Stories

Rain by Shel SilversteinRain.  Heavy, steady rain.  The dry ground soaks it up as if it cannot get enough. In an old camping trailer the rain drums rhythmically on the roof, making me feel cozy, yet restless.  Rest-less, as in unable to sleep.  A sense of urgency, of needing to be gone from here before the rains turn to snow, yet still uncertain of the direction.

There is no right or wrong, really, in terms of decision.  Any step leads to a new place, new experience, new stories.  Or unexpected repetitions of old stories. Who are we without our stories?  We define ourselves as this or that, some definitions carried forward from childhood, some developed along the way, some evolving out of radically new experiences, some out of a sense of unending sameness.  Day by day our actions are guided by what we tell ourselves about who we are and what we are capable of.  (Never end a sentence with a preposition, goes a story from high school English class.)

Our stories become our identities.

That’s not a bad thing – it is what being human is all about.  Stories, adventures, experience.  “Everyone should write their memoirs,” Tanza said to me once, her point being that every life is fascinating.  We all have a story, multiple stories that have helped shape who we are in this moment, and have brought us to this point in our lives.   Some of our stories have been adventure stories, filled with travel and excitement, while others are stories of staying home, building family and garden and community.  Some have been comedies, romantic comedy maybe, or even black comedy… Romance, drama, mystery, how about a fairy tale?  Horror stories?  Tear-jerkers?  Happily-ever-after stories?

Ok, maybe I am carrying the metaphor too far, but really, if you think about your own stories ~ the places you’ve been, the people you know, the weaving in and out of connections and paths, incidents and co-incidents ~ it is all fascinating.  Step back for a moment from the drama of your life and see it as if you were reading a book, or watching a movie.  If we can step back, become an observer in our own stories,  we can let go for a moment of  “the way things are suppose to be” and see “what is” with new appreciation.

If I step back from this drama of not knowing where I’m going (what i judge as the failure of instinct) and see it all as story, will a new door open up?  will i see possibilities where I had seen none before?  Maybe, maybe not, but I might be able to appreciate it a bit more as Adventure.

So who writes these stories?  Is it us?  The so-called new age movement had us all believing that we create our own reality – and for those of us who bought in to that we eventually found that such a unexamined belief just leads to guilt, and the overwhelming sense that we must not be good enough, or not doing something right, because our reality sucks, and it’s not at all what we meant to create…..

There is some truth to creating our own reality, as in writing our stories, making our decisions, choosing how to face the situations of our lives. But here’s the other thing…. we can’t see with the long lens of time.  We can’t see all possible outcomes from our small human perspective.  We are, in these human forms, limited.  Can you see what’s  around the next bend before you get there?

Sometimes, despite our best intentions, and for reasons we can’t figure, our stories take us in to dark places, and we wonder how we got here, how we will get out.  Other times, we unexpectedly rejoice in the glory of choices well made, stories well written.  Maybe those really dark places hold nuggets of wisdom and joy that we could not come into any other way, or maybe the things we thought we wanted most are not the stories that bring us the most joy.   We don’t know, can’t know before hand….

No matter what stories we live – this direction or that,  this choice or the other – there is no right or wrong.  It’s all an adventure. We are humans,  maybe just many expressions of god experiencing an amazing range of emotion and actions and stories.  Whatever the plot, our storDeuce and the Dalai Lamaies shape us, give meaning to our lives, create ways for us to share who we are.

Maybe that’s the important thing here: stories need to be shared to be appreciated.  We need to share our stories with one another, give up harsh self judgment for self appreciation, and come together in community to appreciate all stories – to laugh and cry and love and share in the full experience of being Human.   Our stories give us food for relationship; they are beautiful no matter the content, and bring out the tenacity and beauty in each one of us.

How do I write my future story?  I cannot see with the fullness of time what outcome my choice today might ultimately have.  My view is narrowed, limited by the current version of my story.  All I can do, all any of us can do, is to make our choices with integrity and maybe a bit of faith, trusting instinct, taking action, being in the moment, and loving the adventure of once upon a time.

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Published in: on October 24, 2010 at 13:12  Comments (2)  
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