The Role of Tension and Resolution

We’ve been studying the Mono-myth Structure — the metaphor of transformation. Today, we’re going to talk about the bulk of the story: the second Act, where all the action happens.

Death & Resurrection — The Initiation Phase
& Role of Tension and Resolution

Last week, I gave you a MAP and the 6 Stage Plot Structure that 99% of all blockbuster movies follow, as we continue down this rabbit hole, I’ll show you how I use it. 

Let’s start with why.

The mind is a story creating machine. It needs to make sense of the world.

Uncertainty creates mental and physical tension that must be resolved. It doesn’t matter it’s real or imagined. It matters even less if the resolution supports your future self. 

Think about what I just wrote there. Pull at that thread, and you will begin to understand why you do the things you do. You might even figure out how to finally take the actions to create what you really want in life. 

My hope is at minimum your realize:

  • You’re not the Master of Self-Sabotage. 
  • You don’t need to “suck it up buttercup.” 
  • And you might not actually be your own worst enemy.

The human brain is wired a very particular way for very outdated reasons. 

We started this discussion with a TedTalk by Tony Robbins titled “Why We Do What We Do.”

The Thing About Uncertainty/Certainty

Tony tells us brain craves variety, and hates uncertainty. 

Tension needs resolution. That’s why we make shit up. Tell ourselves stories. Fill in the blanks. Pretend that we know. 

We speculate. Theorize. Justify. And backfill logic to give events meaning, context, and bring continuity to our ongoing narrative. 

And it’s pretty relatively easy to identify with just about anything. Most of it has nothing to do with you. Yet, you’ll spend most of your life trying to fix things that fantasized into existence. 

It’s worse if you’ve been on a path of personal development for any length of time. 

Some of the tools we’ve collected are designed to arbitrarily release tension

Fact is you probably need more tension to create the live you crave. 

A Distinction Between Tension and Friction

Later, we’ll go through an exercise called Groundhog Day in an attempt to look at your current reality more objectively.

Discover your own delusions. Uncover your assumptions. Notice the patterns of prediction and response as they play out in your life. 

At that point, we’ll unpack the Butterfly Effect and look at how the Identity hijacks your attention, distracts you, and forces you to take actions against your own best interest. 


The MAP is a Metaphor.

The Ultimate Boon is the manifestation of something you want to create in your life. 

The path of Initiation follows natural cycles of tension and release until you get to the Ultimate Release — Death & Resurrection, then return home with what you’ve discovered about yourself.

I found this on google images somewhere. If it’s yours, let me know. I’ll link out to you.

“Between stimulus and response there is a space. 
In that space is our power to choose our response. 
In our response lies our growth and our freedom.” 
—Viktor Frankl

Up to this point, it may seem like we’re going to war with the Identity.

And to some degree that is accurate. 

But, if you stay with me here, I’m going to show you the path of least resistance — I’m going to help you get comfortable in that space between. Stop filling in the GAPs of knowledge with speculation. Quit trying to solve every ‘problem’ or correct every mistake. 

Take back your power to choose your responses by creating the proper type of tension and allowing it to resolve itself.

GAPs and Bridges

The MAP shows the path of the GAP between Identity and Essence (where you are and where you want to be). 

What we want to do, is build a bridge for that GAP, and Bridges require both deep foundations and structural tension. 

We’re not used to feeling that tension. Most of us have trained ourselves to resolve it too early. We’ve confused it with a lower state of being. Our brain interprets it as anxiety that needs soothed or expressed. Tension sends us into freeze, fight, or flight mode. 

When that happens the ability of objective observation comes in handy — helps you see your response to tension. 

This takes time. 

It’s different for everyone. You’re the only one who can see your own perspective, and observe what you do when no one is watching. You are the only one who gets to choose what’s right for you. 

Before you continue…

Be careful with this.

It’s easy to adopt some idealized version of self and trap yourself in a maze of should — convince yourself all sorts of things about what you deserve and don’t.

The motif of Death & Resurrection show up so often at the end of the maze of should. The Ego is a Hydra that Guards 3 Gates of your magical creative realm. 

It makes perfect sense for the allegory to play out where the Dragon is Killed and the person who started the journey dies and is reborn in their full essence. 

That pattern plays out over and over again. 

It’s instinctual — but, I’ll let you in on a little secret. 

The battle can be won. You can Kill your demons over and over again.

But, if that becomes tiresome…

Consider a different way of Dealing with Your Demons. 

I’m a huge fan of the Dr. Jekyll/Mr Hyde motif — especially the modern version of it — Dr Bruce Banner/Incredible Hulk.

One of my biggest struggles is that I’m very consciously aware of darker impulses. I experience a very nuanced emotional pallet. Highs and Lows — that might be a mixture childhood trauma, a brain injury, and some Bi-Polar tendencies.

I’ve struggled with the feeling of being insignificant my whole life. Not enough-ness and shame are a default mode for me. It manifests through me as Anger and Rage — which feeds the cycle of shame. 

The first 47 seconds of this clip explains a different way…

When I stopped trying to live up to an idealized version of who I should be, stopped trying to be Mr. Spiritual Guy —- The conflict resolved differently. 

It finally feels okay to be me… if I feel things that I “Shouldn’t”. 

Next up, we’ll talk about the Invisible Barriers to Living Your Best Life.

Hope this helps.

Love your face!


PS Reach Out if You want to discuss this.

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