Career Ecology

Whale : The Story Tree of Life

Keeper of Story & Song

Whales are believed to be Earth's greatest record keepers of all time. It's said that in their song, they tell the story of the world – from its origins to present day. Having evolved some fifty million years ago from hoofed land animals to the sea, whales grew to be the largest animals on earth. Humans, on the other hand, go back only two million years, so we have a lot to learn from these wise souls. They manifest wonderous things, including a window into how we may reawaken the power of story in our own lives.

The Story Tree of Life

Story keeps us connected to our roots, whilst also helping us tuned into all that's possible in the unfolding moment. But, who among us has truly stopped to take in and contemplate our own life story? Aren't we all just too busy living and surviving in the present day? We are missing out.

Michale Meade, mythologist and story teller, passes along the wisdom of Carl Jung in his powerful podcast "The Roots of Personal Myth" (below). He shares this direct quote from Jung's autobiography,

"My life is a story of the self realization of the unconscious. The inner personality desires to evolve out of its unconscious conditions and experience itself as a whole."

Yes! Might that be behind all the inner turmoil we feel on any given day? What a relief to know the goal, "to experience oneself whole."

To engage a heart-centered life, we must embrace our wholeness and connect authentically to self and to story. This is ancient and rooting, and it's time.

[ tap to listen ]

And so we begin.

Whale invites you to explore your own personal myth. Below are instructions for how to begin by first illustrating your own "Story Tree", from the roots at birth on up. We do this to gather ourselves up and assemble the fragments back into a whole, cohesive story. This story is our curriculum for life. It is what shapes us into who we are and how we may serve self and the world around us.

Taking note of the significant events at each stage of our life (going back even into our ancestry), we may come to understand how wounds translate into wisdom and how the wonders translate into awe. Like the rings of wood around the heart wood of a tree, we grow stronger and taller year after year – each ring an outward sign of our resilience.

So, let's practice self care by charting our own Story Trees of Life – a living document for sure. This works quite simply by noting beside each significant phase of life the wounds and wonders that occurred there and impacted us to the core. We are seasoned this way and ultimately led to purpose and place in search of reclaiming wholeness and love for ourselves, and the world.

Sample Story Tree

As an example, we'll take a look at first the story of someone famous whose life is examined on daily basis in the media – Prince William.

Take a moment to note from the bottom on up through the various stages of his life and the significant events noted there. There may also be significant triumphs Prince Harry experienced as well that should be added for a full picture.

Now You

First: Download and print a black and white copy (to save on ink) of the blank "Story Tree" (below). Or, you can copy and draw the tree in your journal.

Next: With pencil, so you may update answers as you wish, engage in story telling by noting significant and meaningful events that occured in your life at various stages. Leave the greyed section blank for now, as this is where you will draw up the threads of your story to shape your own personal myth in the next chapter of Whale.

Once complete, take a moment to take in the full shape of your story from the roots on up. Our lives are full of extraordinary situations and events that season the soul for compassion and love – if we let them.

Each of us embodies a life story that is full of adventure, intrigue, tragedy, heroism, hope, surprise and more. As children, our stories are tied up in those of our guardian(s), differentiating later into a mature tree of its own. Feed your heart opening by connecting your roots to the full shape of your uprightness, and may you never stop reaching for the endless sky.

Privacy & Self Care

An important note self care. Reconnecting to one's story is deeply personal and it's yours to share or keep private. There may be events or situations from your life that are significant, deeply painful, and still wounding. Please take care to talk with a personal therapist for the support you may need and certainly deserve. Our wounds ultimately are gateways to compassion, wisdom and growth – but only if we practice conscious self care.

Blank Story Tree
Download PDF • 43KB


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