The stories you’ve been told and relationships you’ve had throughout your life make up the heart of who you are. They become conditioned into your being, into who you are and how you relate. Your experiences and your connections also form all of the little unconscious ways you see and interact with daily life.
Stories become a relationship template that informs how you live, love, and relate. And you learn many of those stories from your elders. It’s not just the family lore they tell but the way they showed you how they felt about their own histories. You have learned so much from how they’ve nurtured themselves and nurtured you - and all the ways they haven’t.
Their stories make up your story, just as your experiences will shape the stories you pass onto to future generations. And your story may be one of fear, overwhelm and retreat. Or it may be one of seeking, creating new stories and diving in.
My own story is one of survival and making meaning
My family taught me what survival and meaning-making are. At least that is what I make of what I learned from watching and listening to them as I grew up. That’s the very part of the story that I want to sink my teeth into, chew on and spend the rest of my life digesting and recreating in my own way.
My paternal grandmother and grandfather were holocaust survivors. I recall sitting in my grandfather’s lap as a young girl tracing the faded green numbers tattooed on his left forearm and asking what these marks meant. The story I heard time and time again, was a gentle tale, a loving tale. He told me that we - myself, my sister, my parents - were their reason for living.
My grandparents survived things I can’t even bring myself to imagine, and I know they wouldn’t want me to. But I also know that they wouldn’t want me to forget this central message.
The reason for living
To dedicate yourself to discovering your own reasons for living is the practice of Connectfulness. At least that’s what I call it. It’s a practice of calling into your awareness the stories of your ancestors, the stories of your life and relationships, and the stories you hope to pass down to your descendants.
Connectfulness is about your history, your present moment, and your legacies. It’s about how you experience all of the interconnected relationships of life.
I hold my own story of connection as a deeply rooted piece of who I am. It’s how I maintain connection with my own loved ones and ancestors who are no longer in their earthly bodies. It’s how I hold space for my children and future generations in a world of constant upheaval.
I share this with you today to inspire you to look into your own story, your reason for living. What ancestral story roots you in your own being and inspires the story of your legacy?
You may not ever have looked this deeply into the story that inspires and informs your history, life and legacy. But it's a part of you. You have a story and now is as good a time as ever to connect and root into it. Dare I suggest, now is THE time to root in.
The Practice Of Being Seen
Relationships after all are shaped by story and story is shaped by relationships.
My dear friend and storytelling coach, Marisa Goudy and I call this the Practice of Being Seen. First, you recognize the roots of your own story and then you trace how it forms the core of who you are and branches out to support how you live your life, build your relationships, and do the work you’re meant to do in the world.
This fall, Marisa and I are launching a Practice of Being Seen podcast. We’re excited to dive in even deeper to our own stories along with the stories of our guests. And in doing so we hope tohelp you look at your roots, connect to the stories you live everyday, and imagine your emotional, relational, creative legacy.
I’m incredibly excited to share this rare glimpse into the diversity of stories that inspire the human reason for living with you.I hope you are just as excited to stay tuned!
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P.S. Marisa and I have been building a community for like-minded therapists who want to root into their own stories. In addition to hosting powerful conversations in a private online group, we’ve also mentored colleagues as they shape their own stories into Connectfulness.com posts. (Have you read them yet? You can find them here.)