Masterpieces: Our Stories Are Our Treasures

Our stories are our treasures, our masterpieces. “Ourstorian” is a new word I am hearing used. It suggests that the person focuses on our stories as history. In the process of defining ourselves, we look at the many places that comprise where we come from – our families, our environments, our cultures, our archetypal patterns.  Mind you, even your experience of the last minute when you have been reading this is now part of your history.

One thing I’ve come to really appreciate about the here and now is that we are the sum total of all we have brought forth from our understanding of the past – our beliefs, our thoughts, our actions, our experiences, our relationships, our connections.

Once I really understood that, I had to learn to be forgiving of myself, forgiving of others who were part of the difficult experiences, and to appreciate every experience I have ever had! I could have remained angry, and become bitter from the difficult lessons. I’ll confess that Denial has been a good friend for periods in my life. I could have blamed everyone else for the pain I went through.

Instead, I chose to learn from each experience by asking, “What did I learn about myself ?” Then followed it up with, “What did I learn that will help me as I choose to navigate in the world?” I took those lessons and continue to move forward in my world with growing wisdom.

That is the power of our stories. When we examine all parts of the story – internal, external, interactions, relationships, expectations, results – we are able to interpret and find our own reason why it happened. We uncover the lesson to be learned. There may be more than one. We each get to choose the lessons learned.

My mother is a chronicler. For as long as I can remember she has recorded the world’s happenings around her. Every family gathering, every community meeting, every conference has been the subject of her camera and recorders. She has boxes and boxes of photo albums, slides, super 8 film reels, audiocassettes, and videocassettes of where she has been and what has happened around her. SOON she will move into the digital world, and there will be infinitely less bulk involved.

When she has time, she goes back to organize. It can be real treasure time when she explains the who, what, and why of a gathering. She’ll share context and even tidbits about some of the people. It’s not unusual to realize, “So THAT’s why this happened this way!” or “I didn’t know that s/he did that!”

The vast majority of our stories are left untold, however. I’ve come to truly appreciate the value of sharing the wisdom gathered. One doesn’t have to be an elder to have wisdom to share. Some of the clearest wisdom comes from our young people. Some of the richest wisdom comes from our elders. And it is all wisdom that the world would benefit from knowing.

Our stories are our treasures. Our stories are our gifts to the world today. Our stories are the ground for the future. I remember having an assignment that required writing my own eulogy. Today, what would I write about my life that I want to pass on to the world? What would I share of the masterpiece of a rich tapestry that is my life? What jewels from my garden would I focus on?

Look at your life and find your stories. Share them, or share the lessons learned. If you had a grandchild just about to step out into the world on their own, what part of your story would you share? Share the wisdom. We are all richer for it.