What is Your Story?

“Stories are a communal currency of humanity,”—Tahir Shah

As I scour the plentiful social media outlets, the endless headlines, negative and positive, I can not help but wonder: what is the behind story of that individual whose name is being plastered all over the news? I have written in the past, about knowing people’s backstory before placing judgment, (although judgment gets you nowhere and must never be part of your practise), make assumptions, or downright feel we truly know someone in any given scenario. I am not suggesting that knowing someone’s story will change a negative outcome and spin it to a positive, but it will certainly change your perspective and offer a better understanding of where something may have gone wrong.  The perception of the act will certainly be altered; the act will remain a negative but, in my opinion, the back story always offers an opportunity for forgiveness.

Hello my beautiful souls! February flew by, my Christmas tree is down and out! I took my Christmas tree down in February when I initially started writing this post.  It was my intent to post this article in February but life happens…. I experienced a painful moment in life—the loss of my little furry friend of 16 years. She was the life of our home, always, getting our attention whenever possible. She was energetic, playful and boy did she love her food. She was petite, and was a perfect esthetic match to our home, her colors flowed beautifully in our home with a pinch of strawberry blonde near her floppy ears. We miss her dearly. My heart aches where her little paw once rested. It is hard to believe that our house is left with such a large void, an emptiness brought on from a painful loss of such a little bundle. But life is like that, it offers moments of joys, highs, and lows, we just need to be present every moment, ensuring to take it all in. Her departure was quick, no suffering. The last few months before her demise, I especially paid attention to her cues in what she wanted, when she wanted a hug, a cuddle, playtime, or we simply stared into each other’s souls quietly. I am grateful to have experienced being a #DOGMOM, it truly taught me to appreciate these furry little creatures; I often refer to as: Martians—they are so sweet and lovable!

When I initially set out to write this article, it was my intent to start by saying farewell to the Christmas cheer while taking every moment in—no rush. Why is everyone in a rush to move to the next event—savor every moment, every minute—life is gorgeous, it is not a race, it is meant to be enjoyed! But life, through a wrench, and instead I write about saying goodbye to my sweet furry friend. How fitting, to discuss moments; seasons in life, that should never be rushed. Cherish every moment, every second with loved ones—these are special gifts. For me, the Christmas spirit is not meant to be rushed—it is meant to be savored—a moment in life, I wish would last forever, so my tree stays for as long as I need it to. It is a memory in time, transporting me to when I was a little girl and my sister and I were newly arrived in Canada; imagine how wonderful, and joyful I felt at the age of six seeing this magnificent tree filled with Christmas presents right to the very top! It would be the first Christmas we would experience snow, cold, and truly be the centre of attention as my mom was the only one among her friends that had kids—her adult friends yearning to please two little girls, wishing they could experience Christmas through our innocent, joyful eyes! It would be every year after, that I would celebrate Christmas in the most wonderful, sweet, giving way, because of that very special first Christmas here in Canada back in 1975. You see, our stories, our experiences, tell a lot about why, we act, react, and do the things we do. Not all Christmas before or after could have been perfect, some may have been sad (because that’s life), but I choose to only remember the one that brought me joy and warmed my heart, and it will forever be the reason why I love celebrating Christmas so much! And I pass on this Christmas cheer to my girls.

Christmas is not the only reason why I am so full of spirit, I also enjoy music—all music, it is good for my soul! If I could, I would listen to music 24/7, but I have to think of my family—they would disown me if I had music playing on my magical Bose speaker; you see, for me, music is meant to be listened at a moderate volume, not through earbuds, instead have it fill a room, it is the purest form of art and meant to be appreciated by all listeners, engaging us in the most deepest ways, transcending us to a deeper emotional level—it is an important part of human existence. Music enriches our lives by connecting us to decades and even a century past—a treasured gift offering us the opportunity in the present to understand the past; unique sounds, melodies, ingeniously crafted that transcends the years, bonding us one beat at a time. The beauty of music is that everyone’s experience is different by the emotion conveyed by the singer, chords, the notes, the meaning of the song produce an emotion unique to the listener determined by our past experiences. A note, a melody, a lyric might transport you to a time in your life that makes you happy or sad; music is a direct expression of beauty; it can carry us through the darkest of nights bringing you tears of joy or tears of sadness it all depends on your perspective—your story, your past hurts, your joys. A single song can capture a meaningful moment in your life while it can be entirely meaningless until context is provided—the story behind the meaning of the song to you. A song can have many interesting interpretations until context is provided and can be appreciated for different reasons by different people, resulting in different experiences—and this is gorgeous! When I am seeking inspiration, I know I will find it in music.  

