Most people don't usually approach life as works of art that they create. While we may learn as children that we should have dreams, we are also warned that the outside world (called circumstances, fate, bad luck, etc.) may keep us from realizing them. These warnings, like a knife scraping against a piece of young wood, whittle away our slender sense of empowerment.

My dramatic inspiration for investigating a different approach to living came, appropriately, from seeing the movie Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf (adapted from the play by Edward Albee). For those who aren't familiar with the film, it portrays the complex and often-vicious marital games played by a couple named George and Martha (Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor). It's by no means an easy play to watch, for it reminds many of the dramas their parents and/or other close relative played and can give people uncomfortable insights into current relationships.

Who's Afraid of Us?

The world abounds with Georges and Marthas. Unlike the actors who walked away each night from their roles in the movie, our real-life characters, because they believe that the parts they play are real, are locked into them. When we recognize that the roles we play are no more real than those of the characters we watch or read about, we, too, can step out of them or revise them according to our wishes.

When we view our lives as dramatic productions and ourselves as the authors or playwrights, we begin to live according to the law of attraction. With this approach, we believe that the power of our thought and emotions draws to us matching circumstances. In its simplest expression, if I believe I'm powerless in the face of circumstances, seemingly powerful circumstances will emerge to prevent me from having what I want. In other words, life will edit or tear up my script.

The difference between these approaches relates not only to the kinds of results we achieve but also to how we live our lives. The first approach creates a grim attitude that says, "I will do the best I can, but something is sure to strike me down. Maybe that terrible something will leave me alone if I show how serious I am, how determined, how willing to work hard and suffer and sacrifice."

The second attitude is far more playful. Those who practice it recognize that when we believe we have the power to create the lives of our dreams, we don't look over our shoulders, waiting for someone or something to punish us. We can relax and be playful, experimenting with our minds and emotions to design a variety of scenarios, choosing that which feels most pleasing to us on all levels of being.

Planning the Story

Sometimes the responsibility of planning one's live, rather than lightening our steps, makes us worried about taking the wrong ones. Indeed, our lives become tragic or at least problematic when we take our roles too seriously and forget that we're not only the actors but the writers of our particular plays, that not only can we determine how we play our parts but how the drama will develop, and how it will end.

The author John Irving (who wrote The World According to Garp, The Hotel New Hampshire, The Cider House Rules, and other novels, says that the first thing he write when beginning a novel is the last line. He further claims that he never changes that line.

It may be that in planning our lives, we can benefit from a bit more flexibility. I have always found that the phrase, "This or something better" covers a range of possibilities. Nonetheless, having the ultimate goal clear and firmly in mind draws powerful energy towards its manifestation.

Rewriting the Script

Keeping that intention in the forefront doesn't mean that we have only one path available for reaching it. We can change settings and stage props without altering our chosen themes.

When we allow this theme to direct our drama, we are clear about the direction we want it to take; we create scenes and supporting characters that further the action. We can regard temporary impasses as comic relief.

Sometimes rewording your theme can make a difference. If you think your subject is "I can never find a job I like," try changing it to "I'm exploring a variety of work situations in order to find the one I like best." Look around to see if you're casting actors from previous plays and rewrite the script in order to resolve these relationships. If your drama seems to resemble a tale told by an idiot, go within to ask what its meaning is.

Most of all, remember that it's a play, that you are playing your life. When its reality seems all-too encroaching, step off the stage and become a member of the audience. And don't forget to laugh at yourself.

Author's Bio: 

C. M. Barrett is the author of Big Dragons Don't Cry, the first book of A Dragon's Guide to Destiny. See Since she has written newsletters and developed courses for Beyond the Rainbow at In her counseling, she focuses on developing clients' creative responses to life challenges.