A memoir is a strange beast. It is an attempt to distill an individual’s life’s experiences and lessons in story form with the hope that in the storytelling someone else sees a thread that resonates with their own life journey, that some inspiration arises or, at the very least, it is viewed as something worth reading.
My good friend Christina Baldwin is known to say, “The shortest distance between two people is a story.” My book, Embracing the Stranger in Me: A Journey to Openheartedness, is full of stories. I am tempted to say by way of humour, “And some of them might even be true.”
When I found out I was adopted at the age of forty-six I learned that many stories I had been telling myself about myself and my life, that helped me making sense of my life and its journey, turned out not to be true. They were small stories; like why I was shorter than all my immediate family members, why my hair turned grey at a young age, where I was born. It gave me pause. In discovering I was adopted, everything had changed. And, yet, nothing had changed. It made me wonder what other stories I was telling myself about myself and my life that also might not be “true”.
Abraham-Hicks says the biggest disservice we do to ourselves is in telling “the truth” over and over again, keeping alive the stories we wish would go away, the ones we don’t like living into but which we continue to tell simply because “it is the reality of our situation”. If we want to change our situation, we must tell a different story. When we tell it often enough, it can shift the shape of our life, eventually becoming true since our minds do not know the difference between what is real and what is imagined. This is why Napoleon Hill in his seminal work, Think and Grow Rich, said, “Thoughts are things.” But it is a tough thing to grasp when many of us are attached to the suffering of our stories rather than the joy of them, to the human tragedy experience rather than the soul journey perspective.
I have been imagining myself as a writer and an author since high school when I enrolled in a journalism correspondence course (which I never fully completed), imagining I would enter a career of journalism (didn’t happen) and when I chose to write a novelette in my final year of high school for my English class instead of doing all the other assignments (the novelette did get completed and I still have it).
The first time I created a vision board for myself back in 1998, the first image that came to my mind unbidden was that of a podium, partly because I imagined myself as a motivational speaker and partly because there was something in me that just knew I had stories to share that maybe other people would resonate with.
The early gestation of my book was back then too and some of what is contained in the book was originally written a decade or more ago. It is with a little bit of disbelief that I hold my first book in my hand, with copies already sold, readers already saying the most beautiful, heartwarming things about it, ready to send it further out on its own path into the world.
Stories and life journey do not happen in isolation. I am aware that these are my reflections, stories of specific moments in my life, moments that have intersected with others on the journey. The way others have experienced these same intersections may be somewhat or vastly different than the way I have experienced them. Their experiences are their stories to tell but I would not be the person I am today without having crossed paths with these fellow journeyers, without having had the experiences that I did in relation to them, good, bad or otherwise. For each and all of them I am grateful.
I share my stories as a way to dive into the deeper patterns that shape life, relationships, healing, and journeys. Even as I re-read and edited them, they moved me—sometimes to laughter, sometimes to tears. Even though I have spent a lot of time unearthing and living with these stories, some of them still have the capacity to delight and surprise me. My hope is that they do the same for you, that along the way you find your own intersection points with your story – or, at the very least, you enjoy stories of someone else’s experience – believable or not.
I imagine this blog will capture many of the soul journey stories, hosting self stories that used to all reside under the Shape Shift blog and that there I will continue to write about what I’m learning through the Art of Hosting work and world that is so much a part of my life and experience. Sometimes a post will show up in both places when it seems relevant.
I would also invite you to check out the Embracing the Stranger in Me Facebook page where I am already seeing a community of support and inspiration arise, fuelled by all who interact with it; as well as the Twitter page for the book. And I would also love to see your comments here.
Thank you for intersecting with my journey now. May you immerse yourself in the book or the blog or both and may your path rise up to meet you as you journey well.