If you ever have the opportunity of riding in my car with me, you will have to endure music from all eras; it is what gets my heart pumping! It is the coffee to my morning! Once you meet me, and you get my backstory you will then get a sense as to why I am so hyped for so many reasons, particularly why I appreciate and love Christmas and music so much. Sadly, we never get the opportunity to know even the slightest tidbit about someone when in passing, our lives are not meant to fit in a 3×5 cue card pasted on our foreheads, instead what we see are blank faces, wardrobes that may or may not appeal to us, occasionally we watch someone have a melt-down and wonder what happened? Where did it go wrong for them? Will it happen to me? But what is their story? Why did they falter?  Every choice has a consequence. Every character a story. Success depends on the actions that we take, the intentions we set in motion. Our stories often shift our perceptions—allow it; shift, evolve and commit to your own growth.

It is fascinating knowing that not only music but even the slightest scent will transport you to another time when you were… (you fill in the blank). Again, this is part of your story. It is wonderful exploring your roots, understanding why you do certain things, or see certain actions, rituals, traditions in a certain way, maybe it is an ancestral thing—and that’s your story! Perhaps that is why I truly enjoy watching NFL football, I mean I am manically obsessed, and I love that my daughters are now sharing that love. We watch every game, dissect every play, every coach, every player, particularly all quarterbacks. So, it may not be fun watching football with us because we do not have one team that we particularly root for (not since Montana retired), but we seem to root for a lot of the underdog teams, quite possibly because we fall in love with their stories. Every game is filled with passion, emotion, and loads of excitement.  For me, it is more than stats; when I look at a player, it is about heart. The dedication and focus these players bring to the sport is exhilarating—pure joy to watch! There are teams who have not made it to the Superbowl in quite some time, because of a “curse”, or a rivalry between players, coaches, owners, that has gone on before I was born! (I know that long!) When you are a neutral party as I am, watching football, I can understand why there are teams that play extra hard when up against certain teams (I mean it is a bloodbath out there.). At times, I may sway a certain way for a particular team to win because maybe they deserve the win, that shiny ring that lets them know all the sacrifice, all the defying odds, overcoming versatility, was all worth every sweat, blood, and tears! They show their passion, grit, emotion—they leave it all on the field—an all-deserving attitude, in my book is a winning team. Before that QBs greatness, there is sacrifice—a maniacal level of focus and commitment that is paid with emotion and true sacrifice. A spectator who simply watches the game looking out for their team might miss out on the meaning behind that “win” for an opposing team and simply get upset that their team “did not win”. I am here to tell you there is life after loss—your team has a chance again next year.

After seven rings, the man in the arena, may end a season in his life, and start a new story. Those of you who follow football know I am referring to. Tom Brady’s story is one full of adversity, hard work, extreme sacrifice, his hype focus in everything he does from training, personal and career is what makes him legendary. If you are not a fan of his, you just choose to see a player with horseshoes, loads of luck and annoyingly in the way of your team achieving ‘their greatness’.  When you learn that his story is not about easy breaks, or first round picks, then you begin to really understand and appreciate, his level of hunger, and obsessive need to acquire that ring time and time again. Tom, has earned his place in that arena—no argument there. With NFL draft right around the corner, I am excited to watch and read about the new additions joining the NFL family, to observe their super strengths and get to know their stories that got them there. What was that journey like?

That is the magic of life, we are forever weaving beautiful stories, the complexity of life always allowing us to pivot where we must, giving our experiences meaning—forever intertwining—keeping our stories limitless as long as we feel the beat of our heart. But enough about football, as life had something planned for me for the month of February, I am a little late with my football analogy (so my apologies) but I chose to keep my work in progress, as our stories are essential in inviting people into our world, helping others understand our essence, what we are made of, why we think, why we do the things we do. Equally important are the places we visit, the rooms we think in, dream, create—they house our stories beautifully and although we change—these places remain keeping the memories of what once—alive! Our experiences shape us, we start one way, and then we learn that it is not how we wish to be seen, or how wish to be in this world—and so we change.  The change, the pivot, then forms part of the greatness that is to come, what unfolds then becomes part of a legacy left behind—your story.

