What's your story going to be?
Stories about people's lives have always enthralled me, especially when told in their own words and pictures. Give me a good autobiography with photos and I'm transfixed for hours. My favourites are the ones where seemingly ordinary lives have so much more to offer through telling their story. The nuances of the human condition, simple acts of kindness and love, overcoming adversity, and the positive ripple effects which can feed out for decades to come.
Photo albums fascinate me too. Every single one captures moments from a life to be treasured. Each expression on their faces, the look in their eyes, represents a wealth of experience from the memories they chose to capture. Some are joyful moments, some more serious, all meaningful in some way.
I have even rescued old family photo albums of earlier generations of my husband's family who I've never met. Imagine the sense of achievement for these women who built careers with pioneering professional skills which many would not believe they had the choice to pursue.
The lady on the left in the top picture (also pictured above, front row) is Essel Mitchell, my husband's Great Aunt, who I believe trained to be a physiotherapist. She was a formidable and very stylish lady who travelled the world and worked in the USA for a while - very unusual at the time. With delight, I discovered her travel diaries when looking out these photos, and I'm so looking forward to going through her mementos: everything from a receipt for a coffee in Lucerne, Switzerland, to Scottish Cup Final tickets from the 1950s! It almost feels like she left these snippets of her story behind to be discovered and appreciated later.
I'd like these amazing young women to know the difference they made to the generations that followed, as well as the impact they made through their work at the time. Many more have followed them and been inspired by their achievements and breakthroughs.
Nowadays I explore people's stories for a living, helping them to connect with their past, present, and future, and hold space for them to discover the next chapter. It is a privilege - like being in a sacred space - to watch someone light up when they realise just what they're capable of, and begin to recognise how this can enhance every part of their life.
For some people it's about reframing the stories they tell themselves, appreciating the positives in life - often very simple things - and being.... well 'just being' actually. Not striving, 'doing', or wishing for life to be anything other than it is. Simple acceptance, and learning to sit with things just as they are, goes a long way to living a happier and more balanced life.
And for some there's a hunger to create the next chapter of their lives. A lot of my clients are women who recognise that they were put on this earth to do something amazing, to thrive with all their gifts and talents, and to bring the best of that to benefit others too. There's a strong drive to align with a purpose which is bigger than themselves.
The world needs us to rise up and step forward, now more than ever. What's your story going to be?