There's a Way You Write the Story...

The more I work with my own stories, the slower it seems I go.  The first expedition is, What is the story?, and the second is, What does it mean?  I tell it again, and again, to one friend after another.  And then I listen to every word they say when I'm finished. 

The reason this story's so hard to tell is that you're still living it.

This is an important story for you--one of your life stories.  It will look very different a few years from now.

It's okay to tell it with your current understanding, even though it won't be your last, and to create it anew with each new listener, with every telling.

We churn over a single story for days, or weeks, coming back to it later to let it teach us something new.  Then I realize why this work is slow and consuming:  there's a way you write the story, and there's a way the story writes you.  The way it frames your past and informs your present, always changing and growing along with you as if it is a living thing.  And, indeed it is:  a story is a companion, not a history book gathering dust. 

There's a way in which a story can change everything, casting a new light on all we see.  Just as it shows us how far we've come, it reveals a distance still to be traveled, or lessons that keep cycling back, beckoning our mastery.  After taking a turn in the chair, I lay down on the table and surrender to its hands.  And sometimes I don't get up again for a very long time.

Confessions, Part 4: Happy to Forget Who I Am

Our stories are like our fingerprints. Distinct. Like no one else's. Completely unique and completely human. It's why giving people a voice is so important. We NEED everyone's stories. We NEED your story. --Rowena Murillo

I wanted to make sure no one missed this comment that Rowena left on yesterday's post.  It had me saying a loud "Amen!" just before pulling the covers over my head.  I don't understand this dynamic in myself--it seems that knowing you have something the world needs might inspire a person, or spur her to action, but in my case it often feels like the opposite occurs.

I'm so happy to tell other people how important their work is, or how the world needs it.  How they must not give up. And these things are all true.  But often, I'm trying to shirk something off on them--if I can get them to tell stories that change the world, I'll be off the hook from having to do the same myself.  Or I try auditioning for the role of their sidekick, so I can come along for their ride.  If you are wondering how annoying this must be, just ask my friends.  I'm sure they'll be happy to tell you.

This is a mystery to me: why part of me knows exactly who I am and another part tries relentlessly to forget.  There's a possibility that I'm not willing to claim, and a fear that I haven't yet been able to name, and they are skittering through the shadows in my internal attic. 

But I'm onto them now, and the hunt is on.


How about you? Over the weekend, use your TMWY pages to hunt for unclaimed possibilities and unnamed fears.  We can share our wounds and triumphs next week.

Part Two: The Journey Together

Part Two: The Journey Together from Jen Lee on Vimeo.

(Pre-recorded with love.)

After an 18-hour travel day, my body is home and my soul is doing its best to catch up.  We're going to be easing ourselves gently into the day over here.

I was moving my pen across the paper at 50,000 feet last night after many days of not doing so. If you haven't been moving your pen across your paper or if you have moved it along your way, we are still together.

And there is nothing wrong.

So this is me, just as I am, welcoming you, just as you are, back to this place where we meet--back to the knowledge that there are always hands to hold us, wherever we are.  Back to the remembrance that we are never alone beyond reach or lost beyond finding.

There is always the journey. And being together is the only way to go.

My store is back on-line, for those of you who have waited so patiently for my return.