your story :: my story

who are we before we become who we are? we’re still in there somewhere… hiding, playing with shadows until someone comes along who makes us want to dig in and share our story.

go ahead and begin. where? teaching at the Your Story retreat in oregon shifted something inside me for the better. is that where i start… with profoundness? that seems rather brave. so, do i start with the sunrise flight over earth that lay stretched out like a well-loved quilt? the train from the airport, the lushness of trees and green and all things oregon? the intermittently rainy and sunshiny afternoon spent in portland watching umbrellas and bike messengers smile as they travel the city? how about the women i met? the first conversations, the recognition, the hugs, the laughter? what about the ocean air, the writing, the breathing, the photography?

there will be time for all that.

right now i want to start with this orange shag carpet beneath me, and the childhood it conjures up. the backyard decks, with holes in fences perfect for spying. the birds sing in compliment to this space here. this circle of gathering women.

where do we begin? we begin where we left off. we jump right in unafraid even in our being afraid. embracing that vulnerable place stepping into the discomfort that is what it is.  honor the changes as they come, big or little. words scritch and scratch across the page in release, never knowing what i want to say. never knowing what i need to say until it is said. i go through life much like this. not knowing exactly what i’m doing, what i’m supposed to be doing until it is done.

hold this space for words. honor them as the release.  i hear my own voice and the words that tumble out in stutters and stammers and shyness. honor them as something separate and still the same as the alter ego, the more confident version of myself looking through the glass and back into my own eyes.

here, just outside this luscious carpeted room, the safety of the camera draws me into it.  it’s my experience of the moment combined with the birdsong and the cool morning air.  my story, this story, this retreat, this workshop is tied together with paper hearts sewn and strung in picture windows. it is the comfort of the wood around us.  the strong beams, the bones of this house will keep us together. this gathering of women sit protected, like a bird nest tucked into the strong branches of the tree.  letting it come.  letting the wind blow through, letting it rustle us, but not disturb us.

these are the thoughts that arise.  these are the visitors to the head space.  they are welcome here. i greet them and call them by name.  hello insecurity.  hello realness. hello little girl looking for the reminder of strength. i greet them and sit with them awhile before they leave.  out through the open window, back into the air we breathe.  back into the trees they go.  acknowledging their presence is important. labeling them is not necessary and yet i feel the need to call these pieces of myself by name.

this is how i begin my story.

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