Friday, October 1, 2010

Storyline Conference

So, I'm finally making time to blog here about the Storyline Conference and our getaway weekend to Portland. It was great, and in processing it this week I'm thinking it was even better than great--it was amazing!

This conference was on Living a Better Story--on writing a story with your life--not just the past (as in how you frame the past)--but in how you feel empowered in the present--and in how you want to write your story in the future. At the same time, it brought God into it in a very beautiful and special and central way. The conference was less didactic than experiential, and as part of it, we met people who had written unique and amazing stories with their lives, as well as helped a very blessed participant (whose name was Lori) write a new story for her life.

I appreciated the focus on our individual uniqueness. The people who were there, the people who had actually done amazing things to bless others dramatically were all people who were unconventional, and who--in being themselves and in reveling in the unique and special gifts they have--were able to create stories with their lives that were almost beyond what anyone could have imagined (at least beyond what I could imagine!). People had all different kinds of gifts--for example, gifts of bringing people together (kind of like a "networking" gift), gifts of loving homeless people to the degree of living with them without a home, gifts of writing, gifts of film directing. And their gifting and what they loved to do went right along with what God had for them to do which was really amazing to see.

I really enjoyed the people who attended, because they were also people who enjoyed Donald Miller's work and who were interested in taking a chance on a new conference, as it was the first time this was offered, and most people were unsure about what to expect; it was sort of an adventure-conference.

One thing I noticed was that in order for people to be successful, they really had to focus, to forget what other people thought, to say "yes" to things that furthered their dreams, and "no" to things that didn't. They had to not care what other people thought. This is something I am wanting to do--to create time and to focus--and I am really challenged by it. What do I cut out, what do I say "no" to and "yes" to? Life is very short. I know I'm really sensitive to people judging me, and to not understanding me, especially regarding my introversion, but I am also willing to get beyond this to live a better story.

There was an experiential part (that I am only partially done working on) that assisted us in determining how God had prepared us for where we are today by looking back on our life, seeing our strengths, our gifts, and how they might be used in a special way. And always, our gifts are things that we delight in doing. I haven't finished the process by any means, but I know that I love to encourage people and to support people. I also really enjoy being alone and writing and thinking. So I will be excited to see how this will progress and develop over time.

The conference ended with Donald Miller giving all of the profits from the conference to the participant Lori, who was going to take her life in a new direction by starting a program to educate homeless children. Lori herself lives in a homeless shelter and volunteers there by teaching homeless children who wouldn't be successful in a conventional school. We all volunteered to help Lori in some way (if we were so inclined, which I was) or to do a special project in helping other people live a better story.

Years ago I was a life coach, experienced in some different types of energy work, and I offered to support Lori one-on-one to coach her through some personal issues on her way to making her program successful. I don't know if she'll call me, as there were hundreds of people who offered to help, but I know that I would be delighted if she did, and that it would probably help me as much if not more than it would help her. I would enjoy it very, very much. I loved being a very small part of her story.

Being in Portland was challenging, as we stayed in a pretty rugged old musty hotel and didn't sleep well at night, so we spent most of the time away from the actual conference trying to get caught up on sleep. I did go to Powells' Bookstore (the largest independent bookstore in the world) but I was so tired that I could hardly see the titles on the books or really appreciate being there. It was also really hot the whole time--an unexpected heat wave--and our hotel's so-called a/c didn't work. So we were glad to get home, and recover here. We were by no means sorry we went though, and viewed the discomfort as a minor thing in the interests of being at such a great conference.

I'm not sure how this will affect my life right now, I just know that it will!

~Photos by LoveHubbie Mark, edited by pictures from the conference itself except LoveHubbie sleeping (really), unfortunately...


CrystalChick said...

I'm happy you had such an amazing weekend.
I'm not familiar with Donald Miller or his work but it sounds interesting.
That 'not caring about what other people thought' part ... a bit difficult for me too. Definitely! But I do get that, as you said, to be successful one has to focus. As people judge and misunderstand you for being introverted, I have people who judge and misunderstand me for being too extroverted. So we're both dealing with similar things at times but coming at them from different directions.

It was very kind of you to offer Lori some coaching! I'm sure if she does get in touch it will be a rewarding experience for both of you.

Have a nice weekend, Olivia! :)

Olivia said...

