I would like to sing it from the mountaintops, because from these heights, we are naturally attuned to the wind and sun, and know how to soar. So I want to sing it out into the vast open spaces:
Own your story! Do not be afraid of the story you have to tell, of the origins and destinations of you!
There are volcanic eruptions of stories within, whispers of tales and storms of stories waiting to be heard, and told.
Our stories are the great vehicle to our identity, our connection to the world and to each other. We first exist and experience, and then we remember, and this is how we come into being.
Without our memories, we would have very little sense of self, and we would be unable to craft the story of our lives.
What a great power we have been given!
We are not novels.
We are not written, bound and preserved for all time. Novels are open to interpretation, of course, and our interpretations tend to change with the passing years, but the master text remains fixed, unchangeable, immutable.
We are not novels. We are living, breathing, beautiful beings, both master of the story, and also its sparkling star.
We are the legacy of the oral tradition, vibrant muse to the keeper of the story, passing through time like a kaleidoscope, shifting in colour and tone with every teller, and every listener. And we are the teller, and we are the listener, every time; we have it in us to tell the ever-changing, ever fluid story of us.
I’d love to say that no one can tell your story but you.
We know this isn’t true.
People try to tell our stories for us all the time. From our very first breath, before we know what a story is, our nearest and dearest have started at it. They were waiting for us, have hopes and dreams pinned on us and who we should be. Our teachers, our friends, those we have conflicts with—they all have stories about us, just as we have about them.
Stories, because they create realities, are tremendously empowering, but they can also be limiting and destructive.
Let’s not make the mistake of thinking others’ stories are ours to tell, or that our own stories are etched in stone, carved with the opinions, feelings and judgements of others, or even our past selves, from all those years ago.
Even from 10 minutes ago.
We are so much more than that. Every single one of us is so much more than that.
Let’s be more than our old stories. Let’s at least recognize how many possible stories there are.
And let’s not haphazardly invent stories about ourselves, to suit others, or pacify ourselves.
No, let’s go deep, and engage with our ancestral wisdom, extract the nature and essence of who we are from the widest, most cosmic and expanded version of all we have been.
Let’s gather a community of dear ones we love and trust deeply, and together hold a space until our stories appear before us, and we can weep for the sad, and sing for the joyous, and contemplate the connections we can form and build a life from.
Let’s be living, breathing embodiments of the greatest stories on Earth, every moment.
Let’s let our stories enlighten us about the power of our potential and the dangers of setting restrictions.
And when we are ready, let’s let them go.
Waking up every day, we will remember those parts of our story that feed our very best intentions for being in the world as conscious humans, with our own individual gifts, which we can use to benefit others, to serve us, and to express our best selves.
But let’s also honour the space around this core, meant to be porous and flexible, that allows the story to be re-written as often as it demands to be, if we listen gingerly, and with great care.
We have the power to let this happen. It won’t be done without us. Stories do not just arise. They require our attention and artistry, our purest, most clear awareness and ideally, our very greatest and kindest love and respect for ourselves.
Let’s cherish our stories as long as they let us thrive and resonate with joy, and not allow any re-writing that feeds old fears and confirm the worst we’ve ever felt about ourselves.
Let’s value and respect the the stories of others, but let’s also, from a place of love, build a protection around ourselves so that we can remain in charge of how our story goes.
For that’s the beauty of a story. It can be valued and shared. And when it’s no longer useful, it can ease gently into the wind, fly away with the birds, and leave us with every chance at a new story to tell.
Author: Tammy T. Stone
Editor: Catherine Monkman
Photo: Author’s Own