Reflecting on Your Everyday Experience #2

“ If experience is the food of learning, then reflection is the digestive process………to benefit from experience, it is essential to make something of it….”   Obholzer 1994
This meditation is taken from the preface to my memoir ‘The Grace of a Nightingale’. It describes what I experienced when revisiting some of my memories in order to write my book. This was both painful and enlightening. You may find this meditation elicits a personal response through your own unique emotions and thoughts. As you revisit your past experiences, you may encounter an unknown inner disturbance: past hurts and forgotten memories may be reawakened.
I would like to  encourage you to think about your life experiences. This is a guided contemplative exercise in search for a deeper wondrous inner knowing and freedom. Furthermore, you may recognise hidden gifts and radical hope previously buried by fear, insecurity or self-limiting false beliefs.

This meditation will help you to understand your experiences more deeply so that you can recognise purposeful lessons, growth opportunities, persons, new wisdom etc. behind all your achievements, failures and challenges.

  • Find a place you feel comfortable and secluded then read this short passage.
  • Identify and describe your significant memories which make you feel energised and inspired.
  • Identify and describe unwelcome memories which keep catching your attention
  • Describe what is more challenging, disturbing and makes you feel less comfortable.
  • Then use the questions to reflect on how your responses to events have shaped your life and character (and not events themselves).

From the distant ruins of my past there are both unwelcome and inspirational memories which have been revisited in order to write these memoirs. It was rather like dismantling a Russian doll that contains innumerable diminishing replicas of myself, each with her own story to tell. As each cocooning image was delicately uncovered, at times it induced defensive and protective thoughts, while at others it evoked anxiety and paranoia.
All of this I was aware of and I have tried to resist their influence in the pursuit of authenticity. Despite profound tiredness and shattered hopes, the agony of carrying my untold story far exceeded the power of such thoughts, which enabled me to write these memoirs, a process imbued with its own pain.
At times I wanted to deny or run away from my suffering and imperfections. But I was given the grace to trust and surrender to the wounds and failures of my life, knowing they have taught me more than my triumphs.
While I now acclaim some of these events as successes, I only recognise such experiences in retrospect. I have attempted to be honest and truthful throughout. Because of this I have had to grapple with fear: fear of being judged, blamed and accused when certain events and circumstances could have been faced with less selfishness, naivety or vanity.
Hidden untold secrets have been brought out into the light and exposed. I have striven to resist the urge to sanitise, exaggerate or embellish the truth. There was always a stronger light beckoning beyond the dark tunnel of fear and failure.


Things to consider

From your personal recollections, what was happening that made you feel alive and energised?

What was happening which made you feel uncomfortable, uncertain or confused?

What stands out for you?

What surprised you about yourself?

What were the turning points – positive and negative?

What were you avoiding/denying/resisting?

What comforted you?

How many of the actions that shaped your life resulted from choices you made, and how many were from choices others made for you?

How many of the decisions you have made were made by taking the path of “least resistance”?

What things just happened to you, without you consciously making a decision?

What things, if any, did you do simply because they were expected of you?

What patterns, if any, do you notice?

What new awareness do you have?

What would you avoid repeating?

What does the purpose of your life seem to be so far?

What do you long and ache for?

What changes can you make which are life giving and life enhancing?


Telling and re-telling your story takes courage. It is a process of interpreting and reinterpreting the meaning of your life so far. You can make new life enhancing sense of your journey as you discover the power of your choices.






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