That's so interesting, Mary! I never thought anyone would judge anyone else for being too extroverted. It's usually thought of as a good thing--lots of friends, "doing" lots of fun things, going places, having parties, being "social". There is the word "anti-social" which we associate with disturbed criminals, but "super-social" isn't thought of as bad normally, just someone who likes people and who people like too, someone who does a lot of things and is out and about.

But it goes to show you that people can and will judge us for just about anything, right?

Thanks for commenting, Mary. I enjoyed your post from today as well!


patti said...

Lori is a lucky person to have people such as Donald Miller and yourself there to offer assistance when in need. I sincerely hope she finds a better life.

Angela said...

That sounds like an incredible conference, O. I'm glad you got to do it and found it so fulfilling.

Take care,


CrystalChick said...

That I will talk to anyone, anywhere, about most anything sometimes is an issue for me, and others at times.
My husband occasionally asks me if I have paused long enough to breathe when in conversation. haha And it's true. I get to going on about something and don't stop easily. LOL Part of it is my natural enthusiam. I like many kinds of people and enjoy varied experiences with them but that's not always what they need or want.
If you and I ran into each other somewhere, I might unnerve you a bit because you are a quieter, more reserved type person and I'm a chatty, curious type.
Now with my husband, sometimes the issue is ... other men. Ron's a bit jealous by nature. If he sees me and a man we don't know in conversation... say just making small talk in line at the grocery store...he would probably start to feel uncomfortable because automatically he's thinking that the guy is thinking because I'm paying attention to him I must like him. And since my husband finds me interesting and attractive then of course every other man would too.
If his personal jealousies aren't involved and I'm talking with a woman or one of our male friends he might just say something like, well you two were sure gabby.

So, yes, being too extroverted can definitely be a problem. I do enjoy some very nice friendships, am very social, am considered very open and friendly and all that, but I have to find the balance for when I go toooo far out there and encroach on other people's boundaries.

Olivia said...

Thanks, Patti. Sometimes I wonder if sometimes a dream or a gift can be too big for someone to allow themselves to receive, and I hope this isn't the case with Lori. I hope she lets it ALL in :)

It was, Angela. I'm glad too. It's good to see you here.

Mary, I am actually very chatty and curious--both to the max! I just like to do it one-on-one, not in a group. I compare it to having a television on: if one is on, I can hear it; if two are on, it's hard to focus; if three are on, it gets a bit crazy; with a room of many television sets on, you just want to run out. That's how my brain handles stimulation.

Mary, I think many men are like that--I know my husband is that way too sometimes!

Thanks, you lovely ones, for commenting,



kikipotamus said...

That sounds really amazing. Did LoveHubby also attend the conference or did he just go to support you? Or did he have something happening in the area, too?

Spirit has spoken to me through this post tonight because it echoes a revelation that Sylvain and I had tonight while reading Journey Beyond Words. We both realized that we trust God, but we don't trust other people. Yet other people are just as much a part of God as we are. Our lack of trust manifests in our WORRYING WHAT OTHERS THINK. This was our very revelation tonight...that this is where we are both most stuck. So to come here and see that in bold in your blog post blew me away.

Love, K

Olivia said...

It WAS amazing, Kelly. LoveHubbie came too, to support me, but also because he loves reading Donald Miller's books. Mainly to support me :)

I have some books I'd love to send you, Kelly, ACIM books that you and your group could use. Could you email me an address to send them if you think you'd like them?

Anyway, I feel the same way as you and Sylvain, so this is revelatory for me, too. I trust God..not others. I dislike feeling like I have to defend myself or justify myself, but I don't--I just need to accept that others may not understand me or like me, and that's just the way it is.

Practically, though, it does get hard when you hear people judge you if you're not in the right place. When I'm close to God, I really don't care what anyone thinks. I just feel love for them, instead of shame for acting wrongly or not measuring up in someone else's eyes. This is, I think, one key.

I'm glad for the synchronicity of the post!


Jane said...

I'm glad you had a wonderful experience Olivia. I really liked the experimental part. I truly believe God put us here for a reason and gave us the gifts to prosper. If only I could get quiet enough within myself to understand my purpose.

Olivia said...

Jane, I think that you already know that you are creative. CREATIVE above all! Now, you just need to know the next step. I think it's rare that we know the big picture...I know I don't. And if you are not creative to the max, then no one is! Love to you, O