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writing monday: who we were

I was the girl who...

I was the girl with the bad Dorothy Hamil haircut, who wore hand-me-down clothes and liked to play “explorer” along the side of the creek. I was the goofball girl who talked too much in class. I was the girl who rolled up the right leg of her pants so it didn’t get snagged in the chain, the girl who had to be outside, riding her bike, no brakes, down the 57th street hill and through the stop sign below. I was the girl whose parents smoked and swore, the skinny girl who walked up to Don’s Superette each week and spent all of her allowance on candy….

When we were small, before the opinions of friends, family, and society crept into our heads about who and what we were supposed to be, we were fully ourselves. Fully and authentically ourselves.

Who were you?

If you observe a room of kindergarteners long enough, a spectrum of personalities begins to emerge: the outgoing boy, first to raise his hand, grunting at the teacher to call on him, and the introspective boy, reading a book quietly an a blue square because it’s his favorite color.  The creative girl, tangles in her hair and mismatched clothes, intensely drawing pictures for her friends during “choice time;” and the animal lover, poking her toy stethoscope into the teddy bear’s chest. 

If you observe a room full of kindergarteners, you see a glimpse of the essence and spirit of each child.

Who were you?

Writing Exercise: Beginning with the words, “I was the girl/boy who…” tell the story of who you were as a little girl/boy.

Our stories are powerful reminders of our own essence, spirit, and strength. When we remember who we were and what we dreamed and hoped for, we are better able to ground ourselves in who we are now. Use this prompt when you feel lost or are seeking direction in your life that will resonate with your truth and soul.

 

 

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story therapy

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I was thinking about the words “journal therapy” and what they mean, what it means.  And I decided a better name for what I do is “story therapy.”  We can heal and inspire and move ourselves by simply seeing, owning, and grabbing hold of the very story we are living. 

When we write about our lives, we may step back and see our lives as they really are—an epic story filled with surprises and let downs, work and luck, longing and failing and growing.  All of our experiences—the good and the bad—contain the little stories that make up the epic story of our lives.  No one before and no one after will ever live the same story.  Our lives are unique and profound.

The moments that inspire us, fill us with hope and break our hearts are chapters; the phases that take us to our knees and make us grow are the arcs; the angels and villains, our family and friends are the characters; what we say and how we say it is the voice of the narrator (voice of ourselves). 

This is story.

What we are wondering or struggling with right now won’t be what we are wondering or struggling with tomorrow.  Our lives are in constant motion, and if we are going to take charge of this story, then we need to step into it, both feet on the ground. 

When we do this, we can use our creativity and determination to figure out how to be a hero within our own story.

Remember, a good story is well-textured—it goes up and down, (imagine a heart rate monitor telling you if you are alive or not) moving with the tides of our lives.  No one wants to read a perfect story about a perfect character living a perfect life.   We don’t want to read this story and we don’t want to live this story.

We are moved when we triumph over struggle, when we walk through our fear, and when we grow and heal from broken hearts.  These are the things that move us.  And without them, there is no story.  Just a flat line.

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