At the center of this Life Review practice, is of the power of story, of truth in the multiple stories of the same event or experience or feeling filled relationship or historical moment. Particular strands of meaning that become embedded in a larger story whose power grabs like snags in the design of an unfolding tapestry or stitches dropped in knitting pattern. What a beautiful tapestry, we hear. Yes, we say but look here. This flaw, this off colored thread, look how it shows up again and again in the pattern. It’s not quite right. The weaver must have thought no one would note the substitution and yet here it is. Look, look at this flaw. And sure enough. There it is. As true as the perfect sky over the intricately woven treetops. As true as as the unicorn standing strong and free at the edge of the pond.
Now that we see the errant thread, we find it drawing our attention while at the very same time, we note the amazing quality of the whole. This is a work we want others to behold. We invite others to see it. And inevitably in the introduction, after the ooh’s and ahh’s have subsided, it is often almost impossible, in spite of the “do not touch” sign, to lift a quavering finger and point out the counterfeit thread. And it time, in spite of the exquisite and enduring beauty of the whole, the tapestry becomes known as the “cloth of the errant thread”.
Often we do this with our own lives.
I have heard it said that humans are hard wired to veer toward the negative. Our true stories around potential fear or harm or loss or offense or negative expressions of all kinds, grounded in some primal fight of flight from the dangers of that threaten our survival, cause us to be wary of the goodness that we and others possess. And that wariness shapes our capacity to open our hearts and minds to other possibilities. Those who manage to veer in the direction of a more satisfying future, develop what we call, “resilience”. Resilience is many things but the two that seem most relevant in the endeavor to claim a new story are a willingness to live out of the bigger story and to see the “errant threads”, not as defining flaws but points for exploring greater depth.