Stories tell us about ourselves. From them we can learn what our passions are, our themes, our obsessions, and our essential values—if we’re awake. Then, when life demands whatever it does of us, we may go forth, enchanted by our stories, into the unknown to meet our challenges, delight in the magic, wrestle with our losses, and design new futures.
Your stories need not be heroic. Simple stories of the day to day return us to the enchantment of our own lives. They are explorer stories. As Pat says, “There is no time off. It is all here in the moment. Even the littlest things can make a big impact—if we’re awake.” If we’re not, we wait for someday, hoping to understand, waiting to feel less pain, looking forward to the day it will all turn out. Interestingly enough, the heroic is in the day-to-day. So many of us step up to the plate over and over again in quiet ordinary ways. It is important to recognize our own heroic journeys.
We all have personal anecdotes, things we tell about, things that happen to us. Often we don’t see them as stories. “Nothing much happens to me,” you might say. “I really don’t have anything interesting to say. My life just goes along. It’s not like yours where so much happens.”
I say, “Your life is interesting too. It is full of stories.” Things happen every day, and as you allow yourself to look, to exercise your story muscles, you will re-member your life. To remember means to put the members back together. It means to become whole again—from here, today at midlife and beyond. There is nothing missing except the courage to create life anew through your own view and your own voice.
To remember your life through story is a very ordinary yet very exciting process. I encourage you to start listening to yourself, seeing with new eyes; not the eyes of the culture, your mother, your husband or your friends. Who are you now? What happened the day you lost your passion? When are you happiest? What are you missing that you would like to have again? What do people say about you that if you looked at it from your own perspective you would see differently?
In addition, get out your paints or buy some—even if, in your opinion, you’re not an artist – and play with color. Start singing along with the radio. Dance down the hall of your apartment building. Spend some time with yourself. All of the indigenous healers’ questions apply to you. What taking them on reveals will help you find your stories.