Where do I begin to tell a story of how great love can be? Telling my story is difficult because to tell my story means that I admit–it is my story. Telling my story is in telling it I show myself possibly through angles and lens that may not always be the same, but there is a common point–Me. Telling my story is letting the picture of me in words be attached to the picture of me in photographs. Telling my story connects to the events that happened. Telling my story has a purpose that is beyond just telling my story, but my story opens me up what churns within me and may resonate with others. The idea of telling my story is being influenced by many who tell their stories. I just hit a mental block.
When I tell my story in bits and pieces, my story connects here or there with others’ stories. I do this regularly in conversations that do not feel like I am telling my story. For a few years, I wrote articles like this one on various topics. I had to develop a practice and deadlines in order to accomplish the task. I have no one leading me and I can follow countless others, but I do not want to interfere or sound like them.
Placed on my heart is to move from writing an article to writing my story. It seemed like a doable adventure. I felt somewhat excited about it until… I was hit again with a block. Lately, I feel paralyzed with a ton of motivations and energy to share my story while concurrently the fear of doing so. What if the words stop? Who cares? What purpose does my story tell? What if my story actually attunes with someone else? All of this is petrifying.
But, maybe a better question is: what importance is any story? Our stories connect with other people. Our stories are interwoven with others’ stories which make a tapestry in groups, families and communities. Our stories have characters, context and plot. Our stories have patterns that if examined, they have themes. Themes that are consistent with the owner of the story. In my experience, self-examination is seldom done because it takes profound appreciation, time commitment and willingness to stay in connection long-term to one’s own story.
But, a person—any person—can forge a path of self-discovery. It is not time-limited or sorely apathetic. Self-discovery requires bravery and courage in the honesty of what is discovered. Uncovering the treasure in the muck and mire often may take additional help from outside resources and familiar relationships.
Here is an exercise for a simple beginning. (I never recommend ideas or activities that I haven’t tried myself.) Have you ever heard of a “Me Tree”? It is an activity to identify one’s strengths and recognize what made one’s resiliency. The instructions are easy. Use your creativity if you’d like. There are four basic parts of a tree: roots, trunk, branches and leaves or needles. In this “Me Tree”, the roots are positive qualities, attributes and characteristics. Identify at least three of them while remembering root systems can be entangled and complex. A tree has a trunk. The trunk and the branches are the structure of its systems that it uses to live. The leaves or needles are achievements and accomplishments that can be both tangible and intangible. The specifics of your “Me Tree” are in the how you create it and the meaning it brings to you, your life and those you interact with.
The “Me Tree” is not about selfishness. The “Me Tree” is a beginning of an acknowledgment of what is and how that comes together within you in order for you to do as you were designed, created and has grown to be. The “Me Tree” is an example of “Activities of Awareness” that helps us begin to examine our stories by spotting the qualities that make us individually resilient. This is why it is a good place to begin. Parts of our stories may be difficult to swallow. Parts of our stories may include more pain than we would like to admit to or attempt to look at. Mine does. The “Me Tree” provides an opportunity to witness to ourselves in what is. It is uniquely ours. Be brave.
“The tree is a slow, enduring force straining to win the sky.” Antoine de Saint-Exupéry