The stories of our lives

As autumn is showing signs of reappearing I am reminded of how change is prevalent in all things, and change doesn’t leave my life untouched.

Change in the forests of England, the crop now harvested and the Earth turned up again by the plow. A summer has passed and children are back in school. Office car parks fill up once more and the hamster will starts spinning faster. Ah, Autumn.

Yesterday a friend joined me for a days walk through the Ouse Valley. Only that this is someone I’ve met only 3 times in my life. You know when you meet someone for the first time and before a word is even exchanged you feel a strong bond already? This is how I feel with this friend. Perhaps it’s the story told through her eyes that means something to me somehow. Perhaps it’s her gentle smile and unassuming nature which touches my own soul, some part of me that perhaps I’ve neglected over the years. Such folk make great company for a long walk.

Anyone who has walk any part of the meandering Ouse Valley in Bedfordshire will have come across the picturesque villages which are dotted along the region and the wildlife reserves providing sanctuaries of peace to anyone who cares to rest there.

My friend talked of the changes in her life since we had last spoken 6 months before. She weaved these recent events in her life into a story where she was the main character and she was the author, and narrator. The significant changes she spoke of seem to give the context and a platform to apply herself in the world in a meaningful way, in a way which is true for her.

How story telling is a powerful device for moving through ones life with grace. Story telling offers time to reflect and give meaning to events, and adjust our sails to keep the ship sailing towards our destined paths. Giving meaning to life is a self-empowering gift because it helps us learn the lessons which may need to be learned, to atone for things we need to atone for and move on from them. Whilst in reflection we look at the good and bad, but giving meaning to the events in our lives requires us to give bias to the good in things so that we don’t get caught in muddy waters but rather we keep our energies in motion, moving towards our souls purpose.

It was a tough 26km walk and my water-proof boots failed to keep my feet dry as we trawled through muddy fields. She spoke of her plans to take a sabbatical from work next year as she thought of the decisions she will have to make after she finished her masters degree and some projects at work. Much of 2014 for her will be a time where she takes one step forward and two steps “back” before she makes committed decisions to take one giant leap forward. My boots reminded me of how a good foundation can provide a way of trawling through pretty much anything whilst we prepared to take a giant leap in life, or in this case a 16 mile walk with dry feet.

Change sometimes comes unexpected, but often it is expected. Rather than running around the familiar hamster wheel or repeating the same mistakes I am reminded how time for reflection and weaving the events of our lives into stories can keep us energised and motivated to live our lives more truly and more deeply with each passing Autumn.

Thank you R. Whitford for your company and wisdom.

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