Saturday, July 7, 2012

My Storyline Experience


At the Storyline conference my husband and I attended in June, Donald Miller made numerous references to what he calls “inciting incidents.” The term describes those events or circumstances in our lives that actuate change. From my seat on the front row, I wanted to ask him if attending this conference counted as an inciting incident. I had just read the book The War of Art that describes how when a character wants something, they must overcome obstacles to get it.

I wanted to attend the Storyline conference. I had to overcome numerous obstacles just to be there on the campus of Westmont College in Santa Barbara to even attend to the message Donald shares about story, and how each of us can actually live a better story than the one we are living now. Which, by the way, being there was 80%. Santa Barbara is glorious. Things grow there. And places on campus looked like the garden at Giverny that inspired some of Monet's paintings.
Hydrangeas bloomed as big as inflated balloons. 
 And during breaks, people soaked in surroundings that encouraged reflection.
"You too can live a better story."

But actually, a few weeks later an inciting incident occurred, one that has the potential to help me live a better story. At the wedding reception for a friend, a conversation with a younger woman who is better acquainted with my daughter than with me led up to and ended with a challenge. She and her husband ride bikes. In fact, to celebrate their 50th birthdays this year, they took a bike tour of New Zealand. Some serious bike-riders.

And this couple actually glows. I see this aura of health surrounding each of them. They make me want to be a better person.

Imagine my chagrin when she said that she and her husband expect my husband and me to start riding with them on September 1. 

"We know where you live," she said. "We will come for you on September 1. Be ready."

So, my husband got our bikes out of mothballs, and then decided I needed a new bike. And yesterday he bought me a new bike––entry level, hybrid (street and mountain bike, based on the type of riding we plan to do), a Giant bicycle, vastly superior to my cruiser––so that I have incentive as well as inspiration.

What they say about riding a bicycle, well, I remember how to pedal. When Greg, the owner of the bike shop, asked what prompted our purchase––not hard to tell that it’s been a while since I’ve ridden a bike––ping! I knew I had had an inciting incident. 
During this morning’s ride, whole new vistas have opened: First, Texas Tech campus, and perhaps Palo Duro Canyon and Big Bend in the fall. I hope so. 

Donald Miller would be proud.