In this season when various religious traditions tell ancient, yet powerful, sacred stories, I would like to invite you to reflect on the story you are telling with your life. Diwali, the Festival of Lights, which occurred several weeks ago, along with Hanukkah which overlapped Thanksgiving this year, and Christmas, which occurs next week, all celebrate stories in which light overcame darkness in some way. These ancient celebrations lift us up through the power of sacred story. I invite you to see your life as telling a story which can also lift people up through the power of the sacred aspects of your life.
Have you ever thought of your life as a story? Have you ever realized that the way you live your life tells a story? Whose story are you telling? Is your life your story? Is your life telling a story on behalf of a higher purpose, a higher vision, or a higher power?
I’ve been an ordained minister for over 19 years, and, while I was not serving churches that whole time, I have, nonetheless, performed a lot of funerals over the years. When I perform a funeral, I do my heartfelt best to tell the story of a person’s life when I give their eulogy. I lift up the very best of who that person was, I tell the favorite stories of loved ones and friends, I tell how their life made a difference in the lives of others, and I tell how their story lifted up certain values and virtues.
When I was writing my book Aging Well – Be Your Best Self Forever! I decided to invite people to reflect on the story they are telling with their lives. It occurred to me that when we ask the question “what story am I telling with my life?” we can begin to be more intentional about the choices we are making, and begin to tell our lives differently if we would like to do so.
Your life, your story, has power to it. There is a certain narrative cohesiveness in all of our lives, even the seemingly disjointed ones, that tells others here is what she or he was all about in this world; here’s the ultimate impact he or she had. You have an impact on this world. The way you live speaks of values and priorities in ways that you probably are not even aware.
All of us have the potential to tell the story of our lives on purpose, rather than by accident. So, I invite you to reflect on your life, to tease out the threads which weave a meaningful story.
As you reflect back on your life, think about all the people who have made a difference in your life. Who stands out as having a big impact on you, and why? What difference did they make in your life and in you? Did you learn anything of ultimate value, anything sacred or of lasting importance from them?
When you think of being a very young child, perhaps two or three, what memories do you have? Were you happy and healthy? Was there any significant struggle at that time? Did your family love you and did you feel safe and loved? Was your life a wild adventure or a nightmarish hell?
When you think of being a school-aged child, what values did your family and school life impart to you? What was the best part of life at that time? What was the hardest part of life at that time? What did you learn about life, or people, or about what’s important?
As you think back to being a teenager, what kind of friends did you have, and how did they influence you? What were some significant choices, accomplishments, and relationships you made as a teenager (positive or negative choices)? What did you learn through your teenage years, and what was the most significant event in shaping who you are today?
As you think back to your young adult years (assuming your older now), what choices have you made? Are you happy with those choices? Can you make or have you made different choices since then? Who has been part of your life? What has been the most meaningful work? What has becoming an adult taught you?
As an adult, what moral challenges have you faced and what have you learned is most important to you? What losses have you experienced and for whom have you grieved? What have you learned from loss and grief? What are your most significant accomplishments as an adult? What do those accomplishments mean to you and how have they benefited others?
What has been the most sacred experience, person, or connection in your life? In what ways have you experienced divine presence or compassion and enlightened consciousness in your life? In what ways have you experienced grace, forgiveness, and love?
What impact have you had on the world and the lives of others? What impact would you like to have on the world and the lives of others? What’s the best story of your life? What changes would you like to make to help yourself tell a really good story in your life – or is it already a fantastic read?
You are capable of changing your story. What parts of your story would you like to start telling differently, if any? What changes do you need to make in your life to help you tell your story in a new way?
Know that you are capable of being your best self, here and now. See yourself and all your
strengths, and all your potential, knowing that you are able to be all that you dream of being and to do all that you dream of doing. See your true self, your Higher Self, in all its beauty, and know that you can create beauty in your life and in this world as you live out your story. May your story be filled with love, and joy, and grace.
Love and Light,