I say the events usually have a “moral” dimension because I believe in karma, and I think this review is summarizing choices you made or things that happened to you that were key elements in the challenges you were incarnated to meet.
Some who believe in reincarnation say that when your soul is between lives, it “chooses” the next life for certain challenges. Will you be a rich and corrupt person, a victim of violence, a severely disabled person, a bland person whose inner dreams are foiled? (The goal of every life is to “grow your soul.” Level of difficulty can be easy or hard.)
When we write fiction, we try to introduce, into our main character’s story, something called a plot point. Usually there are only two major plot points in a play or a novel, with a few “pinch points.” A major plot point is a significant event that spins the action around in another direction. (See Larry Brooks’ Story Physics.) Brooks says that, in a novel, “something enters the story in a manner that affects and alters the hero’s status, plans, and beliefs, forcing him to take action.” It “raises the stakes” in the story and usually involves conflict. Plot points are challenges the writer made up to make the story interesting.
In fact, I think the key to creating a fictional story is inventing or conceiving a few plot points or pivot points that fascinate you and reveal a character’s deeper identity and struggles. Something HAPPENS, in the course of a story; there’s a change. Someone falls in love and is transformed. Someone is murdered and the detective pursues the murderer. A kid rises from poverty and discovers a magnificent drug.
Every one of us has a story, a life story. People who write their memoirs are mining their lives for significant events. Things that “shaped their lives,” “made them who they are,” “became their identity.”
A therapist may ask you, “name a few adjectives that describe you,” or “name some of your failings.” And behind those are probably a story: why you think you were “made” Strong. Sweet. Mean. Kind. Boring. Dynamic. Sad.
Catherine Bateson, the daughter of Margaret Mead and Gregory Bateson, wrote a memoir called Composing a Life. She was capturing the idea that we make our lives, either through reacting to what happens, or working to have things turn out a certain way.
What is your life story? If you were a character in a novel, how would you describe you? What are some of your “plot points?” How do you want the rest of the story to go? What are your big themes?
Recently a friend told me about a person in her life who caused her extreme, constant distress. (She is seeing a therapist.) Since she’s a writer, I suggested that she write a short narrative about “my life without this person in it.” How would you be different if you could change a giant negative element in your emotional life? (“What if…”)
The principle is: “Live as if you are the author of the story of your life.” What kind of character are you creating? What’s happened to them? What do you want to happen next? What would you like to see in that “life review?”