Everytime I run Marin Headlands, I explore a different trail. Today, I ran farther than anticipated. I panicked when I realized that an out-and-back would be 20 miles. My only option was to piece together past trail runs and figure out a way to loop back to my car. I was on unfamiliar terrain when I spotted a group of kids and their hike leader.
"How far to Miwok trail?" I gasped.
"Just around the corner," he answered.
The kids gave me a line of high-fives and cheered me on as I ran past them. Once I turned the corner, I recognized where I was. It was my "Aha!" moment of utter exhilaration and relief. It felt like my trail runs were now all scotch-taped together in a way that made perfect sense.
I once heard about a novelist who approaches writing in a non-linear fashion. She doesn't write a book from start to finish. She writes independent scenes instead. Random. Unique. Inspired in that moment. Much later in her writing process, she prints them out and rearranges them like puzzle pieces and physically tapes all those sheets of paper together. The raw material for her storyline is literally held together by scotch tape. What a magical moment for her to sit cross-legged on the floor and witness months of labor come together in a synergistic way.
We go through life as though our experiences are independent events. That job. That relationship. That move. We should take the time to connect the dots, to sit on the floor with scissors and tape and piece together our narrative. Our story. In a way that feels meaningful and makes sense to us.
What we tell ourselves is largely self-constructed. You'll be overwhelmed with delight when you see the beauty in your own story arc for the first time. It's like getting high-fived by a whole line of kids as you run towards the sun.