she stopped chasing the white rabbit? what if…?

These Alice in Wonderland movie clips illustrate the point, even without substantially changing the plot – above a 1999 Hallmark Productions made-for-TV version (which I actually worked on) and below, a much darker, less innocent and perhaps more sophisticated interpretation by Tim Burton, which is due for release in March 2010. Which one do you relate to most? Which journey through Wonderland would you prefer to take? What things would you change to make it a more appealing or engaging story for you?

So have some fun with your own favorite childhood story. Rewrite the script. Change the setting. Act like a screenwriter. Imagine the scenes. Play. Give the hero/ine some different ideas or powers to act or behave differently and then imagine what would happen if your own life mirrored any of it in any way…

And please share – leave a reply below – these are great fun and endlessly fascinating stories unfolding…


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