a simple exercise and ceremony of ‘re-membering:’
aren’t origin stories wonderful?
when you engage self-inquiry like ‘why do I serve?’ you encounter your own origin story – that led you onto the path of service you’re walking today in your profession.
there is power and grace in understanding and naming your origin story.
your life experiences, from the seemingly ‘small’ ones to easily-recognized and immense events, crafted you into the brilliant, flawed, gifted wonder you are today as a helper, teacher, leader, or healer.
the work you do in the world – a direct result of your origin story – ripples out to the people you serve. beyond them, there are countless others your work touches who you’ll never meet: their families, friends, loved ones, and everyone they go on to offer their love, skill and care to.
it’s an extraordinary web of loving and living to be part of.
exploring your own origin story is vital, because it helps you recognize larger patterns that shaped you, and sheds light on whether you’re still in alignment with what matters to you all these years or decades into your call to service. the more you understand yourself, the more you’re able to move with grace and skill in the current chapter of your life, and the stronger service you can offer.
it’s also refreshing and centering to be able to remember ‘why you do what you do’ in times where you feel compassion fatigue, burnout, or overwhelm, so you can come back to your own heart.
there will be countless ‘activation points’ in your life’s narrative that gently (or not-so-gently) herded you onto the path you’re on now. probably too many to consciously remember, but there are important stars shining brightly in your own sky of lived experience that can help you in your understanding today.
over here, the first ‘activation point’ moment I consciously remember that called me into a path of service was finding a sick and injured cat on the street around age 5, and nursing him back to health. how humbling to marvel at the courage and strength needed on his healing journey.
later on, in less ‘warm and fuzzy’ remembered realms, I recall an acupuncturist coldly telling me, ‘stop crying. I can either hold your hand or save your life.’ a primal voice roared awake in me that day, and replied that care without lovingkindness felt worse (for me) than no care at all…
more recently, I remember the joy of witnessing a healing miracle for a client I work with. it was extraordinary to walk with her through the sometimes-rugged ups and downs of her particular journey, from struggle into ease. with awe, we beheld how what used to break her…simply ceased to anymore. there is such liberation for everyone, when that happens.
your turn, wonderful human doing beautiful work in the world…
what’s your ‘origin story,’ that called you to serve as you do now?
was it witnessing the illness, challenge, or passing of someone you loved? was it receiving grace and generosity from those who helped you, when didn’t think you’d make it through? was it the awe of sitting ringside while alchemy happened for someone, when pain was transformed into gift?
all or none of the above – you have your own exquisite story. whether your narrative houses radiant kindness or terrible loss, it’s yours. it’s precious, and no one in creation has your unique blend of gifts and lived experience.
I imagine you’ve taken workshops where you were invited to write on a particular prompt. willingly scribbling along by hand or tapping into a keyboard, I bet you went at the exercise with the same skill and diligence you bring to your work in the world. in doing so, perhaps you discovered new light and wisdom within as a result – self inquiry is potent. it can change the shape of your world, revitalize a weary heart, or inspire and encourage.
here’s a writing exercise + simple ceremony to do just that. you’ll need:
about an hour just for you
objects of beauty
something to write with
a mirror you can prop up
1. SET THE SPACE IN A BEAUTIFUL WAY
set aside time in your busy human life for this. calendar it. honor it. make your space beautiful and strong with your intention. fresh flowers? lit candle? sun-dappled spot under the big tree? music you love? special clothing or adornment? please please don’t read this and just jump in without making space for beauty to visit. invite the setting to honor the work, and you.
2. WRITE YOUR OWN ‘ORIGIN STORY’ WITH THESE PROMPTS:
– when was the very first time in your life you remember being part of the path of service? (this could be you in action, or witnessing someone else in motion) how does that show up in your life today?
– what events since that first one were important for you, that led you into your service or profession? (each is a jewel)
– what are the main, interwoven themes in your own ‘hero’s story?’
– what have been your most painful moments in your role of service or profession? what have been the most beautiful?
– how aligned (or not aligned) are you with your original call to service? is there healing or ego release you need to do around your work so you can serve in the cleanest way possible?
– how would you like your story to end?
3. SIMPLE CEREMONY OF WITNESSING
sitting in front of your propped-up mirror so you can see your face clearly, welcome the sacred in the way that works for you. you might channel an invocation, sing, sit quietly in full presence, or speak intention to open a space of powerful witnessing. do what works for you.
making as much eye contact as possible with yourself (and also letting the ceremony be what it needs to be), read your writing out loud in front of the mirror. really witness your voice. the words you chose. the actual events that shaped you – the good, the bad, and the beautiful.
let the power and depth of your witnessing be a sacred flame that eases hurt if that’s present, and fills you with light.
when you feel complete, rest in silence for a time. notice the wind. the movement of the trees. the quality of light. how your body feels. let it settle. before you depart, thank your concept of the divine/ source/ goddess/ god/ spirit/ the oneness for helping you. invite the power of naming and witnessing in your breath and blood and bone, as you move through the process. give thanks, and close.
this is powerful to do, and you may be surprised at what is revealed.
you are a gift and a jewel, and I thank you from the bottom of my heart for what you be and do. it’s a complicated time to be in a human skin and show up for what needs mending and tending – you’re doing a beautiful job.
please take good care of you.