Whales are believed to be earth's greatest record keepers. 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 sea creatures, whales grew into the largest animals on earth. Human evolution, on the other hand, goes back only about two million years – so we have much to learn from these wise souls.
The Story Tree of Life
Whales manifest wondrous things, including how we may reawaken the power of story in our own lives and live into our imaginal selves.
Whales know. Story keeps us connected to our roots, whilst also helping us tune-in to 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 everyday life?
Michael Meade, mythologist and story teller, passes along the wisdom of Carl Jung in his powerful podcast "The Roots of Personal Myth". 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?
To approach wholeness, we must engage in a heart-centered way and connect authentically to self and story. And central to our story is our wounding and capacity to heal.
Here is Michael's podcast called "Finding Medicine, Making Soul" that encourages a turn into self and story as the way.
Whale invites you to explore your own personal myth and within it, your wounding and way to healing. Below are instructions for the "Story Tree of Life" from the roots at birth – on up. We do this in order to gather ourselves and assemble the fragments back into a whole cohesive self. This story is your curriculum for life. It's what shapes you into who you are and how you may serve self and the world around you. It's your literal gateway to wholeness.
By taking note of significant events at each stage of your life (going back even into your ancestry), you may come to understand how wounds translate into wisdom and awe. Like the rings of wood around the heart wood of a tree, you too grow stronger and taller year after year – each ring a record of your life and proof of your existence and resilience.
So, let's indeed chart your "Story Tree of Life" – a living testament to you.
This works by quite simply noting beside each significant phase of life the wounds and wonders that exist there and have impacted you to the core. Life seasons you this way. Pain and love are two sides to the same coin. There cannot be one without the other.
Sample Story Tree of Life
Let's begin first with a story tree of someone famous whose life we are familiar with – Prince Harry. In the sample below, the tree is complete with significant events and circumstances of Prince Harry's life. The grey boxes, including the one by the root ball, have all been left blank for now. After we contemplate his story, we'll fill in the mythic aspect for each stage of life represented. For now, go ahead and take a look and remember to start from the roots on up to take in Harry's whole story.
First: Download and print your blank copy of "Story Tree" (below). Or, you can draw the tree in your journal.
Next: With pencil, so you may make any changes, engage in storytelling by noting significant and meaningful events that occurred in your life at the various stages noted. Leave the greyed out boxes 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 you complete this first step, take a moment to receive the full shape of your story from the roots on up. Your life is full of extraordinary situations and events that season the soul towards compassion and love – if you 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 openly 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 on 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 extremely painful. 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.