Story and Why
"Your Life is Your Story" Blog Archives
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Reflecting on Volume
September 22, 2021
As a 5th grade teacher I get to teach my students a variety of
subjects. I try really hard to include life lessons and life skills
along with the things they should learn as part of their elementary
This week in math I have been teaching them the concept of volume.
Volume is defined as "the quantity of three-dimensional space enclosed
by a closed surface." So we talked about how to fill that space in
boxes or other three-dimensional objects. And there is the well known
formula of length times width times height.
Math lesson aside, volume is a concept that can speak, well, volumes about our
lives and life experiences. Anyone who enjoys boisterous and exciting
events such as sports, concerts or fireworks displays can make a
connection to volume (as in sound) and perhaps even the amount of fun.
Here in Albuquerque we have an event about to take place in October -
Hot Air Balloon Fiesta
- that is full of sights and sounds and is quite incredible. A lot of
air must fill those balloon envelopes. When they are properly inflated
with air and heated with propane burners they rise majestically. The
skies get filled with sometimes hundreds of hot air balloons at one
Aside from volume as sound or as mathematical measurement, I like to
think of the idea of volumes of life stories. We are all living a life
that has many experiences and lessons. When we record these in books,
oral history or on video we are adding to the amount of recorded
history. Every person has a story. Consider adding yours to the volumes
of personal histories. It doesn't have to be part of your local library
(although that's not a bad idea), but it can be part of your family
Memoirs Help You Consider the Meaning of Your Life
September 15, 2021
You are on a journey. This life journey takes you to physical places,
but also places we can only call spiritual. The inner journey is where
you try to make sense of it all.
In some ways I think every memoir has a spiritual angle. Some people
write about their life and their spirituality, their faith, in an overt
way. Others refer to it in a more subtle way. However you
approach it, realize that the meaning of life is discovered only as we
I really enjoy exploring the deeper questions about life and how things
connect. It does require having a willingness to believe in things we
might not be able to clearly explain or point to. That's okay. We all
encounter the "unknown" at various stages of life.
For myself, I know that there have been some particular life events
where it became clear to me that something bigger than me was at work.
Call it what you want - God, Spirit, the Universe, Love - this "bigger
thing" has made an impact over and over again.
In an article by John Longhurst, Spiritual
memoirs reflect on the deeper meanings of life,
there is the consideration that many people have about their lives
beyond just the life events. This is what storytelling and sharing our
life experiences is all about. And many people relate to these stories,
especially the spiritual aspect.
I invite you to consider the spiritual side of your story. It doesn't
have to be the central part of your memoir. However, it might help you
better appreciate the journey you are on.
of 9/11 or Learning the History
September 9, 2021
Twenty years ago. It seems like a long time. But the memory of that
fateful day in September of 2001 is etched in the minds of those who
lived through it. Not just those who were there in New York City,
Washington D.C. or Pennsylvania. People around the country and around
the world can recall where they were when they began hearing and seeing
the news of the 9-11 terrorist attacks.
But what of those who were just babies, or not even born? To them it is
history that they hear about. We teach it in schools. We share it with
our families. This kind of historical event is different from those
long ago before we were born. And there is no doubt that the world has
changed in some sad and frightening ways since that day of terror.
is airing a special
on Friday night with Diane Sawyer that features children of victims of
9-11. Over the years they have kept in touch with some women who were
pregnant at the time and whose babies never knew their fathers, at
least not physically.
There are many now adults who were also very young children and who
have spent two decades grieving the loss of fathers they never knew.
Imagine that burden.
We must remember history. We must not forget those who suffer as a
result of events like September 11, 2001. I've been to NYC and the Memorials
While I wasn't personally touched by the tragedy I have been with some
who were. I've listened to their stories and felt their pain. Some
survived. Some did not. The wounds are real, but I believe that we can
find ways to make our wounds sacred. They can be touchstones, yes, of
pain, but also of spiritual growth and development.
A world without war, terrorism, hate and violence seems like a pipe
dream. But it is not impossible. Worthy goals like peaceful living and
caring for others are how we change the world.
September 6, 2021
Today is Labor Day.
It is historically a day to recognize the labor movement and workers.
As a teacher AND a writer/personal historian I truly appreciate days
off. So I am enjoying a slower pace on this holiday.
At the same time, I am someone who tends to stay busy. One of the gifts
of an unrushed day is the opportunity to reflect, write and ponder how
I can be a better version of myself. I become more productive
taking time to "stop and smell the roses", as the saying goes.
Our society has taken some gut punches surrounding how we spend time,
what it means to have meaningful work, how to deal with heavy issues
like health (Covid has done a major shakeup in this area) and dealing
with uncertainty and the unexpected.
An important lesson that I hope more of us have learned in the past
year and a half is that we all are better off when we live in the
present moment. Plans are still necessary, but things often don't go
the way we plan. No kidding.
Companies and those who deal with them regarding labor and the
workforce have discovered what I think has been on the minds of many of
us, even if it was in our subconscious. The way we work, the kind of
jobs we do, the rewards (or lack of) for giving our efforts to build a
sustainable life have all been brought into a greater focus as the
result of a pandemic, our turbulent politics and the realities of our
use of natural resources.
I care about this alot. For my own well-being and also for the future
of the children I teach. The combination of teaching young children and
working with more elderly life story clients is an intriguing mix.
We have opportunities to rework how we work. A survey by PwC reveals how many
people are trying to align their values with a new work reality. And
companies like Red Havas
are taking steps to cater to the new workforce reality with intentional
decisions on how to handle meetings (go for a walk with your
co-workers), more time off (two more paid summer days off a month),
hybrid workplace opportunities, and mental wellbeing considerations
(they ask their employees to take one hour a week "on the clock" to
actively improve their physical and mental health, such as reading a
book, getting exercise or learning a new skill).
Life should not be all about work. It should be all about living. How
we approach that living includes finding ways to support ourselves and
our families. Isn't it time we all took a good hard look and came up
with more ways to re-work the way we make a living? One of the reasons
years ago I invested in creating an online business was to give myself
more purpose and freedom. Take a look at what