To recall past events and learn lessons from them is one of the oldest mythic traditions in the human lineage. Since ancient times, people have gathered to recall legends, retell tribal stories and teach young ones through remembering the adventures of those who came before them.
Therefore it comes as no surprise, after decades of working with narrative transformation and restorying, to find that it is the inner landscape of our memories that hold the most fertile ground for the creation of our future.
In my view, too many teachers train people to forget the past. For experiences of trauma and abuse, this is (perhaps) understandable on one level. And yet, in my experience, it’s the tough times in our lives that hold the most transformative ‘gold’.
The trick, then, is to be able to remember the lesson without the emotional drama of the experience itself. It is no easy task but there is one super hack that facilitates the process. Love.
Love is the lens that turns fear into courage.
Love is the lens that transforms isolation into connection.
Love is the force that transmutes anger and replaces it with compassion.
To look at the stories of our past through the lens of love, requires that we let go of comparison, competition and criticism. We must reminisce not resist, nor judge.
Let me give some examples –
- Instead of remembering your history through a lens that emphasizes what is lacking now in comparison to ‘then’, hack your view. Choose to see how your past created the very conditions that have allowed you to be who you are NOW, whoever that is.
- Rather than comparing former experiences to current ones and finding either lacking in some way, try to see your growth through time as a dynamic story of evolution that interconnects with the people and places in your narrative. Without difficult experiences to hone our sense of self, we would never learn who we are. It may just be that now is a difficult experience period. Great – the opportunity to learn is at its highest !
- Finally, rather than critiquing your life (past, present or future) in any way, try seeing it through the lens of love. What is it that you cherish, value and gain in energy from? It is rare to encounter a person who is totally unable to find anything of value in their existence. I certainly have never come across anyone in this unfortunate category. Every one I know is able to mine their life experiences and find numerous examples of power, bravery and joy. What are yours?
True narrative reminiscing is a process where we can indulge ourselves, mining our past memories for gold that we can use in our future creations. If we choose to. Of course we could choose to mine for lead too. I know plenty of people who prefer this narrative of victimhood to one of golden empowerment.
So next time, you find yourself sharing old stories with friends, stop and choose to seek gold. See through the lens of everything you have loved and use this empowering framework of ‘personal proof’ to create a future story that turbo charges your sense of purpose and faith in the magic of life.
Gift yourself love not comparison.
Gift yourself joy not lack.
Gift yourself and others insight into the human adventure, not a negative critique of it.
Enter into the practice of loving reminiscence and see how fast your future narrative changes for the better.
I do it every day.
If you find these storyhacks useful, why not share them with your friends and be our ripple effect?