December 13, 2021

How are you holding your stories?

Neither hindsight nor foresight hold a candle to our ability to inhabit the present moment with insight. .—Sherrie Frank

Dear friends,

Have you ever considered there is nothing in this life that can follow us into death other than the experiences we hold within us? Bodies do not come with secret pockets with portals to the other side. Reflecting on this, I have come to believe having things is not as important as how I hold them. How about you?

As we prepare to exit through the doorway of 2021 and take our first steps into a new year, let’s do so with profound gratitude for our lives and be thoughtful in how we hold our stories. For me this means setting aside time and a place over the next few weeks to pause and reflect on 2021. I look for possibilities within my experiences and seek to find the deeper meaning and growth from having lived through these moments and beyond them. In a way, I am making use of hindsight to create insight.

I know many of my 2021 reflections will be on those moments I spent in a Zoom room with a team of volunteers and participants. The words to describe how deeply those experiences impact my daily life are difficult to find. Gratitude comes up first, for our volunteers who make this good work possible and to our participants, who remind me both how challenging life can be and how resilient we humans are. My faith in myself and humanity are restored every time. Thank you.

If you’d like to join me reflecting, I have included some ideas and questions below to help you engage in this practice. Let me know how it goes.

Wishing you a season of light and peace,

xo – Sherrie

Here are a few practice and process ideas for exploring the experiences we may encounter within a year of living:

If you think you’ve taken a wrong turn or misstep: Look around. You may not be where you thought you wanted to go, and yet wherever you stand there is fodder for self-reflection. What if you believed you are always in the right place, at the right time, with the right people? How would your story change?

If you’ve lost someone you love: With compassion, acknowledge your courageous heart, the one that opened fully to a love so precious to be worth the pain of loss. Trust the process, knowing that healing in love, though different, is as natural as falling in love. Ask your courageous heart, “How do I want to hold this love within me now?”

If a dream came true for you this year: Have you celebrated? It’s never too late! Reflect on how achieving this dream changed how you think and feel about yourself and the world. What kind of magic or synchronicity did you witness? What challenges did you overcome? How did you make it happen? Identify your own best practices for creating.

Those are just a few my ideas for reflection. As you become present in the process, I know you’ll find your own way and your own voice—after all, it’s your story to hold.

xo – s

P.S.: You may want to get a special journal for this retrospective reflection and, every year until you leave this life, add a chapter at the end of each year. Years from now, you can reread an anthology of your own short stories of how you built a life of meaning from whatever you were given. 

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