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If You Don't Live Your Story, Your Story Will Live You...

I love this quote. I am not sure who said it. I have seen it many places, recently. Not a new thought, but it hit me differently the other day.


We talk about living our lives but do we really? I mean, I think I live a story far more than I live a life. Maybe I am always really living both - the story and the life.


So I guess both are equally true - if I am not present and living my life (or story), the life and the story live me.


What am I even talking about?


I guess the best way I can explain it is when I think about trauma and its affects. People who do not deal with and heal their trauma, live their lives with the trauma running the show. I am an authority on this, I swear.


There are all these unconscious and below the surface things going on with all of us. Motivations, desires, defects, addictions, etc. All the time. And, from my experience, if we allow those things to persist their dominion of our unexamined life, they wreak havoc and chaos and leave a trail of broken hearts in their wake - our own included.


I know why most people don’t want to examine their lives or stories - it is the place we fear most. That dark underbelly that just begs to be examined but promises, perhaps threatens, us with fangs if we dare look.


But as usual the joke is on us.

If you refuse to look at the story or the manner in which we are living our lives, we miss the opportunity to deepen our awareness, consciousness and joy in living...


We wake up one day, far past the age of being able to accomplish an about face or change directions, and we are so far gone that it seems futile and perhaps impossible to make any move in a positive direction. And so our lives become less than what they could have been because we were too afraid to unpack the story, acknowledge that we were telling one to begin with or even reflect long enough to know there is a difference between a life and a story.


I am sitting here right now, tapping out my inner world with the tiniest cat purring on my shoulder, content and doing better than she was a few days ago. She is nestled in my hair, purring her little heart out.


Between my computer and my chest, sits another cat, older, wiser but just a sweet, purring her heart out. How can I feel anything other than blessed? Both of them were casualties of life. The newest one almost dead in a box on a ranch. The older one birthed on a hay truck in Utah, discovered when it arrived here in Ojai. Also almost dead.


It would have been easy to say no to the work involved with both these beings. It would have been easier and would have caused me less drama and hardship. But I was living my story - I am the rescuer of all things great and small. So I showed up and took on the ordeal that their survival would entail. Twelve years ago, I broke my life down into two hour increments so Minnie and her four siblings could live. And I do it again now for little Goose.


This is exactly how I want to live my life. Not inserting myself into some grand rescue, but to say yes when called out and upon. I didn’t seek these situations but they found me. So for me, the only thing to do was say yes.

I have come to my ability to own my story through a great deal of effort and several brushes with death. My story isn’t pretty and is the kind of thing that has ruined many who share a similar story. But I have lived my story. I have turned toward it and searched out all the dark crevices and cracks, I have peered into the darkness and found myself willing to move toward it, even as it threatens me with panic. I would say for the first 25 years of my life, my story lived me. I was just a traumatized, booze soaked girl who just careened through this world oblivious to the story driving her.


And then at 25, I woke up and began to recognize the story beneath, that was slowly eroding my life and ability to live it. In small incremental steps, I began to come to know that story and in so doing, stopped it from proliferating. It took my childhood, my adolescence and my young adulthood, but it would get no more than that from me. I began living my story and thereby took the power away from my story living me.


And what I found was a life beyond my wildest dreams, not perfect and certainly not all positive but I began to live my story and so my life. I cannot change the past or how much damage it did to me and those who dared cross my path between 1983 and, 1995. I cannot change that I have still perpetuated damage on an all too frequent occasion in the intervening years. But I know where I come from, I know who I am and I know how I got here. And I have found a deep well of gratitude for the knowledge and information and grace that has propelled me to this place here now where I sit in a cool, dark room on Sunday morning, flattened to my bed under the weight of cat love, tapping out my life one word at a time.

I have been lived by my story and somewhere along the way, I accepted the grace that entered to show me that by living my story I remove its power. I change the trajectory and the cadence when I accept that my life, my story are mine and it matters most what I am wiling to acknowledge and own.

And with that my story and my life become mine to live one day at a time...




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