There is power in storytelling. The ability to conjure a special setting or place. Characters come to life. An audience’s emotions in the palm of their hand. A storyteller transports you into another adventure. They can make you feel as if you are part of it, or certainly a witness. Someone who knows the inside and out of a situation by invitation of the storyteller.
But what of the stories we tell ourselves?
Today is day 34 of an exercise I am doing on self-healing. Self-healing that is focused on a balance between mind, body and spirit. An accounting of my spiritual, mental, emotional and physical health. Based on when, where, and how I spend my time with each. For 60 days, I have committed to writing and paying attention to who I am becoming. Being present with and for myself. And.., to be truthful.., to intentionally move into the next chapter of my life.
(If you are curious about this last sentence, here is an article I wrote last week. The title is “Are We Living Multiple Lifetimes in One Lifetime” )
What stands out the most for me in this exercise is how the stories I am telling myself affect my day-to-day life. The stories where I tell myself I’m not ready. That I must (or must not) do something. Stories about who I am. Oftentimes the reflections, perspectives or recollection of and from my past.
I have been telling myself for years that ‘fear’ is part of me. That even when it is quiet, it is always there. That fear rules my life. But by reflecting and writing each day about my thoughts and feelings, I realize none of that is true. It is just a story I have been telling myself. Of course I know fear. When it is present it feels real and all encompassing. But it is my telling of the story of my fear that keeps it alive and present.
Self-healing for me is about being healthy, fit, comfortable in my own skin. I write about what goes through my mind or what I am experiencing. I realize I have been carrying the weight of past stories with me. Disappointments, ups and downs, loss of identities and the search for new ones. Each story when told, try’s to stand on its own. But when I get honest with myself, the fact is that they are simply stories gets revealed each time.
In truth we tell ourselves so many stories. Stories about who we are, that sometimes it is hard to know where the line between fiction and non truly lies. That is until we begin to examine them with an objective eye.
Then a sort of water test begins. If this story has truth, it floats. If it is false or outdated, it drifts away into the darkness. Then there are the stories that are half-truths? The ones were the well intentioned heroine or hero is close to the truth. But a veil of distortion is weighing it down. Not quite floating, yet also unwilling to sink into the abyss. What of these stories?
We all have those experiences where we hear an idea or concept that we think makes sense. Only to find out much later we missed a key piece of information or ingredient! Those ah-ha moments when we realize we have to update an old belief. Many times we update the belief, but we forget to change the internal story!
For me when this happens, I keep telling the same old story, but something about it is off. It doesn’t get the laughs or shock or sympathy it use to. I am out of sync with myself. But instead of finding the new story, I try adding more details to the old one. Trying to recapture the glory of the story.
Being aware of your internal stories and checking their current resonance is powerful. It is a great way to begin freeing yourself from the shackles of the past! Storytelling is a gift. But remember to always tell yourself the most recent version of your story! It will keep you current.
With Light, Love, and Laughter