part 2 – be true – your life is a story

I should have prefaced my previous post with from the past. (I did change it a couple of days ago.) 2 years ago I was wrestling with writing my story. Even though I had been giving speeches I was terrified of spending time in dark places to tell my story beyond 30 minutes. Now I’m all in.

Near the beginning of a speech and toward the end I say this: Everyone has a story. This is mine. What are you going to do with your story? Your life?

Each of us has something in our lives we need to be true to; whether it’s to stay the course knowing this is exactly where you’re supposed to be or to pursue another direction or to uncover a path you didn’t know existed like finding a secret door to a secret garden where wonder and delight flourish (my childhood wish). Whatever the choice is, it’s about creating meaning in our lives. Not merely existing. Not giving up. Being true. Meaning can be found everywhere.

We live as story – as a work of art with many parts, colors, and layers. A significant word in the top corner, a ray of sun to the left, poetry to sum up your soul, a stormy cloud that threatens, roots that run deep into the earth. Parts of your story haven’t made it to the page, yet to be discovered and explored.

My story isn’t only about recovery after a devastating car crash, but about my childhood, my marriage, parenting, the wacky things my kids do that make me gasp and laugh sometimes all at once. (Oh, the day I had yesterday.) Friendships that enrich my life. Obligations I must meet. Being compassionate. Still, there is more. Destiny that begs to be drawn.

And I want meaning in it. I demand it.

Sometimes we can’t control the circumstances in our lives, but we can choose how we’ll respond. A part of life slammed into me, undid me and emptiness stalked me while I sought my version of whole. Finances continue to make me batty and I can’t chase every dark cloud away, but I can choose well and reach meaning.

While we fill in our stories and attempt to make pieces fit as others slip through our fingers, through our stories we get to help people. The meaning in our lives can be in front of us, beside us. It can be simple. Sometimes it’s picking up a friend’s child for school to help them out, buying someone a cup of coffee, being good to your spouse, teaching our kids about compassion, and noticing others. Sharing grief. Going out of our way, we let people know they’re not alone. Our stories cross and intertwine.

Your story, your life is never done with you. It’s always moving, shifting and you’ll want to be in it – right smack in the middle. So you can’t miss it. With all the cost and risk. With all the sadness, delight and wonder. With all that you have to offer. Living your story is worth it.

Swept up

In Barefoot Contessa Vancouver

Now for something frivolous and fun, and meaning can definitely be found in fun…this sweet store is one of my favorite places to shop. From clothes to belts to jewelry it is all things lovely as the ladies that work at Barefoot Contessa will tell you.

16 thoughts on “part 2 – be true – your life is a story

  1. Jennifer

    This: “And I want meaning in it. I demand it.” I am struggling with this mightily right now. It was very helpful to read your thoughts. I love your writing, Heidi!

    1. heidi

      I so get the struggling. For a couple of years and not that long ago I felt as though life had become rather pointless and meaningless…and I was so unhappy. In the midst of that I had some sort of revelation while doing the dishes that I could find/create meaning – that I had to. Some of the things I were involved with were soul-sucking and I needed to find things that brought me life. Anyway, I’m rambling here… I just wanted to say I get the struggle. I am always searching for meaning…I can’t seem to live my life without it. I don’t have to have all the answers, but I need to find meaning – if only for me.

  2. Galit Breen

    Yes, this. Exactly this. I want to be right smack in the middle of it – focused and noticing and all.

    (I love this post. In case -ahem- you couldn’t tell! :))

    1. heidi

      Thank you so much! I’m so glad I was introduced to you today. I will be back at that beautiful blog of yours again and again. 🙂

  3. IntenseGuy

    Your incredibly insightful and powerful writing continues to inspire me. This post is one that might take 5 minutes to read but 5 hours to mentally process and digest… it oils the rust brain gears.

    Like has become “flat” and “unfulfilling” to me – but I’ve not demanded “better” because I’ve not even begun to ponder just what “better” might be… I can define it as being “empty” and “purposeless” – but cannot find something that would make it less so… I’ve no children and no interaction with them – nor do I interact with anyone at work in a “stimulating” way – I suspect I need to find an “intersection” with other lives… is it a matter of getting started on it?

    1. heidi

      I’ve been mulling this over since I saw your thought-provoking comment a couple of days ago. I don’t know if there is a right answer to your question. Perhaps there are many answers and it’s the one(s) that is best for you. What one person finds fulfilling in life will be different from what someone else defines as fulfillment.

      For example, I know that for me life has to be about more than raising my kids. While it is the most important part of my life and deserves my utmost attention, I need to have purpose and fulfillment in other parts/areas of my life too. I have friends that are totally and utterly satisfied in their pursuit of motherhood. And I think that is awesome. I just know that in order for me to be happy as mom I need more.

      I say all of this to point out that sometimes it is about defining just what it is we want and what we’re after. What will it be that satisfies and fulfills us? And if we’re not sure begin to move in a direction that will take you there. It can be something small but could prove to be significant in getting you on a better path. Like surrounding yourself with great, supportive people and moving away from the people that suck the life out of you, or pursuing the things that bring you life. There are so many things we do because we’re obligated and that’s fine, but try to do more life-giving things than soul-sucking things. If that makes sense.

      And I believe that one of the steps to meeting desire in your life/story is exactly what you’re doing. It’s in the pondering and asking questions. Sometimes we find it in surrendering. In saying we don’t have all the answers. I can’t control everything, but I believe there’s more out there for me. Often that’s all I have to go on.

      I don’t know if this helps at all and excuse the long, long response. I just want you to know I care and I wish you the very, very best. 🙂

  4. Alexandra

    What IS it about you?

    I feel like I know you?

    What is that?

    Does suffering do that to a person?

    I’ve had a life, a hard one, one I wouldn’t have chosen for myself.

    But,s…I feel like I know you.

  5. heidi

    This put a smile on my face this morning.
    And, yes, yes! I think there is something that connects people when there is suffering, when people know extraordinary pain… You’ve gone to dark places that some haven’t experienced and when you meet people that have, you feel known, heard, understood. If that makes sense. That’s how I feel anyway.:)
    You’re coming to BlogHer, right? I hope so. Because we so need to meet. Officially.

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