We arrive in this world with birthright gifts—then we spend the first half of our lives abandoning them or letting others disabuse us of them. As young people, we are surrounded by expectations that may have little to do with who we really are, expectations held by people who are not trying to discern our selfhood but to fit us into slots. In families, schools, workplaces, and religious communities, we are trained away from true self toward images of acceptability; under social pressures like racism and sexism our original shape is deformed beyond recognition; and we ourselves, driven by fear, too often betray true self to gain the approval of others.” (Parker J. Palmer. Let Your Life Speak: Listening for the Voice of Vocation. San Francisco, CA : Jossey-Bass, c2000. p. 12)
A man of a “certain age,” I am passionate about the creative and restorative power of writing. Through writing, I learned that I am the main character of my own unique life narrative. What we fail often to understand is our potential to re-frame, reshape, and change the narrative and thereby change our lives.
How does one figure out whose narrative it is we are living? Writing and journaling about the stories that shape my identity give me insight into my life narrative and provide clarity about what changes can or must be made to live my life fully and authentically.