The tides of our life take us on endless journeys of discovery and adventure. They unfold and unfurl in ways that, at times, are almost impossible to see or plan for. Sometimes we simply bathe in the small gentle ripples of the waves as they kiss the shore. Other times, we are cast adrift by some huge tidal wave that has simply come out of nowhere.
We are knocked over again and again by the sheer force of its power, realising that we have no choice but to surrender to the experience if we are to fully survive it and thrive from it.
And so, you find yourself swimming in the deep and sometimes choppy seas of change, navigating each new current with hope in your heart that maybe this time you will finally find your way home.
The stories of our life arrive in waves. And even when we think that nothing much is going on in our life, underneath the surface, the currents are building, flowing, reforming, rising, cresting and bubbling away waiting for their time to surface and a new story to be told.
I am between the chapters of my own life. One book is coming to an end, whilst another remains tantalisingly close by, calling me to open her and delve into the secrets that are contained within the words on these new, unread pages. I yearn to know what the next book brings; however, I also know that I must finish these last, few remaining chapters if I am to fully understand and step into the next sequel of my greater story.
The new stories of our lives often arrive in the most unexpected ways, usually when we are not looking, and yet, when I speak to my clients about when they knew it was time for a new story to be drafted, written, fleshed out, told and lived, they tell me, somewhat conspiratorially, that they have always known it was there.
Anything can trigger a theme for a new story to be crafted and written. Loss can be a huge catalyst for change and a time for reflection and reevaluating where we are.
This may be the loss of another person, a dream we once held dear, a place we once lived or simply a realisation that we are not the person we once were. Our 60s (and beyond) are often the time for new stories to emerge. It is a huge time of transition and growth. We stand at the foothills of our own becoming as we find ourselves wondering what the next course of action is or where we might go from here.
And so, the questions arise of what could be. “What now?” we often ask ourselves quietly as each new day wraps itself around our shoulders as we prepare to meet the world. Somewhere deep within our beautiful bones we may sense a stirring of the possibility of something more. It feels intangible and yet something about this sense of “more” brings with it hope, potential, possibility and wonder.
We often only know that a new story exists deep within us because our heart begins to whisper its longings. It starts as a gentle whisper. A feeling that we begin to crave more and more of. Mine began with a quiet passion to feel freer, to walk along the beach, to wear my hair down, to opt for bohemian style clothing that echoed my passion for freedom.
I allowed myself to slow down, to savour the moments, to dream of who I imagined myself to be. I began to smile more. It felt as if I had a secret that both enticed and enchanted me. I allowed myself to daydream, to rest, to wonder and to become comfortable with what felt strange and at times, scary and off kilter.
It is here, in these in-between moments, that life finds and gathers itself again. It is in these sacred moments of time that life manages to sift and sort, unravel and untangle all that has gone before. We allow ourselves to process our journey so far and to reflect on what feels in alignment with our dreams, hopes, values and innermost desires.
It is here, when one book may be ending and another has not yet been chosen, that we may feel directionless, unsure of our next steps and which pathway to take. I imagine it to be like choosing a new book to read and I’m not quite sure what kind of story to go for next.
Will it be a romantic comedy, or an adventurous tale of travel and exploration? Maybe it will be a passionate drama or an epic tale of new beginnings and unbounded creativity? Or perhaps it will simply be a slow, gentle read on a lazy summer’s afternoon.
Our life is lived in those in-between moments. It is the space where one chapter is coming to a close and another is beginning. It can feel strange, limbless and directionless. We may feel as if we are wandering in the fields of unknown lands. And in a way, we are.
We have not been here before or traversed these routes. It is unknown and yet within the unknowingness of our journey, we may feel guided by our own inner compass that, somehow, begins to gently turn us in the right direction.
The questions that arise here are around trust and belief. Can we trust ourselves to find our authentic answers? Do we believe that our new stories will be enchanting, uplifting, delicious, inspiring and teach us more about who we truly are? Can we lean into our journeys and find our way home?
Sooner or later, we will make our decision and our choices will feel easier. In the meantime, it can make us feel as if we are in the waiting room of our life.
Crafting a new story calls us to look for the clues which have always been there. These are the fine threads that weave our past, present and future together. They may not be immediately visible because we may have been too focused on weaving stories which really belonged to other people and not ourselves.
These are the stories that are often handed down to us throughout the generations of our family or in the history of our caregivers. These old stories are like stitches in time. Many have come loose through the years. Others are so worn out that they are hardly recognisable. However, it is in these ancient relics of “what was” that provide the clues to “what is” and more importantly, to “what can be.”
Stories are powerful. They pull us in, seduce our souls, enchant our minds and become entangled in our bodies. Sometimes we get so hooked into their drama that we forget this is just a story and we have the power and the ability to write another tale – to choose a different plotline and theme.
We sometimes identify so strongly with the characters in the tale that we forget it is we who are actually writing the script. We hold the pen and yet so often we allow others to write the scenes of our life. And somewhere deep inside of us, we know that this is not the way that we desire the story to go or to end. However, we have spent so long in acting out someone else’s vision of who they think we are that we have disconnected with the truth of our authentic self.
Sometimes our new stories need to be encouraged to show themselves. They may have been hidden for a long time or perhaps we feel confused about what to do next.
My own mantra when I am unsure of anything in my life is, “When in doubt, leave it out.” This reminds me to give myself more time to make a decision. Maybe I need more information or I am simply not ready to decide or perhaps I feel pulled in several directions.
I wait until I know more about what my heart wants to do and until then, I refuse to be pushed or hurried into making a choice. We need to be discerning about the books we will read and the new stories we will create because these are the words that become the architects of our life.
Writing a new story means that you take responsibility for the tale that you are telling. It means that you become intentional about what it is that you truly desire, want or need in your life. It may mean that you look back at the old stories that have shaped and directed your life up until this point and you untangle yourself from the old habits, patterns and beliefs that you have had.
Ultimately, it is about breaking free from the old narrative, understanding who you truly are and recognising your true potential. Most importantly, it’s about choosing a new script and living it to your fullest each day.
Creating a new story means that we need to adapt and change as this new tale unfolds. We need to be able to embrace the changes that will happen along the way and adapt our script to accommodate them. Just as every great script writer does as they watch how the scenes of a play or a film unfold on a stage.
Sometimes, they need to change the direction completely because it’s just not working in the way that they imagined. Other times, all it requires are a few small tweaks. Remember that you are the author of your life, and you get to hold the pen.
What matters to you? What are you passionate for or care deeply about? What has your life journey taught you so far about what lights you up or makes you feel uplifted and alive? What do you feel connected to? Is there something that you have always wanted to experience but never had the opportunity to do so before?
Rediscovering your sense of purpose or meaning often requires that you take a look at where you have been, what you have learnt and where you might like to go in the future. This may mean that sometimes you simply don’t know what the next step to take is and that’s all okay. Just allow yourself to be here in the moment while you gather yourself.
If you need a little bit of extra help and support in crafting your new life story, you may want to consider coaching with me. Please contact me via my website for more details.
In the meantime, I would love your company on my Instagram page where I share little bits about my own life story, coaching tips, exercises and ways to feel fabulous about who we are.
Are you between the stories of your life? Are you waiting for one chapter to end whilst yearning to discover what the next chapter brings? Do you want to let go of the old stories that no longer serve you or even feel relevant to you anymore?