"Life as Art," at http://www.selfgrowth.com/articles/life-as-art-a-creative-adventure introduced this series. The first article described the difference between being a victim of fate and consciously designing one's life. It also outlined some broad steps for designing your story.

If life is a script I've authored, all of my choices, from where to live to whom I know, are meant to further the action. Perhaps even more important, the emphasis and interpretation I give to events will shape the development of the plot and its results.

Every art form has its own kind of emphasis. In fiction, plays, and movies we have the big scenes, those dramatic moments with high emotional impact that may reveal character and suggest where the story is going.

Visual arts usually also have a dramatic focus. In a painting of trees, mountains, sky, and foreground, one element traditionally has dominance, usually that which most attracts the artist and highlights the story she wants to tell.

Music also has dominant moments. It may be a buildup to a series of dramatic chords or a theme that repeats with variations. Big notes often characterize singing.

Choosing the Emphasis

Imagine a song in which every note is a big note. In practical terms, that means none of the notes are big. Without contrast, emphasis is lost.

Imagine a painting or photograph without shadows. How would we see the shape of the composition?

Imagine a play in which the characters are constantly weeping, arguing, or screaming at each other. Watching it would make an exhausting and emotionally draining experience. The same results would occur while watching a movie that involves one murder after another. (Yes, I know, such movies do exist.)

In terms of human lives, you probably know at least one person whose life is a constant series of disasters or a roller-coaster contrast of intense highs and lows without time out for low-key living. Such lives unfold without contrast, and because they have no downtime, the one who lives them has no opportunity for reflection and no chance to make plans. Why bother when life so far has meant only the necessity to stave off crisis?

You probably also know someone who makes drama out of what might objectively be considered routine. These are the people for whom a misplaced pen or being five minutes late for an appointment receives the dramatic attention others reserve for serious illness or death.

The reverse of this is often true. Some small events do deserve more attention. So many people fail to fully savor the sweet moments of life: a beautiful sunrise or sunset, the beauty of birdsong, the surprise of a crocus blooming in the snow. Just as when we make small disasters bigger, the law of attraction brings us really big ones, when we appreciate the little gifts of life, we find ourselves with huge opportunities to experience happiness.

Editing the Script

The most common way in which people create unbalanced lives is to focus on the seemingly negative, areas that are insufficient or incomplete. Learn instead to turn first to your successes.

1. Focus on your growing skills in healing yourself before reflecting on the many opportunities you've given yourself to do so.

2. Emphasize the relationships reconciled before examining the arguments that initiated estrangement.

3. Appreciate the unexpected gifts: the child who has learned to say "Thank you," the boss who offers praise, the check you hadn't expected, the parking space found just when you needed it.

When I do this, I gain confidence in my ability to revise those parts of the script that haven't yet turned out as I want them to. I also remind myself of the qualities of which I'm most proud. In any good script, it's the heroine's character strengths that guide her to success.

When I turn to the areas that need revision, the trick is to accept the crises I may have created in my life without giving myself license to create new ones. Crises are tempting. They enliven any script; they banish boredom and routine and get me moving. When I triumph over seemingly unconquerable odds, I feel as victorious as those who first reached the top of Mount Everest.

However, when I write my life as a series of crises, I operate within the limited consciousness of scarcity and want; I'm not creating anything new. For all the seeming drama in such lives, they ultimately have no more entertainment or growth value than watching a hamster endlessly turning an exercise wheel. When we live in a crisis mode, we're tilling old soil; to break new ground, we need to write some fresh challenges into the script.

Creating the Future

When you're clear on what you have and have not accomplished, write down what successes you intend to achieve by the end of the year. Add special pleasures for yourself: the vacation of your dreams, new friends, developing a talent or discovering a new one. Keep the list handy and refer to it from time to time to remind you of your goals.

Then bring that which you desire closer to manifestation by actually writing the script. Write a letter as if the year is almost over, and everything on your list has come to be. The letter may be to yourself, a friend, or to the Universe.

Make your letter as complete and detailed as possible. When you've finished it, put it away. As the year comes to a close, read your letter. I believe you'll find that you, the heroine of your story, have lived your life with more excitement and less grief, that you've solved many problems, and created new opportunities for growth and joy.

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 http://www.adragonsguide.com. Since she has written newsletters and developed courses for Beyond the Rainbow at http://www.rainbowcrystal.com. In her counseling, she focuses on developing clients' creative responses to life challenges.