While I never participated in throwback Thursdays when they seemed to be a thing, I like the concept. Not just simply posting a picture from the past, but more so to ponder the photo in reflection of who you were and where you came from. It can serve as springboard for exploration into who you are now and how this person you once were is still influencing your present life. Have you moved forward or are you stuck in a certain story? If so, what is your story? And more importantly, do you like it or do you want to change it?
I recently completed another module in my professional shamanism training. And holy smoke, I had some revelatory moments. In this module we learned Past Life Journeys (yes I do believe in past lives). However, it is not necessary to share the same belief for this Journey to be effective. The premise is we all carry a story inside of us. We have since we were children and this story influences us in our present day, mostly non-consciously. After being guided in the Journey I realized I had a story inside of me of loss, sadness and grief. I see now how this has played out in my life, particularly the last 8 years and how sticking to this story would not allow me to live a fulfilling life.
The beauty in recognizing and owning our story is that we can change it. Or perhaps we realize that another one exists we would like to draw out. Reflecting back on who I was, I also see an adventurous free spirit, a girl who disregarded conventional norms, who did her own thing without a care in the world. This, too, is a story within that has also greatly impacted my life.
My earliest memory of striking from the norm was when I was four years old. It was my first day of school and while other little girls were wearing strawberry shortcake shoes, I proudly walked into class in my bright blue and red Spiderman shoes. What I remember more than the shoes themselves is the feeling I had. The feeling of confidence as I strutted into kindergarten knowing I was the only girl wearing Spiderman shoes, other little girls would certainly not make their mom go to the boys department to buy their first pair of school shoes.
The following year my favourite movie, Empire Strikes Back came out. I insisted, to my mother’s dismay I am sure, that I dress up as my favourite character for my first Halloween party. While other grade one girls pranced around in their princess Leia costume with white gowns and braided buns, I happily paraded as Darth Vadar, the dark knight, wearing a sly smile underneath my black mask, feeling the power I owned inside. And at sixteen, unlike my peers who were trying to lose weight or fit into a perfect mold of what a teenage female body should look like, I bench pressed and squatted alongside muscle heads at the local bodybuilding gym pushing heavy weights and trying my hardest to gain muscle mass.
Along with my propensity to sway from the standard, I also had an adventurous spirit. When I was fourteen I spent my summer hanging out with a new friend who was visiting from Cape Breton Island. At the end of her stay in my small town I told her, not knowing how I would make it happen, that I would come visit her next summer. And I did. Over the next several months, I saved all my babysitting money, bought my first plane ticket and was the first one in my family to board a plane and travel across the country.
Although I came from a family who never camped, spent time in nature or traveled, a few years later, I began cycle touring, rock climbing and backpacking. After completing my University degree, I spent as little as time as possible working and the majority of my 20’s exploring the wilderness, travelling the world, moving to a small mountain town and pursuing my dreams to live adventurously.
Whatever our background and experiences, we all have the power to choose our story and create the best possible outcome or ending for our lives. Awareness of the story inside of us, the story that is currently playing out, is the first step. We must look at the themes in our lives and what seems to be the constant. Is it anger, loneliness or loss? Is it love, adventure, or service? What do you tell yourself about this story? What are your beliefs around this story? Is this the only story or theme that has played out in your life? Do you like it or do you want to change it? If so, begin by examining your beliefs and creating new ones that are in alignment with the life you want to live now.
Changing our story to match our heart’s desire is healing our lives. I do not have to remain stuck in loss, sadness and grief. Fast forward to today and the girl who lives an adventurous life and writes her own destiny still resides within. This is the story I now choose to create. I only have to look back at this younger free spirited version of myself - the one who marched to the beat of her own drum, who embraced freedom and followed her heart, for she provides the map to where I am going.