Monet painted more than sixty paintings with water lilies as the main theme of his study. Over and over again he studied the flower each time finding a nuanced edge that had passed his notice in his previous attempts to recreate the flower.
Perhaps he discovered a new shade of blue or rose that he had not been aware of when he painted the impression the time before.
Much of the work I do is long term. I sit with people and learn about their lives by listening to their stories. Together we notice the automatic involuntary memories that are evoked by holding up a light to their past. Some stories need to be told over and over again so that the cobwebs that lie in each corner of the memory are wiped away and the picture gets clearer and clearer.
It is not unusual for someone to say to me. “I am so tired of these same problems. I talk about them over and over again! ” And then of course the worry is that I will become bored or frustrated. I am asked if I am tired of listening to the same ‘issues’ that are on the turntable repeating and repeating.
What if someone had said to Monet: “Enough with the water lilies! Choose another subject! ” We would have missed out on some of the most beautiful impressionist art of our time. What a loss that would have been to civilization.
We tell our stories many times over to perfect our understanding of them. We decide which impressions to etch onto our personal canvas and which to omit.
We must re-tell our stories as often as we need to. Each time we gain a new and deeper understanding of the metaphors and messages they hold.