I read a story last week about life. It was a simple story, written in easy-to-understand words and articulated from the perspective of a “fairy”. Yes, you read that right. A fairy.
During the days that followed, I was often pulled back into the “fairy story” thinking about the choices we make, the corners we turn, and the fragility of life. I know that all this sounds pretty lofty and esoteric, but through the eyes of the narrator (the fairy), the reflective moments illustrated by the tale hit my head with a thump … and I can still feel the “ouch”.
Yes, a year makes a difference …
Through the course of my work as a Healing Conversationalist, I’ve discovered that much of what catches our time and attention depends on who we are “now” and what we are wrestling with in our lives.
For example, the reason this particular story (The Imagined Story Behind Leonard Cohen’s “Suzanne” by Michael Cunningham), appealed to me so much is because I’m in a reflective period of my life.
Would this story have had the same impact this time last year? I think not. Last year, I was focused on a Canada/USA move, so stories about packing (moving energy) gobbled up my attention.
This year, I’m in a self-imposed reflective cocoon, so the truth shared in the fairy story, combined with the whimsy of the narrator, intrigued me. It catapulted my thoughts into another realm and posed life questions I hadn’t thought in a long time. On a soul level; the story helped me figure out some of life’s unexpected twists and turns, gains, and losses.
Questions to ask yourself …
I feel we are often deeply attracted to stories and quotes that hold the “energy” of what our souls are longing to address and express. The trick is to be mindful of this self-reflective gift and have the presence of mind to ask ourselves challenging (and potentially life-changing) questions.
For example, if someone is struggling with leaping into the unknown, they might be drawn to the famous John Sheed quote: “A ship in harbor is safe — but that is not what ships are built for.”
Three self-reflective questions could be:
- If I’m the ship, what is the safe harbor?
- How does staying in the safe harbor serve me?
- What am I built for?
Or, if you desire to make a big change in your world, but feel small and insignificant, bumping into The Hummingbird story (below) might touch your heart and trigger a flood of possibilities.
The Hummingbird Story
“The world was burning and all the animals were running from the fire in terror. Then, a lion turned around and noticed a hummingbird dipping its beak into the water and flying over the burning embers again and again. The lion laughed and shouted at the hummingbird: “You are so little, what are you doing?” The hummingbird simply answered: “What I can.” With that the lion paused, turned around, and began to help the hummingbird; soon the other animals joined in. Eventually, the fire was put out and the natural balance of the Earth was restored.” – Author Unknown
If you were the hummingbird, three self-reflective questions could be:
- The hummingbird is small, yet determined. What is fuelling its purpose?
- Why did the lion laugh; and how did the hummingbird react to being mocked?
- Were you surprised when others joined in and helped the hummingbird? Why?
And for the procrastinator, being attracted to this quote might offer a much-needed jolt into action: “There are seven days in a week. “Someday” isn’t one of them.” – Author Unknown
Here are three self-reflective questions:
- What have I put on the back burner that needs to be on the front burner?
- What am I waiting for?
- I’m holding myself back. How does this serve me?
Be open. Be mindful. Pay attention.
Of course, there are many other self-reflective questions you could ask yourself. The ones above are offered, for your consideration. They are designed to get you started.
As shared earlier, observations from my work have shown me that there is often a direct correlation between compelling stories and quotes that capture our attention “in the moment” and what we have an opportunity to experience (and learn from) on a soul level.
Be open. Be mindful. Pay attention.
Enjoy the day!
Mildred Lynn McDonald is a Healing Conversationalist; or a person who is good at or fond of engaging in conversation about becoming sound, whole, and healthy again. She is the host/producer of four soulful, personal development podcasts.