They were con-artists. "The Brothers Bloom" started their lives as peripatetic foster children. At the ages of 13 and 10, Stephen and Bloom pulled their first con. The older (Stephen) of the two wrote a scenario and wrote roles for himself and his little brother. It was then that little brother Bloom started living a scripted life.

But, twenty-five years later, Bloom decided he wanted out of the con business. He wanted to live "an unwritten life"--not just the life his brother wrote for him. He wanted to live life as it comes, to respond to life as it happened, not plot out each episode according to some idea about what they could get out of it.

I think this is a perpetual conflict in life. What do I do that is fulfilling someone else's dreams? What do I do that satisfy my own desires? How much of who I am is what others have written and how much of my life do I write as I go?

This journey of discovery often begins around age two as children assert their "no" to a parental "yes". It is intensified in early adolescence as piercings and body art flaunt a "unique" self over against parental expectations.

This internal struggle between other's stories and our own story waxes and wanes through life as changes threaten our social identity or our soulful restlessness shakes our internal clarity of ourselves. The changes outside and inside call the self to this soul work of how much of my life is "I" and how much of my life is "we". The spiritual life is the sorting out who we are who we are in relationship to the values that shape our community.

We are all seeking balance between the pre-written lives of someone else's plot and living our own "unwritten life."