How Writing Your Fairy Tale Can Lead to Healing
Did you enjoy fairy tales as a child? How about as an adult? These stories keep our attention, connect us with larger than life characters and always have a moral or theme that even as adults, we can learn something. But how about this? Have you ever thought of your life as a fairy tale?
As part of an assignment for a workshop I attended, we were asked to create a fairy tale or a spiritual autobiography if you will. It was meant to acknowledge, honor and possibly even heal aspects of our past. I wasn’t quite sure I could write something such as this. I never thought of my life in terms of a story.
But when I began to recall and write down the highs and lows over the course of my life, a story did in fact emerge. I retraced my beginnings, feeling what it was like to be that child again with hopes and dreams for the future. Then I stepped back and observed how my life had unfolded. I relived the joys and also wondered how I came to make certain decisions which caused me such heartache.
The stepping back was key
I became the observer of my life, not the judge or critic. I asked the question, “What was that experience meant to teach me?” I could retell my story now because I could see the heartache was just a temporary destination on my life’s map. A place to stopover but never meant to live. I came to know heartache as a wise teacher and surprisingly, with new understanding of my choices, I found I let the pain go. These experiences no longer held power over my past, they were a part of the journey.
So writing my story did help me heal. In fact, writing my story led me full circle….to begin again.
I’d like to share my fairy tale with you.
She Believed She Could So She Did
Once upon a time there lived a princess. She lived in a castle by the sea with the King and Queen and many siblings. The castle was always filled with love and laughter. However the princess felt a bit separate from all the rest, never quite knowing how she fit in. The princess preferred to read of grand adventures and spend her time alone or with a close few. She often found herself by the water’s edge, gazing out into the wide open sea, with dreams of sailing to far off lands.
The princess was a dutiful daughter, always looking to please the King and Queen by being what she thought they wanted her to be. What the princess didn’t realize was that she never knew who she could really be. The King and Queen kept her close and she did what was expected, got her degree and MBA. The princess began a career doing what she was good at, at a place where the King thought she should be. The work was not really what she was passionate about but that was ok because a career was just a placeholder. For you see the princess thought she was meant to be a wife and mother.
As time passed, the Queen became stricken with a terrible, progressive disease. The princess did all she could for her, staying by her side. But alas the Queen could fight no longer and the time came to let her go. Tragically, this was too much for the youngest Prince to bear, as the Queen was everything to him. Shortly thereafter, the young Prince ended his life and joined the Queen to finally be at peace.
While the losses were devastating for the Princess, she pushed on and tried to make sense of her life. The princess did marry, not once, but twice. While these men led her to believe they were her knight in shining armor, the princess came to see, they were just toads with too many warts for her to overlook. Again, the princess thought, who am I meant to be?
On her own now, with no husband or children and both the Queen and now more recently, the King having passed, the princess looked deeply at her life and all the ways in which she let fear hold her back.
What has the princess learned you ask? It may have taken her half her life, but you see the princess realized while looking back, that God blessed her with this one beautiful life. It was up to her to listen to her heart. For there, God had placed the purpose of her life, always within, waiting to be discovered. The princess knew it was her destiny to embark on the journey of self- discovery and claim her purpose in this world. This was the journey she longed for all those years ago as she dreamed by the seashore. So with newfound belief, faith and courage, the princess grasped her compass, the one God had given her at birth, and set off to discover her one True North!
I invite you to create your fairy tale, become the observer of your life, see the story in a way you weren’t able to before, and retell the story to let healing begin. Find a quiet space where you won’t be interrupted. Then think back to the milestones in your life, and begin to write them down in sequential order, similar to a life timeline. Place a “+” or “-“next to each one signifying either a positive or negative experience. Next, think about what that experience taught you and how it might have influenced your life. Is there a different way in which you could interpret the lows in your life which led you to something good? Reflect on how one event might have led you on a path you may not have taken and how each step on that path is connected. Do you see the story emerging? Write your story. Let me know what you learn!
You might enjoy reading,
“IN the EVER AFTER…Fairy Tales and the Second Half of Life” Allan B. Chinen