I claim that you wouldn’t be who you are unless you were who you were.
I also claim that you wouldn’t be where you are unless you were where you were.
(If you haven’t had your coffee yet you might want to read those again.)
Even though many people talk about how we grow through stages where we leave one stage behind and move on to the next, I prefer to believe that we grow through phasesand carry with us into the next phase what we went through before.
That is, even though we progress, we subsume all that came before. The phase you are in now carries within it your previous phases. It preserves all the moments as elements in your present phase.
This idea appeals to me because it is less mechanistic and more organic. It reminds me of a seed that turns into a corn stalk with many ears of corn: every kernel of corn carries within it the DNA of the seed where it all began. There is a string that connects it all.
Your life is a story with sequential chapters: the chapter you’re in now could not possibly be understood without the previous ones.
So how can you apply this to your own life?
What do you do with all the terrible things you experienced, heard, did, inflicted, said, felt, invited, endured, believed, taught, promoted? What do you do with all the… sorry… shit?
I use imaginative pictures to give my life a story-line that makes sense of who I essentially am and what I’ve essentially experienced. Stories like this help me see my life as “total” where all the parts are necessary to make the whole.
Here’s what it might look like:
I see myself as a seed, full of life.
I see myself dry up.
I see myself fall from the plant.
I see myself buried into the soil.
I see myself covered with dirt and manure.
I see myself exposed to all the elements.
I see myself die.
I see myself split open.
I see my life pour out.
I see myself transform into something much greater.
I see myself as the plant.
I see myself as very fruitful.
So what I am and what I experience are not the same. But without the experience I wouldn’t be what I am. Somehow my experience, even though it “happened unto me”, is actually “part of me”. I neither reject it or attach to it. It simply is.
It is my story, shit and all.
I hope this helps.
Love you guys!