Body, Mind, Spirit Magazine

Re-envisioning This Life Story

By Shavawn Berry @ShavawnB

"I hope you will go out and let stories, that is life, happen to you, and that you will work with these stories from your life--not someone else's life--water them with your blood and tears and your laughter till they bloom, till you yourself burst into bloom. That is the work. The only work."--Clarissa Pinkola Estes

I am reading and ruminating about happiness on this July 4th. I am thinking about my independent, fierce spirit, and the stories I tell myself about my life.

What makes me happy?

What makes my life worth living?

How do I learn to view it as a treasure map (which it is, if I am willing to see it through that lens)?

How do I stop looking for an exit, an escape hatch, or a way out that doesn't involve being broken open and devoured by life?

How do I live with uncertainty and still do the real work of being alive?

Do I have any choice?

Not really. Not if I want to find my way into the clearing waiting at the center of all this chaos. Not if I want to see the sky again.

I have to reframe and rethink and reimagine everything.

So, that's what I am doing on this anniversary of this country's independence from Great Britain. I am mapping a route into authenticity and wholeness.

I am changing from the inside out.

I am giving myself permission to run -- all out -- toward what I want.

By the end of the summer, I plan to buy a house in Santa Fe, NM -- something that for most of my adult life has felt impossible -- but I am watching it happen now. Why? Because I changed. I stopped seeing it as something that couldn't ever happen.

This fall, I will finally learn to drive -- also something that has felt out of reach -- because of my family history. (Long story. Women in my family have traditionally never learned to drive or learned to drive late in life. My Nana didn't learn until she was in her late forties. My aunt, the same thing. My mother has never learned.)

While this 'story' (because that's all it is; it has no inherent truth or power) may have been true in the past, I am no longer buying it.

I passed driver's ed in 1976 but my folks divorced and my dad took the only car we had. Without access to a vehicle, I didn't bother to get licensed.

I figure now it is about time that I take the wheel in my life.

I am strong and independent and I can do anything I set my mind to. A friend plans to teach me to drive in October and I plan to learn, get a license, and for the first time in my life, have adventures that require access to a car.

I no longer endorse or agree to live a small life.

I am meant to live out loud. I am meant to leave a mark.

I am meant to be seen.

Bursting into Bloom

A few weeks ago, all of this felt like a pipe dream.

All of it felt like a bedtime story that only I knew by heart.

Still, I woke up at three or four a.m each night, chest seizing, wide awake and sure that everything was different.

And for a while, I thought I might be reading the signs wrong. Nothing seemed amiss. Nothing shifted.

Then, boom, everything opened up like a fissure in the ground.

My world split open and I saw my spirit taking flight.

I decided to tell myself a good story. A story where I am the hero of my life. A story where the things I want and need are a given.

And the universe provides solace, protection, care. It provides.

I am safe as long as I believe I am.

So, tell yourself the story you want to live.

Don't let anyone stop you. Don't let anyone tell you it can't be done.

I am living proof.

© 2015 Shavawn M. Berry All rights reserved

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