Watching our Tigers: Story-telling that will change your life
The Life of Pi is about how we tell our stories. We can choose to tell our stories in a way that illuminates our beauty and humanity, or we can choose to tell a story that confines us, flattens us, or damns us – or others.
Allow me to share:
Four years ago, I got divorced, and ever since then I have had a pithy “divorce story” that I can parade out whenever I speak of the experience. We all have stories like this, where the cliff notes to our unfortunate events are eventually so easily at our fingertips that the narrative has become banal through so many re-tellings.
Last week, I was sharing my divorce story with a friend that I hadn’t seen in a long time. As I spoke, I noticed that my story had begun to shift. In this re-telling, the story had more breath, more compassion, more space. And as my story changed, I experienced these past events from a new place that had more empathy, more perspective…more grace.
We cannot change the past. I cannot change my marriage, my behavior, nor my divorce.
However, at a certain point – after we’ve been accountable – what “actually happened” starts to become strangely besides the point; our stories become ways of holding ourselves into a particular pattern of thought, of defining who we think we are. Do we hold ourselves with love? Do we hold others with compassion? Are we allowed to be vulnerable? Can we fail and still be good?
As conscious creatures, we have the opportunity (NOW) to unpack these old gnarled chestnuts, to nourish them with compassion and allow them to uncurl from their defensive crouches.
We can choose – in an instant – to change our stories.
And in changing how we speak of our past, we transform how we perceive our “now”.
Choose your favorite indignations. Choose your most grievous mistakes.
Re-tell your story. Soften. Is there a new road through the brambles of your narrative? Is there a path with more space, more light, more kindness?
Can you hold yourself and your past with the soft hands of grace?