The Stories I Don’t Want to Tell

Every morning, I ask the Divine a question, “How shall we play today?” Beginning this morning, I added a second question, “What story shall we tell?” The answer came almost immediately. I was guided to write about the stories I don’t want to tell.

Author and speaker Byron Katie has taught me valuable truths about these kinds of stories, the ones we make up in our minds that are responses to life situations. She says we create stress in our lives when we argue against what is, instead of accepting it. We go into our heads and create untrue stories around a situation, and then believing the story we have made up as truth, we unwittingly invite misery in.

You wave at a friend at a crowded mall food court. She doesn’t wave back. In fact, she appears to ignore you completely as she rushes by. Your mind immediately builds a story around that incident. She must be upset with me, to ignore me like that. What have I done to her? She believes she is better than me. I don’t like her anyway.

On and on the thoughts go, building a story based on a perception. The emotions the story generates feel genuine, and affect your mood and your whole day. Later you find out the friend did not see you at all. She was distracted as she rushed to purchase a gift for her mom’s birthday. The situation created had everything to do with your thoughts about it, and nothing to do with the friend.

I experienced this type of negative story telling, when I twisted my knee in October. As I dealt with pain again, after being pain free for more than a year, my mind began spinning out a story about what was happening.

This always happens with my left knee! It is weak. It gives me trouble. What if it doesn’t heal? What if my knee hurts for years? What will people think, after I’ve shared my healing journey, if they see me limping again?

On and on my story went, until I brought myself back into reality, back to the present moment and complete awareness. The truth was, my left knee twisted. And it was painful, as a result. That was all. That was the real story.

From my fifteen months of adhering to a plant based lifestyle, and learning to care deeply for myself, I knew what to do to heal. I applied knowledge, and tenderness, toward improving my knee….and it healed.

One of the most freeing lessons I have learned in the last few years, is to not go into the stress inducing practice of creating untrue stories around people, events and situations. I have learned to stop myself when I begin to do so. During my Year of Surrender, I discovered that telling myself untrue stories moved me out of the flow of life. I could feel the resistance my thoughts created, and that became my signal to release them, and return to the flow.

Life is easy in the flow. Life is without stress, in the flow. Byron Katie says, “We don’t attach to things; we attach to our stories about them.” And who has control over the stories I tell? I do. Who has control over the stories you tell? You do.

Stories are compelling. Whether they are good stories that encourage, or stories that create stress, they have the ability to shift us energetically, upward or downward.

Robert McKee ways, “Storytelling is the most powerful way to put ideas into the world.” 

I take my responsibility, as a storyteller, as an alchemist, very seriously. The ideas that I put out into the world, by way of my stories, will be held to a high standard. No one else sees the world exactly as I do. No one else can tell the stories that I can tell. The same is true for you. I am excited to share my stories with you. I am excited to hear the stories you will share with me.

 

Year of Stories

It’s a fresh new day, at the very beginning of a fresh new year. And that means I am embarking on a fresh new journey. Last night I turned the final page on the book that was last year. It is finished. To paraphrase Brad Paisley, “Today is the first blank page in a 365 page book. Write a good one.”

If you have been walking alongside me for a while, you know what a new year brings with it: a new word, to represent my journey ahead, a new symbol that corresponds with the theme, and typically a new song, or quote, to remind me who I am as I explore the path ahead.

The word, symbol and song/quote are part of a Divine roadmap that I am given, to guide me. I realized years ago that I was not selecting these tools, they were being given to me. They arrive when they arrive, one by one, through synchronicities, signs and sheer repetition. I am usually seeing the next journey come together by September or October, well before the next year begins. There is typically some overlap of experiences, which actually serves as confirmation that I am headed in the right direction.

My word for 2018 is “story”. I am very excited about the intention of writing a daily story. We tend to think of stories as fictional tales, but a story can describe a historical event or person, or present day ones, or they can enlighten and teach, entertain or encourage. Every person, every object, every event has a story connected to it.

In fact, it is our stories that connect us to each other…highlighting the ways we are alike or the intriguing ways we are different. They draw our compassion or our scorn, that make us laugh or cry, they give us courage or make us afraid. Stories are so powerful. William H. Gass wrote, “The true alchemists do not change lead into gold; they change the world into words.”

I love that quote! I intend to be an alchemist this year, capturing my world by way of my words. I want to be mindful of the kinds of stories I am telling, and make sure they entertain, inspire, uplift, encourage or challenge, in positive ways.

My symbol for 2018 is a feather quill. The feather was the initial image I was given, and today I spent time studying the rich symbolism connected to it.

Feathers, by their connection to birds, represent freedom and flight, suggesting a heightened perspective of the world, and the ability to see the bigger picture. Think a bird’s eye view as it soars above the earth. They also represent travel, and not just physical travel, but traveling with the mind and spirit.

The feather signifies communion with the Divine, and finding a feather is considered a message from Spirit. I frequently find feathers. I expect to encounter many this year.

And, feathers are connected to abundance and growth, levity and lightness of being. Finally, they represent communication. A feather quill is a universally recognized symbol for writing and storytelling, making it an ideal representation for me. I don’t own a quill pen…yet…but I believe I soon shall!

I just received my song for this year within the last few days. I have been captivated by This is Me, from the Greatest Showman movie and soundtrack. It resonates deeply with me. What a powerful song to stride confidently into this new year with, singing out, literally and figuratively, I am brave, I am proof, I am who I’m meant to be…this is me! This song’s message provides an important foundation for using my voice in telling the stories I will tell.

The first day of a new year, while it ushers in keen anticipation, is always a bit disorienting for me. I just completed 365 days around a different theme, and I became attuned to receiving inspiration. Today I stepped into unknown territory with a map that is added to daily, as I journey, and a set of divine clues, to be opened one at a time. I don’t plan out what will happen, because I don’t know! Instead I set off down a new path and I will see where it takes me. I can trust that guidance will be given, at the right time. I can trust as well that the journey will be playful and enriching and it will provide me with many opportunities to learn and grow…and write stories.

I mentioned yesterday that I felt a bit reluctant to leave my Year of Inspiration. I used Alan Rickman’s quote as the foundation for my daily experiences, making life a little more tender and art a little more robust. It felt odd today, knowing I would not be typing one of those bylines into the blog post categories, or into the blog meme.

As I was gathering info this afternoon, looking at quotes about story, I was delighted when my guide from last year popped up unexpectedly. It felt like a fond send off from an old friend, as I am swept off on the next adventure to I know not where.

“I like it when stories are left open.” Alan Rickman

Good advice. I teared up, and then laughed. Me too, Alan. Me too.