I have been thinking a lot lately about the value of experiences in our lives and the importance of releasing the stories that we tell about our own experiences and the experiences of other’s.

When we allow these stories, or judgments, to be told through the lenses of dark clouds and heavy storms- our stories might be laden with regret (which breeds depression) and fear (which breeds anxiety). Judgement might also speak in terms of doubt, hostility, shame, and frustration. Judgement thoughts leave some kind of label: “I am sad” versus “I feel sad”. Judgement leaves a mark and an emotional memory and creates the lens with which we will see all other experience in our lives. 

On the flip side, when these stories, or judgments, are told through lenses of wisdom, experience, and perspective, these stories might be full of hope, gratitude, peace, and ultimately, compassion! Wisdom reminds us that, though we have seen or felt sadness, we have also seen and experienced GRACE- which somehow allows us to experience obstacles without BECOMING our obstacles. Wisdom magnifies our lenses so that we see more in the eyes, bodies, and hearts of those around us. Wisdom reminds us to reach out with kindness, love, mercy, and compassion to those we meet on our journey! 

My husband sent this message to my children and I this morning and it validated a lot of the thoughts that have been on my mind lately.

A writer– and I believe, generally all persons–  must think that whatever happens to him or her is a resource. All things have been given to us for a purpose, and an artist must feel this more intensely. All that happens to us, including our humiliations, our misfortunes, our embarrassments; all is given to us as raw material, as clay, so that we may shape our art.

~ Jorge Luis Borges

I believe that part of our spiritual nature as human beings is to be creative. We might all create something different, but fundamentally, I believe each one of us is an artist in training and our experiences will either degrade or enhance our art. The art, in the end, is the masterpiece of Us- simple, beautiful, amazing Us! You’re creating you, I’m creating Me. Once in awhile, your color will bleed into my art and my color will bleed into yours- but we each create something unique and wonderful! Remember that laughter, talents, entertainment, exercise, and education are ALL forms of personal creativity. Take your pick, grab your medium and start creating your art. 

It is the first week of school in our area, and I think on all the kiddos who will walk back into schools in August and September. I can’t think of any other strong and courageous demographic of people in our world than our middle school, high school, and new college students! Somehow, they find the strength to walk back into the same halls where just a few months before they felt sadness, loneliness, and fear; where they felt ridiculed for clothing brands, waist size, skin blemishes, or sexual preferences. Kids who see images each and every day of perfectly crafted lives and lifestyles; who compare someone’s best with their worst. 

May we each remember to release the story that defines us and simply enjoy the journey that we are currently on. May we remember that feeling sad is not the same as being sad; feeling lonely is not the same as being alone. We must release the story we tell in order to move into and create the next chapter of our lives and our experience. And may we each remember that we hold the paintbrush for the next stroke; we write the words for the next page-

Let your stroke be bold, let your words inspire