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3.22.2007

Changing our story

We mean something different about the idea of "stories" when we've changed our story. We didn't get told a story. We've been living inside a story we tell ourselves. People call this a "life changing experience". I find it's the most valuable kind of learning experience I can create for others and myself.

Therapists describe this as a "change at a cosmological level of meaning". This is deeper than a change of habit, attitude or explanation. This revises the meaning of life. The "facts of life" are transformed. The world seems different somehow. Feelings have changed about oneself, others and past histories.

I find it helpful to see us living inside stories -- that we can step out of anytime. Parents put us inside their story, which early on gives us an identity and meaning to our lives. Their story usually feels too confining during adolescence and a rebellion ensues. A new story is discovered that defies the imposed parental narrative. When adults continue to live inside their parents' story, these adult-children act out anger, stifle their feelings, suffer from bad decisions and fail to find satisfaction in accomplishments. The parental story suffocates the lives that are meant to be lived.

Many adults I know live inside victim stories. They thrive on self-pity and live in their past. Other acquaintances live inside conquest stories. They thrive on winning at other's expense and living in the future where their goals and ambitions reside. Both are stories that are meant to be left behind.

Inside a confining story, we tell ourselves a story about life. We say "it has to be this way", "all is not possible", "change is unrealistic" or "this is my fate, destiny and luck". We argue in favor of limitations. We box ourselves in with restrictive beliefs.

When we've gone through a life-changing experience, we tell ourselves a different story about life. We say "people change", "it doesn't have to be this way", "we create our destiny" and "we can accomplish what we set our mind on". We experience leaving an old story and entering a new one.

We then see how our lives were the product of the story we told ourselves. We didn't tell a story about what happened. What happened told the story about what we had limited ourselves to endure.

2 comments:

  1. Mario Vellandi3/23/2007 1:04 AM

    Tom,
    This deep feeling is pure awareness at work. Thoughts without a thinker. We can see a collection of stories that have unfolded over time in the realm of this identity called 'me'. We can step outside the 'me' by allowing pure awareness to roam free momentarily by simply relaxing, taking a walk, other, or through meditation. When we can begin to subtly notice the difference between the two phenomena, our true unlimited potential is available to us.

    Some basic personal philosophy inspired by my Buddhist faith.

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  2. Mario:
    Thanks for your wonderful comment and deep insight. Life changing experiences are only one door into the changeless mountain mind -- one that disrupts the continuity and certainty of our monkey minds. Observing our stories from stillness in another door. The first door gives me lots to say. The second gives me lots to witness silently.

    Peace

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