Do you have a "might have been" story? What my life might have been like if...I suspect many of us have "might have been" stories about what life might have been like if COVID-19 had not swept into the world and rearranged our lives!
But some of us already had "might have beens" before the virus changed all our 2020 plans. My "might have been" story is about my time in Bangladesh as a Peace Corps Volunteer. After a series of mishaps, I chose to "Early Terminate," and I returned to the U.S. after six months in-country, rather than completing my two-year term of service. I have always wondered what my life would have been like if I had not made that decision, if I had chosen to stay in Bangladesh. Over the last several years, I've been revisiting the story of this experience and gleaning deeper insight into the decision I made and what it has meant for my life.
Diane M. Millis, whose book Re-Creating A Life:Learning How to Tell Our Most Life-Giving Story is the basis for a four-week online group spiritual direction event I'm hosting starting Aug. 19, likens these "what if?" stories to phantom limbs, the pain experienced by amputees in a body part that is no longer present. She writes, "Ever since my parent's divorce, I've lived with a phantom life. Without consciously realizing it at first, I continually compared the life I was living to the life I might have lived..."
Eventually, Millis realized she was diminishing the value of her present life in comparison to this phantom life. In the process of examining the stories of her phantom life in a listening community with others, Millis learned that she could gain insight into those "might have beens" and find a new, life-giving perspective on those experiences.
While we can't rewrite history, we can re-author the stories we tell about our life experiences, and we can learn to tell a more life-giving version of those events. In order to
do this, though, we need a community. The small groups I will facilitate on Zoom on Aug 19, 26, Sept. 2, and 9 will be kind and appreciative listening communities to help one another in the process of re-authoring the haunting might-have-been stories into energizing who-I-am-now stories.
Register now at: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSezlkV84pXjic73pUWiR__5S8IGnmuwUgq7jBASjgx98UV3JA/viewform?usp=sf_link