Each of us has a running narrative about who we are and where we’ve been. It’s usually connected to our upbringing, the roles we play, and the masks we wear. Sometimes we share that narrative with others. Often, we don’t even realize we are locked into a particular narrative.
Let’s take a while here to become aware of our internal narrative and to make sure it is working for us that it is supportive, nourishing, and expansive. If we find there are aspects that are not serving us, then we need to rework these parts and do some editing.
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Before I was asked this question myself, I had never really thought about my story. It wasn’t until I began the long process of thinking my narrative through and identifying the gaps, heartaches, and blessings that I started to weave together a more cohesive story. In the ensuing years, I’ve found this ritual is particularly helpful for those who have suffered from trauma.
RITUAL: REWRITE YOUR STORY
Imagine how freeing changing up your story can be. You’ve been carrying this narrative around with you from the very beginning of your life. It’s a story you have told yourself over and over again, as if it were a broken record. A story so ingrained in your essence, so known, so comfortable, so much like a second skin that you are the living, breathing expression of that story. You enact and reenact this story every single day of your life, in all of your interactions, relationships, body movements, facial expressions, speech patterns, postures, styles, and food choices.
If you are perfectly content with all of the aspects of your storyline, then you can stop reading now.
If you’re not, then keep on going. We’re about to refine those aspects of your storyline that are not supporting you, sustaining you, making you feel beautiful, or that are keeping you from growing young. Wherever you are right now in your heroine journey, you have the opportunity to acknowledge the path you are on and to either choose to continue on that same path, or to make a new, different choice. Or, even better yet, you can create a narrative that serves as a map. It is by creating this map that you will obtain the biggest picture and the best perspective. This is what I mean by always becoming.
Oftentimes, it takes some kind of large event to cast us out to a new adventure, away from the known, comfortable, status quo roles we have taken on. It is when the routine of our life gets challenged and from those things that may feel stressful, confusing, or challenging that we find those life-affirming silver linings that provide us with an opportunity for growth. These are the paradoxes life hides and holds for us. The gifts are wrapped inside of the paradoxes. Within those very life experiences that appear senseless and meaningless is often buried an inner truth ripe with meaning and offering depth and growth potential. It is in that liminal state between the old way of knowing and the potential of the new way that the truth is often revealed. This requires patience and the ability to have the courage to slow down, to live with ambiguity for a while, to make time for that reflection so that we can uncover the truth and integrate it into our process of self-actualization. Major life events ofen offer us this opportunity through the form of unexpected wakeup calls.
But, outside of these turning-point moments and experiences that we can’t conjure up, there is a way to slow down and experience self-reflective moments each and every day. You guessed it: rituals. Rituals arrest that status quo state of mind and help us gain a new perspective that allows us to see ourself in a new, refreshing light.
This is a time to discard any notions you might have that new perspectives, stories, and views of the self are only for the young. We are always evolving, always growing, and, in particular, always growing younger. No matter what chapter of life you’re in right now, you always get to write the next one. Our stories are not confined by any sort of boundaries, including age limits.
So, with this ritual, your exercise is to share your story with someone. It might be a trusted friend, your partner, or even a stranger. Share your story with them, paying equal attention to what you share and what you omit. Note how they respond. Note the feelings and thoughts that come up, both as you are sharing the story and after. And then think about your edit. If you have been telling yourself a story that is resulting in harsh, negative thoughts about yourself, then this is a way to get to the roots of the issue, and to pull those roots out! This is an opportunity to tell your story in a more life-affirming manner, with a refreshing, loving perspective. You may even want to consider recording yourself as you tell this story so that you can come back to it later and see how your story has evolved over time.