We consume stories to discover life, to use our minds in fresh experimental ways, flex our emotions and add depth to our days.*
All the superhero has to do to make the story great is struggle with count, face their demons, and muster enough strength to destroy the Death Star.**
Robert McKee is asserting that ‘Writing is about archetypes, not stereotypes.’*
Taking these words to heart for life in general, we can say, our lives are not meant to be stereotypical but archetypal:
Deep down you desire the freedom to live the life you would love.^
John O’Donohue is making sense of our desires, how we use these to lift ourselves to reach for and possess something more: specifically more freedom to choose or make our path, more skill in walking it and a path that is not only for us but is also a gift to others.
Brian Maue‘s use of the image of the rocket freeing itself from the gravitational pull of the earth is helpful:
Watching a rocket leave its launch pad gives us an idea. To lift off and escape from our earth’s gravity, a moon-bound traveler requires enough energy to move at speeds of 7 miles per…second! This “escape velocity” effort and the billowing clouds of energy exhaust seen before a rocket ever starts to rise offers another insight – a lot of energy will be used if we are serious about moving our body to a new reality. A “moonshot” destination, such as an engaging life performing “Greater Good”, also requires effort to find … but once reached, the energy requirements are easier and the sights more enjoyable.^
We have to find velocity and our story is how we can do this. Not a fanciful story but one crammed with information about our values, our talents, and abilities and our enriching and enervating environments.
Part of my work is with the University of Edinburgh’s Chaplaincy. When I research the word chaplaincy, I find that it reaches back to St Martin of Tours and this soldier’s sharing of half of his cloak or cape with a scantily clothed beggar.
The other half of the cappella was eventually preserved in a chapel (the place of the cape), so I like to think of Chaplaincy as a place where we get to identify our superhero cape.
With all due deference to Edna “E” Mode, our cape represents our story, it is how we find our launch velocity to escape the stereotypical and live an archetypal life – which has as many iterations as there are people. It peculiarly involves us facing our doubts and demons and mustering all the strength we can to do what we have come to see we must do.
(*From Robert McKee‘s blog: The Perils of Stereotypical Storytelling.)
(**From Donald Miller’s Scary Close.)
(^Brian Maue, from gapingvoid’s blog: A blast for the better.)