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Power in a Story
by Lisa Arends



Editor´s Note: Read the first two sentences and you're hooked. I love the concept that the author shares here...that you may be letting your story tell you, instead of the other wary around. The author used fitness and yoga to move through a painful divorce and to start anew. Read on....maybe you can relate and maybe you can begin to tell your story, too.


I used to let my story tell me. I was the first wife of the bigamist. I was the woman whose husband left with a text message. I was the runner who could barely walk after my world was washed away with a tsunami divorce. I used to let my story tell me. Until I learned how to tell my story.

A year and a half after my husband disappeared, I found myself at a National Wellness Institute conference. I was in the process of starting a new career as a wellness coach to supplement my occupation as a math teacher. All the sessions I signed up for dealt with physical health and nutrition. With one exception. I was drawn to class, held by Robert Fellows, MTS, that talked about how wounded healers could use their stories to help others. I was intrigued. When I entered that open, wood-planked room, I looked at my traumatic past as an entirely separate entity from my interest in wellness and healing. By the time I left, I knew that I would never be able to separate them again.

Robert began with his own story and then followed by sharing some ideas on how to craft a story and garner the attention of the audience. My mind was racing ahead of his words as I, for the first time, realized that I had the power to write my story. Some of the action had already occurred, but I could choose the genre, select the characters, and determine how the protagonist responded to the trauma.

The second half of the session consisted of the willing participants standing in the center of the room and presenting their own story. I was the first volunteer. My story was screaming to get out.

I used to think I was well but I was wrong. I used to run long distances, lift heavy weights, and I nourished my body with a healthy vegetarian diet. I used to think I was well. But I was wrong. One day I received an unexpected text from my husband of ten years.

“I am sorry to be such a coward telling you this way, but I leaving you and I am leaving the state.”

The tears began to flow again, softer than they did when received the text eighteen months prior, but still staining my cheeks as a part of me began to relive that horrible moment. My body crumpled to the floor as I continued my tale.

I lost everything with that text. My body, once so strong could barely stand. I couldn’t eat or sleep. Hell, I could barely even breathe, as my chest was bound in a straight jacket of sorrow. What I did have stood in relief against the bare floor of my life. My amazing friends and family came to my side and supported me in those days when I could not support myself.

The tears began to fade and I started to slowly lift my body off the floor.

I could now see areas in my former life that were unbalanced. As I rebuilt, I worked to correct those areas. I added meditation and yoga to my days to bring peace and acceptance. I found peace on the mat and learned to carry it into my days. I began to accept breath and the healing energy it provides. Yoga taught me that discomfort is temporary and can be greeted with an open mind and open heart. Strength found its balance in softness. And, doing was met by being, as I learned how to live with a to-be list instead of just a to-do one.

Sliding my legs under my frame, I moved to stand.

I learned to run again. I built back my strength. I learned how to nourish my body even better than before. And, most importantly, I learned how to breathe – to accept the purifying air and release the pain with each exhale. I used to think I was well. Now I know I am.

Shaking, I returned to my seat. I was stunned to look around the room and see tears in most of the fifty pairs of eyes that followed me. I learned several important lessons that day.

* Our stories are not separate from who we are and what we do. They are written. Denying them does not change that.

* We can choose how to frame our story. Some of the characters and actions may have already occurred, but we can chose how the next chapter begins.

* By taking ownership of your story, you take yourself out of the role of a victim. You cannot control what happens to you, but you can choose how you respond.

* There is power in your story. We tend to replay our stories and we believe what we repeatedly hear. What do you want your story to tell you?

* Your story can help others heal. There is no better way to turn your pain into something beautiful.

Pick up a pen and write the rest of your story. 



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About the Author


Lisa Arends works as a math teacher and a wellness coach. After using her own sudden divorce three years ago as a catalyst for positive change, she now helps people navigate their own divorces. She loves to lift heavy weights and run long distances, and she is still learning how to meditate. Lisa chronicles her journey through divorce and into wellness in her book Lessons From the End of a Marriage.
Website: lessonsfromtheendofamarriage.com and actionpotentialwellness.com
Twitter: @stilllearning2b





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