If you were the author of your own life story what would it say? I have heard this question before and have played around with it some, but I recently watched a TED talk where Amy Purdy, a snowboarder who lost both legs to bacterial meningitis, subtly shifted the words around. As she began her talk she asked, “If you were the author of your own life story, where would it go from here?”
It was an aha moment, if you will. Rephrasing the question to focus on the rest of the story instead of the story from beginning to end was liberating and exactly what I needed to hear. From previous posts you may remember my belief in letting the past be the past, but in meditating on my story I frequently still get stuck trying to force the past to flow into the future.
I have been stuck thinking that all the background information needed to be clearly laid out and have meaning. I have been stuck trying to vision my life as a whole instead of a play in numerous acts. Some plays are chronological and the acts build upon one another, some move backwards instead of forward, and still some are festivals of one acts. Being able to vision my character in a new act, maybe even a whole new play without having to integrate past scenes in order to move forward was liberating to my imagination.
When I dream the woman I want to be in this string of one acts that may one day form a whole, or may just end up as a festival of different tales, I realize that she may have similarities with the women in the other acts but she can also be exactly who she wants to be in this moment. So, humor me as I describe this woman who wants to make the next act in my play come to life.
She believes in the dignity of the human person. The dignity of every human person from birth until death. The dignity of the small child, the disabled teen, the gay young man, the middle-aged woman of color, the aged white republican…we are all part of fabric of the universe. Every part of every one of us has been in existence since the beginning of time and is sacred.
She believes in love and forgiveness. Absolute love and forgiveness available to all – even those who don’t seek it. She believes each person has a right to love and be loved and that our societies and governments become agents of oppression when anything rooted in love or compassion is denied or villainized.
She believes in a force greater than us that we all are a part of and have access to through our intuition. She believes that every person has inside of them a compass that leads to true north. It gets buried and broken by trying to mold ourselves to the wishes of others or to the expectations of society, but it is there in our core. She believes that if we follow that compass we will end up on the path to synchronicity, where we are exactly who we need to be, in the place we need to be, at the right time we need to be there.
She believes magic exists in the world. Not the type of magic that entails writing spells or cursing people, but the kind of magic that comes from the ultimate act of creation. From bringing something out of nothing. The magic of a story being told, or a great work of art, a friendship being formed or the path of a destiny being laid.
She is a creator.
If the next act of my story starts today, I am creating. I am writing. I am making art. I am collaborating to find ways to let what I have to share influence and be a part of the universal experience of others.
If the next act of my story starts today, I am no longer placing limits on what I can and can’t do out of fear or complacency. If the next act of my story starts today I am no longer limiting my love and life according to the fear of what people think or say. I am supporting and loving the people who deserve love – all people – even the people who choose not to love back.
If my story begins today, I’m not worrying about what would happen if I became successful and I am open to embracing change. Why should I fear success? Success means living a life I choose rather than trading authenticity for security and comfort.
If I started my life today, I would still be loved and supported by every single person who is important to me. None of them base their love, support, or connection to me upon what I do or how financially successful I am. I am loved by these people for the compass that spins inside of me, for my actions and beliefs that flow from my true north. I am loved because I love, and starting my life today means choosing to love on an even greater level.
If you were the author of the book of your life, where would the story go from here?