Snap the Seahorse is a character in a children’s book I’m working on.  I love seahorses, the sea, fantasy, challenges, stories of transformation. So when Jean Houston — that charismatic human-potential guide and mentor — suggested in her on-line course, Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose, (which I’m finding nourishing, healing, and passionately enlivening!), that we tell our story as a grand myth, I chose Snap the Seahorse as my heroine.

Here’s what you do.  Tell your story, the story of your life, in the usual way.  We’ve probably all done that a number of times.  I certainly have.

It’s important to include the woundings:  those events that hurt us deeply early in life, and made deep grooves in our soul and spirit.  But it’s also critical to notice not only the negative effects, but also what resources we developed coping with these wounds.

Tell the story in the usual way up to present time.  Here goes:  First, child.  Lots expected of me.  Loved, but also criticized at home.  Felt alone, excluded and very anxious to please.  Looked to the outside world, parents, friends, achievements to give me value, Lost touch with my own presence, soul, spirit, so busy was I doing what was expected of me.  Had coping strategies that worked alright, and got me through.  Was curious and interested in learning…and on and on.  (If you’ve read the essays in BECOMING: Journeying Toward Authenticity, you remember the pitfalls and the pain, but also the breakthroughs and growth that happened along the journey.  We all have such a story.)

But now something magical can happen!  Houston emphasizes, along with Joseph Campbell and others, the Power of Myth.   She suggests that we re-tell our personal story, but this time in the third person, and that we pick a character, it can be person, or an animal, or fantasy creature, who will represent us in the telling.  And we change and modify the story to give it mythic dimensions.  And most importantly, we don’t stop at present time, but take it into the future, in a bright and shining way.

When I did this exercise, I was deeply touched how precious Snap was.  I revelled in her resilience, her courage.  I had deep compassion for what she went through — in a very different way, though, with more objectively, less attachment, admiration and respect for her journey.  I experienced my life in a way I never have when I’ve told  the story in the usual way. I could sense the psychic transformation, the growing appreciation, the ways the myth making affected my sense of self and let me grow in new ways.

There were many learnings from this exercise of making myth of my personal story, and I will continue to reflect on its many dimensions.  One insight was particularly startling.  It has stayed with me and been transformational.  It happened when I recognized how Snap learned, though the trials and the triumphs, the falling downs and the picking ups, to trust herself, to know and value her own wisdom, to appreciate her resourcefulness.  She was no longer looking outside for the approval, the answers, or her purpose.  What a huge insight and gift!

And the story continues to unfold.  Who knows what may yet be in store for Snap on her Journey!  She’s open, curious, and excited about whatever may come next!

As I write this, I feel the letting go, the dropping in, the inner smile, the relief, the gratitude — for life, teachers, the many possibilities and potentials of being human.

Jill Schroder is the author of BECOMING: Journeying Toward Authenticity.  BECOMING is an invitation for self-reflection, and to mine our memorable moments for insights, meaning, andgrowth.  Check the website for a sample chapter, or see the reviews to get a flavor for the volume.  Follow me on Twitter, let’s be friends on Facebook :-)

Share this: