Examining your “big rock” and “small rock” stories.

A Journey to Legacy™ client and I were talking about the results she was experiencing now that she is writing down her life stories.

“I feel better,” she said.

When I asked her why she thought she felt better, this wise woman said,

“It’s as if our lives are like jars filled with big and small rocks. Most of us have already pulled out, examined, and made some sense of the big rocks because they’re easy to see.

“But,” she continued, “ it’s the smaller rocks we tend to ignore, even though there may still be something about them that gets under our skin. Writing down my stories has helped me remember smaller rocks. It has made me realize those events were more impactful than I realized and that I was still carrying some shame, guilt, or regret about them. Writing down my stories has allowed me to shine the light and see those stories from a new perspective. It has freed up stagnant energy and lightened a load I didn’t even know I was carrying.”

“How do you know when a ‘small rock’ story is still weighing you down?” I asked.

“My body tells me,” she said. “I get an ‘icky’ feeling in my body when I think of some memories. That’s when I know there is something for me to examine, write about, and release.”

Her comments got me thinking . . . Isn’t that what we all want? To feel better? We change our diets, try different forms of exercise, meet with therapists, take medication, meditate and pray – all because we want to feel better.

Don’t forget to address the small rocks.

Every one of us has moments from our past that need to be healed. And most of us have worked on those big rocks in therapy or contemplation or prayer and come to some type of peace with them. 

But it’s those smaller rocks that we may have allowed to hide at the bottom of the jar, buried, as we’ve tried to forget them or given up trying to make sense of them.

Yet they impact us anyway, through our moods, our health, our behavior, and our general well-being.

At the same time, we have moments from our past that deserve to be celebrated. Times when we achieved, succeeded and were courageous and bold. Many of us allow these happy memories to exist undeservedly as small rocks. We allow our memories of empowered and happy times to be overshadowed by the big rock memories that cause us to feel shame, guilt, and regret.

My client is feeling better because she is getting all of her stories out of her head and onto the page, which makes her feel lighter. She is diving in deeper to understand how the stories she’s remembering have impacted her and made her the person she is today. She is finding compassion for and forgiving herself. And at the same time, she is finding pleasure in her memories of the good times and giving herself the well-earned credit she deserves for those things she’s done well.

She is using the writing of her stories as a healing tool. And, she feels better.

Now, it’s your turn.

Do you have a small rock story that you’ve pushed to the bottom of the jar because you feel “icky” or confused when you think about it? Or do you have a small rock story of fun and success that deserves more attention and celebration? If your answer is “yes” to either question, maybe it’s time to start writing your stories.

You deserve to feel good.