Craft Your Life: Learn How To Rewrite Your Health Story

By: Kalia Kelmenson | Spirituality & Health

The events of our lives can be considered from a strictly ‘just the facts’ point of view. When they are pivotal moments that change the course of our lives, however, it’s worth looking at the perspective we’ve taken.

Two years ago, my dad died. While his health had been suffering, his sudden death left me shocked, wishing I could have helped him somehow. I grieved his death, was supported by my community, and felt that I was coming to grips with it. A year and a half later, I got a cough that wouldn’t go away. It woke me every few hours at night, and without restorative sleep, I felt raw and vulnerable during the days, unable to participate in activities that I enjoyed. I finally resolved the cough after three months, but it left me feeling weak. For the next three months, I suffered from one ailment after another. I felt exposed, lacking my normal vitality.


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Eventually, a friend suggested I see an acupuncturist. I scheduled an appointment, and when I walked in, the floodgates opened, and I started crying. I told her what had been going on since my dad’s death. She told me that in Chinese Medicine, grief is held in the lungs. Suddenly I understood. What I had been thinking was a shortcoming of my body or maybe part of getting older, was actually a manifestation of my emotional body needing to be heard.

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When I picked up Emily Esfahani Smith’s new book The Power of Meaning: Crafting a Life that Matters I was drawn into a chapter on storytelling. She explores how the ‘narrative choices’ we make about the traumas, choices, and events in our lives informs how we live, and how we feel about life. She reports on the work of psychologist Dan McAdams, who has found that people who tell ‘redemptive’ stories about their lives are the ones who choose to make contributions to the world. Telling a redemptive story does not change the facts, but it does change the interpretation.

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