“Coming together is a beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success.”—Henry Ford

I love finding out what makes people “tick”, just as much as what makes someone so giving, so gentle, showing kindness every opportunity, they get. I felt compelled to share the importance of knowing someone’s “story”, especially with the many strands of diversity felt in the world today some brought on by a very real pandemic raging from social issues, political divides, global/ environmental change, highlighting the more subtle challenges faced by families facing work-life challenges today as a result. The present pulse of this planet is not all painful, these circumstances nothing but opportunities for those in decision making positions to tap into creative ways removing some of the barriers, offering us the opportunity to come together to offer solutions. Education is the key to success. My philosophy is that we are all here for a purpose. With this understanding, this awareness, I hold no judgment to those pursuing a life and living it as they choose. In some cases, radical change is being made, directly and indirectly—some arguments irrelevant to the cause, but eh, in the spirit of protest I guess anything goes(?) I will fight for a cause, walk with you to help promote positive change in a manner that is pro-peace, pro-love, but I refuse to engage in activities that are ‘against’ something often promoting ‘hateful’ behaviour because to do so, is to engage in the very thing most protestors feel their fight is about, ultimately infringing on my peace and everyone involved. The key to a positive change, is education—to understand all issues as fully as possible. To fully understand is learning to listen. Learn to be comfortable with being uncomfortable. Don’t choose to remain—expand your vision, by allowing and accepting those who are different than you. What if we take the time to learn and listen to the story behind a positive or negative result? Educate yourself, see what history tells us happened 100 years ago. What was the result then? We must always strive for improvement, it is never about resisting change, it is always about moving forward with change in whatever form, keeping the safety and good health for the highest good of all. We must value ourselves, our loved ones, our communities, and we must do our part to protect what we work so hard to build, that includes our relationships—all is relevant—all form part of our story. It is only human to protect the lives of the ones we share. The stories we tell ourselves are in the present—the legacies we leave behind are a gift to future generations. If fear is what is keeping you from moving forward, then seek opportunities to expand your viewpoint. Invite healthy discussions that will assist in building trust and acceptance. The solution is not to go out into the world and show your worst face, your ignorance on any given topic, please tell me your worldly knowledge is not pinned to a 12×15” sign spewing fearful, negative and hateful messages, how is this a step forward for the good of any cause?

The word inspiration means: “in-spirit”. That is our purpose collectively: is to inspire or be inspired. If you are busy surfing social media, and it leaves you uninspired then, I am here to tell you that you are not using your time wisely or seeking the right inspiration. STOP feeling threatened by what others appear to be doing and START working on your own happily ever after. If you are feeling too afraid or perhaps your joy, your peace, have been taken away for reasons out of your control, learn to take small steps to start spinning your successful story. Here are some helpful hints that will help you start:

  1. STOP looking at what others are doing or not doing. What do you want to do? What would you like to accomplish? Visualize it. Fantasize it with every fiber of your being (include, feelings, smell, touch). See it in your minds eye.
  2. Meditate – calm the busy mind. Extremely helpful if suffering from anxiety or feeling overwhelmed. The idea is not so much as to “quiet” the mind, but become aware of your thoughts. The more you practise meditation, the more you slow down your thoughts enough   and learn to become laser focus on things that matter.
    • Also, practise visualization of the life you wish to lead through meditation and practise gratitude every morning and evening.
    • By calming the mind, you will learn to better receive information, answers to your daily challenges—hence this will ease your frustration/anxiety.
  3. Work on YOU – master your craft. If you do not know yet what that craft is, work on improving yourself, find a skill, learn something new—get your creative juices flowing. LOVE what you do and do what you LOVE. Be an inspiration by doing what you love.
  4. Be a good listener. You will notice people are often giving us clues about their, likes, dislikes, their hurts, their joys—listen. Learn to be a better friend, parent, sibling, employee, employer, spouse—this can only be achieved by offering someone your devoted attention. Learning their story helps develop compassion offers us an opportunity to be inspired.
  5. Introducing a new activity, a new routine might be just what you need to put the spark back in your eyes and beautiful mind!

My story is that I was once a #DOGMOM of a 12lb. Yorkshire terrier Maltese. My heart swells watching pet videos, because in loving my little ‘Buttercup’, I learned to appreciate the unconditional love pets give. I have compassion for others who are going through a loss of a pet or loved one because it is a painful experience. They are missed, they are loved. This is part of my story. My story also includes being a mom, a wife, a writer, a corporate professional, a friend, a daughter taking care of her aging mom, loving my friends; there are many strands you can pull, take apart, in many directions—one truth remains throughout—am I a good person? Am I kind? Am I loving? For me, the answer to all is yes, but there is always room for improvement!

