The Power of Remembering Our Stories

This week, I was struck anew with the importance of remembering our own stories. I had meetings with two commission clients to start talking about what they would like to capture in a mixed media painting. One piece will be a gift to a loved one failing from dementia. She struggles to remember her story and it brings tears to my client’s eyes. We thought of clever ways to included images in the piece that will connect with the deeper feelings and connections that are still there even when a face cannot be put with a name. Rehearsing the story of this loved one brought tears and laughter and smiles to my client. As we remember her story for her, we also expand it.

In another meeting, a client of mine who has moved in the past couple of years spent time walking down memory lane, thinking of all the experiences and visual things that she loved about Colorado. After a few directing questions, the ball was rolling and the memories started pouring forth. She shared, “I need this right now. This year has been so difficult. To remember friends and good times is so helpful.” When we remember our stories during seasons of uncertainty, fear and isolation, we are reminded that life is rich and that the story is not over. Once again, remembering expands.

Recollecting is not just about repeating. It’s expansive because the meaning we give to memories and the various parts of our story changes as we see it a-fresh and in a different context. Remembering often involves sharing and this literally expands our story because now we have included more people within it. Our stories are meant to be interwoven. They become richer and deeper when we share them and when we weave in lessons from other stories into our own, it can change them.

So, how do we remember our stories during this season?

  • Review photos. They are wonderful at helping you remember small moments you may have forgotten.

  • Write it down. You can use story prompts like these.

  • Do things you used to love. This is a great way to revisit your story. We all have favorite movies, songs, foods, activities. Do these things if you can. If you can’t do them in the same way this season, get creative and find a NEW way to enjoy something you love.

How do we expand our stories?

  • Share. Tell your story to people you trust. Share funny memories, look at photos together, perhaps cry over the sad memories. Sharing expands. You are welcoming others into your unique story.

  • Inspire yourself. We all have things we are working on, so when we put things around us that help us remember how we want to grow, this expands our story. It takes us to new chapters when we move out of stuck places and into new vistas. Maybe there is a quote or singular word you put on your mirror. Maybe it’s a photo or song that pops up on your phone. Maybe it’s taking time to build in some routines that will help you grow.

  • Learn. Discover the stories of those around you. They. Are. Amazing. You just need to listen and ask questions. No human story is the same as any other and there are over 7.5 billion different stories to take in. And don’t just take in the information, take in the lessons they have learned.

Our stories are precious. It’s so easy to forget them or make them smaller than they need to be. This season, let’s not let our circumstances distract us from remembering and expanding.

If you want to partner with me in remembering and expanding your story or a story of someone special, I would love to talk to you about a commissioned painting. Send me an email. You might also find story expanders and reminders in my store….take a look and see what you connect with.

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