Wednesday, July 1, 2015

The Power of Story by Cynthia Lee

art and images by Cynthia Lee
{A note from Beth: from May through August 2015, I am featuring some delicious guest writers here on the blog as I recover from pregnancy and birth and adjust to our new family rhythms (find more details here).  Enjoy!}

So far, 2015 has been a year of intentional wandering as I have chosen to push pause on the external voices that I had allowed to guide me in the past. Though I honor the good that has been brought into my life via the words of kindred spirits, I felt that it was time to be my own guide, to listen to my own wisdom, to find my way in the world.

I thought this year would brings huge adventures as I carved out time for myself. It's not to say that life has been boring but it certainly has felt more aimless than I intended. There is something missing. It feels as though I have forgotten something. At times I have longed to go back to my guides, to being led ever so gently, to whispers of, this might be a good way.

These words were gifted to me today: I just don't believe in the system anymore.

Yes. yes. I stopped believing in systems a long time ago.

Long before I rejected the school system for my own children, I identified the farce it was in my own life. I may have played along but I knew full well it was all a game to play. It wasn't real. I didn't need the classroom, the tests, and grades to motivate my learning. I was and am insatiably curious.

After years of playing a role in the perpetuation of thin belief, words began to echo in my mind as I marched in and out of the church building each Sunday: there has to be more to it than this. Thus began the unraveling of another system. I was tired of pouring energy into the facade of community, of family, of support. The empty promises piled up around me and became the staircase of rubble that I used to climb out. The people of God let me down long before the word of God became a fairytale I could no longer believe in.

Systems exist everywhere. A quick internet search will find articles, books, and workshops for blogging, painting, internet marketing, journaling, home management, parenting, clean eating, fitness, meditation. You name it and someone is offering a system for it.

Call me jaded but I just don't believe in it.

What do I believe in?

Ah. Here is the missing piece. Here is what I forgot as I took off on my own.

I believe in the power of story.

This statement came about a while ago after purposefully considering what beliefs I had left behind and what I was left with. I knew that I believed in beauty, in truth, in authentic experience, in good overcoming evil and when I considered where I encountered such things, it was in the act of story. Whether in a book, movie, musical, play, song, dance performance, or in the shared conversation over a cup of coffee, I love story. I believe that story has the power to change lives for better and for worse. I want to be a storyteller and a story holder. I want to speak and I want to listen. Most of all, I want to allow story to move through me in expression.

So this is what has been missing this year while out wandering the wilds of my soul. I have forgotten to tell my story. I may have even forgotten how to tell my story. I might have let myself believe that it wasn't important or that it was self serving. Already, it felt selfish to be focusing so intently upon my own soul journey. I have been conditioned to serve the journeys of others as my primary and most important work. It was a real struggle to say aloud, "I cannot give to you right now." Yet, these are words that I had to say, that I still have to hold onto.

Today, half-way through the year, I am reminding myself that this story is important and my words are important. If I don't tell my story, someone else will tell it for me.

As important as it is to take this journey, it is as equally important to record it, to speak it, to give voice to the getting lost and being found. I begin today. 

Cynthia Lee is an artist, thinker, feminist, unschooler, reader, storyteller, story-listener, mother soul, wife and lover, and spirit uncaged.  Follow her on Instagram.


  1. You are a gorgeous and brilliant soul, Cynthia. I'm glad we get to hear and feel your story from you and no one else. Love and love, friend. <3

  2. thank you for reading, Karen!


"I am glad you are here with me."
― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Return of the King