In life, we may hold various positions professionally earning us a certain set of figures, we may hold many titles within our respective fields, we may also live in certain homes, lead a certain lifestyle, we have political views—but it does not define who we are. When a story resonates with the reader, listener, or spectator, when we add circumstances to context, and add these fillers to the stories we hear, it often offers the listener/observer that inspiration in whatever form they seek—a belief in our motives, characters, and capacity to reach the goals we set out to seek.

Stories are beautiful to our everyday life, we take great pride in living our stories, they are unique, they are ours, they are home to our hurts, our joys, our strengths, our struggles. As we go about life, we learn to appreciate our own stories, we embrace, we reflect, we love, we forgive, we get inspired, hopefully we offer inspiration along the way. When someone invites you in and shares their story, you must take it with great privilege, as you have been given an opportunity to understand that individual on a whole other level; an opportunity to inspire and be inspired, to love. Sharing our stories make us vulnerable, in that vulnerability comes great power. The key to our well-being, are the stories we tell ourselves, our interpretation of them, the perspectives of an optimistic life or one full of demise—which do you hold true for yourself? The key to a well-lived story; a well lived life is to find meaning in the progression from one event to the next. Happiness is the result in cognizing every experience is necessary for growth.

Our ultimate triumphs, our success in life is found in how we deal with our challenges—who we end up being reflects our experiences. The people we help along the way, the places we go, the homes we build, the everyday interactions we have all become part of our stories that form part of our memories. We must always remember that we must never give our power away—no man or woman has the power to dictate anything over you. Be proud, be wise, live the life that you feel you deserve, honor yourself—everyone has a story worth sharing. Whether it’s the Queen of England, the ultimate influencer, the greatest NFL player of all time or the awesome barista who manages to get your morning beverage on point every time—everyone has a story worth sharing. We just need to open ourselves up to receiving their interaction in our lives, in whatever form that may take.

It is with great urgency, that I share this message with you, to bring an awareness to the role we all play everyday in the lives of those whose path we cross daily. Life is a gift. We are here to interact with everyone, our paths for ever intertwining. Make the most of it, share great moments, compassion, empathy, keep learning not only from your daily experiences but from those you have the privilege to meet. Life is meant to be lived—you only get one, so be sure your story is messy, and ready to be told and shared with those who show great interest, with those who share compassion.

March is the month when spring officially begins; it is a month of new beginnings—often offering blasts of all seasons in one month to remind us of the seasons, and emotions past, while at the same time offer appreciation of the hopeful season; moments that soon turn to new experiences and memories ahead! My wish is that you enjoy the remainder of March and be sure to keep safe in everything you plan to do, keep in mind that you share the planet with others who may be vulnerable who may be hurting, who are defenceless in the face of the current temporary darkness and as you go about creating, sculpting, spinning your beautiful unique story, that you are mindful that NOT everyone is privilege to your story in the first five minutes of meeting you, but you certainly have so much to offer in the first five minutes of any encounter to simply be the best version of yourself and leave this planet a little better that you found it. Always remembering the importance of feeling joy and happiness in whatever you do! 

Keep yourself vibrationally in tuned with who you are. How you think and how you view the world affects the story that will be told about your life. Ultimately you have control of your narrative—accept that it will not always be perfect; it will be messy in the middle—that is the best part—it is what makes you human!  You get to make choices about how to clean it up, change it, design yourself a life you deserve, and by telling your story you learn to see the beauty in your own life! Write your beautiful script and live out each chapter by being present—always giving yourself the utmost unconditional love along the way! It is never about re-writing your story that will make you better, but how you view yourself and your limiting beliefs that will help the healing and keep you growing. A powerful story leads to a powerful successful life!  You deserve to live a brilliant abundant life; be sure your story begins with how empowered you feel and are! Remember to stay humble and offer kindness, elevate everyone in your life, and those you have the opportunity and great privilege to meet today. Be the person you wish to meet—be an excellent example of a human. Offer much love to your family and friends, give love and more love always, including your loyal and faithful pets!

Until our next visit together, stay kind and true to yourself.

Celebrating the beautiful powerful you,

P.S. If you enjoyed this post, I would be incredibly grateful if you would help it spread by forwarding it to a friend or sharing it on Twitter or LinkedIn. I am now on IG, come join me there @anaspanowriter! Thank you!

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