The Five Stages of Personal Myth-Making

The natural five-stage sequence around which the tasks and activities of the personal mythology model are organized can be easily summarized:

1. A prevailing guiding myth (thesis) becomes outdated or otherwise dysfunctional.

2. The psyche generates alternative myths: one of these gathers critical mass as a “counter-myth” (antithesis), and it begins to challenge the prevailing myth.

3. The two engage in a dialectic, a deep struggle between thesis and antithesis, largely outside the person’s awareness, but impacting (and often creating havoc within) that person’s perceptions, feelings, thoughts, and behavior.

4. A synthesis, a new guiding myth, is gradually formulated deep within the psyche which, ideally, incorporates the qualities of both the prevailing myth and the counter-myth that best support the person’s positive development.

5. This new myth is reconciled with the person’s life structure and begins to shape that person’s thoughts, feelings, choices, and actions.

At any point in your life, any of your guiding myths may be going through any of these stages of mythic transformation. This applies both to large core myths of the “Who am I, where am I going, and why,” or “The world is safe [or unsafe]” variety, as well as to highly specific guiding myths, such as “I’m not good at making conversation,” or “My daughter will be a champion skater.” The program in this book encourages you to focus on a core area of your mythology and to bring skill and focused awareness to its transformation. As the program moves through each of the five stages, specific tasks and activities are outlined for facilitating a successful resolution of each of the stages.