I’ve modified the “Lifewriting Manifesto” so that there are ten steps, each keyed to a step of the Hero’s Journey. There are other story patterns, and other patterns of human change and growth. But Lifewriting is the only one that does BOTH. Once you begin to apply it to writing a story (“plot”) the PROCESS of writing a story (“work flow”) and the process of living and growing in the world, you tap into something huge, a truth floating just beyond conscious thought. And once you can sense this connection, you can apply it to relationships, and groups, and nations, and to the world itself. This is the collected wisdom of all the world’s elders telling the young people of the village “this is how life will be.” Make the implicit explicit, and you will understand your lives in a way few ever do.
Contained within it is a basic triad of human physical experience: career, relationships, fitness. Look at the way YOU struggle to balance these you will gain understanding of human nature that will transform your writing. And that as you begin to apply these understandings to the people around you, you will understand humanity, and life itself.
This manifesto is a work in progress only.
- Lifewriters are aware of the CHALLENGES in our lives in all three major arenas: emotions, career, and body (“Hero confronted with the challenge”). We have CLEAR OUTCOMES and know why we want them. And know that the primary goal of life is happiness.
- Lifewriters seek to master the EMOTIONS that both stop and empower us, knowing that they are the fuel that powers our engines. (“Hero rejects the challenge”)
- Lifewriters accept RESPONSIBILITY for their emotions and actions and commit to doing WHATEVER IT TAKES to bring their goals into the world in an ethical, loving fashion. (“Hero accepts the challenge”). We care for our own health and sanity, knowing that wounded healers help fewer people. We work from our hearts, or from the struggle of physical experience, not from our mental concepts or spiritual aspirations, knowing that these must rest on a bedrock of reality.
- Lifewriters take daily ACTION, at least one small step EVERY DAY toward our objectives, learning as we do. (“The road of trials”). We are writers, filmmakers, teachers, leaders…who understand the power of STORY to create meaning in life, and know that we are the heroes in our own stories. We are committed to being AWAKE, AWARE, ADULT human beings. While we work from our hearts…we also protect ourselves and allow no one to damage or denigrate us, understanding the power of BOTH individual strength and group action.
- Lifewriters understand the GAP between where we are and where we want and deserve to be, and seek MENTORS and ROLE MODELS who have accomplished these things, modeling their BELIEFS, STRATEGIES, SKILLS and BEHAVIORS. (“Allies and Powers”). We know that if we try to communicate to everyone we reach no one. We find our “tribe”, the people who speak our language and share our journey, and nurture them in return for their nurturance.
- Lifewriters accept that FAILURE is an inevitable part of the journey: “the only way you know how far you can go is by going too far” (“Confrontation with Evil–defeated). That our external or internal obstacles can only be revealed by action…and we are at peace with this reality.
- Lifewriters know that DISCOURAGEMENT AND DEPRESSION come to all human beings, in different degrees. (“The Dark Night of the Soul”) and prepare for it…in advance. Know that our emotions are controlled by how we move our bodies, what we focus on, and the internal language we use. We keep track of the ways we moved through these painful emotions in the past, and collect resources so that we can “get back on the horse” more rapidly in the future…and forgive ourselves for being human.
- Lifewriters have FAITH that the future will be better and more meaningful than our past. That we can have this reliance either on a higher power, our companions on the journey (friends, family, mentors), or…in ourselves, in that spark of ultimate potential within us. That if we love ourselves as we would our own most beloved child, we will see the potential in that child no matter what. (“The Leap of Faith”)
- Lifewriters prepare for VICTORY, knowing that all change brings death to a small self-concept, and our egos will fight to keep us in place. We are humble and gracious in victory, as we were balanced and maintained equanimity in defeat. We know that opportunities come again and again in life, if we continue to strive, focus, control our emotional states, learn and grow. That any single opportunity may come only once…but the next will come soon enough, and we must be prepared. (“Confront Evil…and emerge victorious”)
- Lifewriters make a path for others. Lifewriters know that the final step, “The Student becomes the teacher” is the movement to the higher level. Your knowledge is tested by your ability to help another to your level. That mastery is a verb, not a noun. A process, not a position. It is NEVER ENDING GROWTH AND IMPROVEMENT along the path of life. And that the most precious thing in the world is helping another human being out of darkness and into the light We love ourselves, and humanity. We know that selfishness is not the problem: defining “self” as limited by skin color, nation, gender, religion or other external measures is the problem. We are not part of the problem…we are the answer.
We are Lifewriters. And we are thousands strong.