Monday, December 1, 2014

The Gift of Story

type the end

Every year for Christmas I give myself a gift. I know that may sound a little selfish, but really, who is more deserving than you of receiving something that speaks to your true, beautiful self? I don't necessarily mean something like a trip to Aruba or a new car (although both would be lovely). I'm talking about a gift that touches the real you, the you that struggles year in and year out to be the best "you" that you can be? One year I gifted myself a sponsorship of a wolf in Idaho. The connection with that animal gave me something more precious than money. Another year I gave myself a DVD set of a weekend workshop with Louise Hay and Cheryl Richardson that also had life-changing results.

This year I thought I would do it a little differently. First, I decided that I would give myself four gifts, one for each of the weeks leading up to Christmas. Second, I decided to share those gifts with all of you, for all of the wonderful gifts you have given me over the years. So, here we go with Gift #1: The Gift of Story.

Where would we be without our stories? Who would we be without our stories? All the experiences, the joys and sorrows, our upbringing, our cultural environment, our illnesses, our losses and our gains. But do all of these things really tell the story of who we are, or are they simply a list of experiences that happened outside of ourselves and our reactions to them? Are we still living our lives in reaction to the things that happened to us in the past? And what kind of a story about ourselves are we passing on to our children and grandchildren as they venture out into the world to write their own stories?

I don't believe that our stories have to be about why we are the way we are, as if it is all about the fault of someone or something else. We can certainly tell a story of how we experienced these things and, good or bad, what we learned from them that can benefit us going forward as we write the next chapter. I would certainly prefer to tell my grandchildren stories of the experiences of my life that touched my authentic self and how that made me a better person. I want them to know what is best about Grandma. I want them to remember holidays filled with magic and cookies, of playing in the snow, of helping them write their letters to Santa. I want them to remember the stories that came from special moments spent together, and about the wisdom about the world that they learned at my side. I'm not tooting my own horn here. I'm writing my story.

So for this week, I give you all the gift of story. You are the author and you can write it any way you want. It doesn't have to be a fairy tale. Even real stories can end with "and she lived happily ever after" if you're the one who is writing it. What will you write?
And so it is.