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  • Catherine Lazen

Same story, different day.

I know, I know. SSDD means, same SHIT different day. But I'm swapping shit for "story", because, well, the shit is what you do, where you do it and who you do it with. So there's your plot, setting and characters....you get the picture.

According to author Christopher Booker, there are seven types of same shit stories people live. Seven. That's it.

No matter when or how or where we live, Booker believes that we play out universal, formulaic dramas without knowing it, thinking about it or doing anything to to make them better. He suggests that an understanding of the seven universal stories can help us think about our same shit so that we can live more fulfilling lives. Like American writer and mythologist, Joseph Campbell, Booker refers to real life stories as "hero's journeys". I invite you to think about your SS on this DD and think about what your SS is all about. Ask yourself: which of these seven stories am I living? Am I playing a part in someone else's story? Am I winning? Losing? Learning? Getting what I want and need?

1. Slaying the Dragon.

(Or storm, monster, abusive father, addiction....) It is a coming of age story of a hero who overcomes challenges, discovers strength, reveals identity and embraces true purpose.

2. The Big Comeback.

The second chance. The do-over. A miraculous re-birth. Hope and forgiveness is what drives the hero on this journey. And the Big Comeback story of this hero inspires others to find courage and start over, even in old age or after failure.

3. The Big Adventure.

The epic quest. A Holy Grail, a perfect girl, buried treasure. It's a hero's search for love, wisdom, fame or fortune. Like knights in shining armor we fight battles, travel great distances, learn lessons and make sacrifices to get what we want.

4. Coming Home

Dorothy goes to Oz only to discover what she knew all along: there's no place like home. For the hero on this journey, going away and stepping out of her comfort zones allows her to discover who she is and who is important to her. The unknown--it's fertile soil for personal growth. Venturing out into harsh, exotic or unfamiliar territory awakens the wisdom, strength and creativity she was born with.

5. Rags to Riches.

Who isn't enchanted by this story? The story of this hero shows the impact of changing circumstances on human relationships. When this hero acquires or loses power, fortune, beauty or sex appeal, does it change who she is? Does it change how she relates to others?

6. The Tragic Fall.

Fate, hubris. The fall from grace, epic disaster, bitter disappointment, unexpected loss-- this tragic hero learns heartbreaking lessons about ego and the perception of power and control. But he also stirs compassion and forgiveness. He inspires change and brings people together in shared purpose.

7. The Comedy of Errors.

It's the same tragic fall from grace -- but this hero slips on a banana peel. Comedy is the different lens through which we look at the same sad and dark side of the human experience. The hero, in his weakness, arrogance or naive ignorance, makes us cry and laugh. The depth and breadth of emotion in this hero's journey are what inspires connection, change or action.

Do you agree or disagree with Booker? Can you think of some fictional or real life heroes whose stories fit into one or more of the seven listed above? If so, post them in a comment!

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