Hi, I’m Dr. Gerard Gibbons, on-location in the Owens Valley, one of the most magnificent landscapes in the world. A good place to demonstrate how important perspective, memories and stories can be.
These mountains in the distance are the Sierra Nevadas or High Sierras as they are more commonly known. They’re the highest peaks in the continental United States. A view like this can change ones perspective. It can help us assess our work, our relationships, even our lives.
I am on the way to meet my oldest brother in these mountains, and we have a lot of catching up to do. There will be storytelling during the day and around the fire at night, too — Stories about backpacking over these passes since I was a kid and flyfishing for golden trout in glacier fed waters well beyond the reach of most people.
We will share stories about a mother, father and brother who are no longer here, who are deeply intertwined in those memories. And through that sharing, we will be reminded of the lessons they left behind. Yes, this will be an opportunity for that. And that’s the thing about telling and listening to stories: we can re-live and enjoy the past through our shared memories. Even details can be recalled with impressive clarity. We can be reminded and grounded through meaningful stories in our past. I am sure that resonates with you too.
As far as my brother and I, I haven’t seen him for awhile. It will be nice to catch up. We are both busy much of the time, and we have to schedule trips like this just to hang out the way we used to.
These moments are rarer than I would like. But such is life. And I am grateful for this moment. We will give each other the gift of time together. We can talk about our future plans, project our paths for our families, ourselves, about the next year… important stuff.
Stories do that, they let us examine where we came from as well as rehearse the idea of where we’re going.
We can actually change our trajectories through stories. What I mean by that is by simply telling someone our story, we can decide to change it once we’ve said it, if we don’t like it. That process alone can shape us and our future. You may have heard the saying “it’s your story and your sticking to it.” Well that is true, unless you decide you want to change your story. Then you can “rewrite it.” And that more to do with change, something worth focusing on at another time.
For now, this about changing perspective and memories and the power of stories that drive them.
Anyway, I am inspired by the beauty of all of this. Just being here quickens the senses and elevates my thoughts.
Well, I’m off to meet my brother… Next time, you can bet I will have new story to share.