In my experience as an editor for film and video, a common problem is having enough raw content with which to create something of substance, flow, and meaning. So much is decided in fragments of seconds, very often in only one or two frames, that we can easily run out of useable material.
Editing, is manipulation. Editing changes the pacing, meaning, theme and structure, and editing alters the altering eye.
As we journey through life, we consciously create and edit our story, through select memories, through the significant moments, through the emotional bookmarks that stand out. It is a perpetual cycling and recycling of experiences, that is as dynamic as our heartbeat, and changes shape as we evolve, learn, unlearn, trip, fall, stand up, rinse and repeat.
Every so often, perhaps when establishing a new relationship, or finding ourselves in a situation where we need to briefly, succinctly recap who we are, the tell-me-about-yourself trigger initiates yet another pass by the internal (story, film, script) editor. In an effort to both remind ourselves, and to effectively relate the nutshell of a lifetime to another, we filter on-the-fly, and disclose selectively, based on who we are now, and who we’re talking to.
Some of us pad the details. Some of us go far beyond modesty and minimize our accomplishments. Whatever method we choose, if it’s unpracticed and unrehearsed, we may struggle to connect the dots, and suddenly find ourselves telling a pretty short story.
But there’s got to be more! If you’re 20, 30, 40 years old, that’s between 7,300 and 14,600 days you’ve been around. Surely there’s enough in there to tell a rich, deep, powerful, meaningful story, right?
The most impressive of sculptures take many thousands of chips, cuts, or manipulations with our fingers, hands, and tools, before the artwork emerges. The soul, and the substance of the thing is in the countless details, in the millions of decisions, in the billions of thoughts . . .
We shouldn’t be so quick to discount the depth of our life’s story, in an effort to save ourselves embarrassment, or to color the perceptions of others, or to hide our pain. Everybody works within the same spectrum, employing the same variables of fear, love, worry, trust, anxiety and ease.
Our culture is heavily biased toward saving face, so much so that we physically alter and manipulate our appearance with knives, lasers, implants, tints, and poisons. In our minds, we consciously choose to say this, not that, and to mention this, but omit that. Thus, over time, we lose the essence of why we’re here in the first place. Life, as we know it, becomes a thin, superficial fiction, based on a true story. And we know that in our diseased, dysfunctional, distorted media, that the truth is nowhere to be seen.
It is courage that fuels authenticity. It is authenticity that grounds vulnerability. It is vulnerability that initiates surrender, and integrates the fragmentation of our beingness, bringing it all back together, and makes whole the puzzle of a thousand million instances of who we thought we were. The depth of our character is founded on knowing that all of it means something, and that all of it counts, and that our story — our complete story — is unique, beautiful, and relevant.
Love your life,