There is a question to which we can return again and again that brings us back to a place of instinctive and effortless personal authority, even when circumstances and events greater than us make us feel powerless or small.

When we ask this simple question, we invite ourselves to stay connected to the deeds, thoughts, and words that we possess and that continually write the narrative of our self-storied lives.

The question to ask that helps us return to a place of personal authority — even when circumstances are far beyond your control — is:

“How do I want to remember this moment?”

2020: Uncertainty Season, Again…

Of all the weeks in 2020, this week feels like the start of a particularly daunting climax: big and uncertain events are unfolding like the U.S. Presidential Election (and whenever its results will be completed and officially reported), not to mention the ongoing and worsening pandemic worldwide.

We are all a part of these meta-narratives: collective stories that wrap the world over, and instantly so, given the nature of the tools in our pockets.

Never before in the history of humankind have meta-narratives such as these had such singular, or immediate, impact upon our own individual perceptions of the stories of our lives.

It is so easy to forget this simple reality:

Never before have human beings had to grapple with how easy it is that our technology — and, in turn, our way of life — influences our perceptions, and thus, our stories.

From global, 24/7 news media to text messaging and tweets, radio and YouTube, email and social media, advertising that follows us wherever we go and beyond, we are subject to a literally unheard of quantity and volume of stories that shape our perceptions of what reality is.

While meta-narratives in a globalized world can make us feel more connected to others — and, theoretically, bring us closer together than ever — they also create an illusion that the stories of our lives are limited to what stories we hear the most, and the loudest.

The frequency and persistecy with which we hear these collective stories today constrains the feeling of possibility or potentiality for us to tell our own stories, for ourselves.

…especially during times when circumstances and events feel so big, so daunting, so uncertain, and so beyond our individual control to change.

“How Do I Want to Remember This Moment?”

This week, friend, and despite all that is (and forever remains) outside of our control to change “all on our own,” I would like to encourage you to take back some personal power and authority by returning to a question that I’ve found to help center us back in our truth, our choice, and our self-storying capacities:

“How do I want to remember this moment?”

Of course, my friend, there is no way to know how we might feel in the future about what we did in the present.

The point of the exercise of imagining how you’ll feel “someday” isn’t knowing how we’ll feel in the future, as if with total certainty. The point is to affirm, here and now, that you do have some choice, personal agency, and ability to shape the story of this moment as you live it.

…even when meta-narratives, collective stories, and huge events of which we are all participants feel beyond our control or influence.

By asking ourselves a question like, “How do I want to remember this moment?”, we engage in a thoughtful exercise: we reconsider what we assume to be true about what the story of this moment “is” or “must be.”

Through inquiry — simply by being curious and asking a question — do we challenge the supposed certainty of a reality that is bad, stressful, anxious, daunting, uncomfortable, sad, scary, or unpredictable.

Through inquiry — asking, “What if? What else? What’s more?” — we rediscover abundance and potentiality, which is the subtle but governing reality of our entire universe.

When we ask, “How do I want to remember this moment?”, we move into a new space of potential where personal choice and agency reign.

When we ask, “How do I want to remember this moment?”, we return to what choices we do possess, instead of fixating on those we don’t, or resigning ourselves to what’s beyond our control.

When we ask, “How do I want to remember this moment?”, we return to the power that is born from within us, not what is outside or beyond us.

Let’s Stop Surrendering Our Personal Power

As a result of what it is to be alive in our world right now, many of us have developed an instinctive habit of surrendering some of our own self-storied powers. We unconsciously assume that others’ stories — especially the big, sweeping meta-narratives in the news and on social media — are, by default, our own individual experiences and stories in each given moment.

When we surrender that authority — and assume that a collective story is destined to be our own personal experience — we give up the power we possess to tell our own stories for ourselves.

Instead, we sink into perspectives and beliefs that are not entirely our own: stories that are “told for us” by others, from media interests to social media algorithms, consumer shopping patterns, or because powerful people want us to think or feel one way over another.

Today, my friend, I wish to encourage and remind you of this:

Please remember and honor the individual choices that are always available to you.

As best as you can. As often as you can.

Today is a good day to ask yourself, “How do I want to remember this moment?”

How would you like to?

How would you like to be able to look back and say that you received, responded to, and self-storied the experience of this time?

What do you wish to someday say that you retreated into?

What book do you want to say that you opened?

What journal would like you to have begun; what pages written?

Who did you call?

Who did you thank?

What spirit of generosity did you share, and how, and with whom?

What curiosity, wonder, or exploration might you finally find the space — and determination of will — to give yourself?

There are things within our control, and things not.

Of all the things that are not, one of the subtle but lasting powers that we possess is the power to tell our own stories for ourselves.

Today, dear friend, I ask you to please ask yourself:

“How do I want to remember this moment?”