Monday, August 31, 2015

That's My Story and I'm Sticking to It!

Here’s a Waking Dream. 

I walked on the beach this morning, early sun and so beautiful.  I walked, meditated, and did some Tai Chi because I pinky swore a friend I’d get back to it.  I was a few yards from the stairs up to the street and there was a woman coming down them, so I slowed my pace.  Beach hellos are always fun; she had a mug of something in her hands and looked like she was at the start of a stroll of her own.  Her husband calls for her to wait, so she stops and I come to where she’s standing and greet her:

“It’s marvelous down here!” 

She nods and begins to tell me how she loves it here at low tide; I certainly love low tide on this beach and nod in agreement.  Then she makes a U-turn in conversation and begins to tell me how high the tide has been and how that’s not good because it means more storms and blah, blah, blah. 

It feels like a visceral onslaught so, having just played Tai Chi, I push back.  I lean over and say to her lovingly, “I think you should just enjoy this day.” And I move on.

I get it; there are scary things happening because of our doodoo headedness as a species, but you’re here, with your cup of coffee, waiting to take a stroll in this miraculously beautiful day and this is what you talk about?

Besides, she was seriously bumming my afterglow. 

I’m a student of the power of story; the power of story is also about the power of word.

It’s a long story, but think about it.  As a human race, we began communicating verbally whenever we did; it was supposed to mean progress in our evolution.  The jury’s out on that one for me, we may have shot ourselves in the foot as we put it in our mouths. 

Here’s another story, one of my all time favorites.  It’s the story of how I got my mantra; I know I’ve told it before but it bears retelling. 

When my niece had her first little boy, she and her husband were over the moon about him.  As he grew beyond the expected age for him to start speaking, some relatives got worried.  The two of them, I remember, were cool and nonplussed about it most of the time; they were going to give him space and time to reach the point of wanting to speak without pressuring him.

One day I’m talking to her on the phone and she tells me he has uttered his first word; of course, I want to know what it is.  She says, well, at first she thought she heard him say “dada” so she rushed out to get her husband and then she coaxed him, “Say that again, pumpkin.” 

He looks at them both beaming at him over the bed and says; “blah, blah, blah.”

I howled laughing and decided it would make a great mantra.  Most people are familiar with this word used in meditational practices, a signal word that you repeat to block out the mental chatter.   I want to be in the moment, especially when I'm in Nature, like at the beach.  When I catch myself in my head instead of embodied in the moment, I use my mantra. Blah, blah, blah.

It's so effective in alerting me that I’m in my monkey mind and need to focus and be present because that’s where the fun is.  My nephew is in his teens now. I’ve got to tell him this story; I think he’ll get a kick out of it.

We started out using words to tell stories.  I like stories and I like words, but there’s a difference between living my story day to day and telling myself stories about a time that isn’t now.  Where am I going to place my focus?  Either way I create my own story, but with very different results. 

In fact, that’s another mantra I use; “What story am I telling myself?”  When I go to that place of worry and fear and loose focus of my present moment, I weave a scary web of what might happen. I  play a dour story out like a movie in my head – I envision this happening or that could happen. 

This is pretty typical of how we're programmed to operate in our heads by Western culture, as the beach lady story illustrates.  I've learned to stop the story; "what story am I telling myself?" It usually makes me laugh.  Holy shit, that’s some gruesome story I’m spinning.

I have a choice. I’m creating the mental web of words that will trap me if I let it.  Some stories can sap my spirit from the inside out.  It’s my choice! I can tell myself stories that have a healthy impact on my psyche or I can entertain future scenarios that frighten and sicken me.

I just listened to a wonderful talk given by NDE experiencer, Jeff Olson, at last year’s IANDS Conference.  A major lesson that is part of his story and his teaching is that we have a choice and the smart thing is to choose to love.  He also shares how dreams still keep him in touch with his wife and I say, yeah, baby, of course!

I received the same lesson in a 2007 dream, the night of an anniversary of my mom’s death, so it was probably a gift from her.  I won’t go into the dream here, but at the end a voice says to me, “You have a choice; that’s the secret of the universe.”  I try to practice that teaching as much as possible and as Jeff Olson says, “choose joy.”

The story I tell myself is important to what I think, feel and do.  It’s my choice.  I’m creating my story as I live it, but it’s easy to fall into the trap of my story creating me. One way I always know which is happening is by the way I feel. If I’m sliding into glum or grumpy, I listen to my mental chatter for a clue.  I'm telling myself things that make me feel that way so all I have to do is change the story.

In the beginning was the Word.  

Not in my book.  The word is Logos, the power of intellect, rationality, Left Brain, structure. Logos is okay, but without Eros, the very vitality and energy of life, Logos is a killer.

To speak is to make it so, not just for the great patriarchs, like Jehovah, but for each of us.  When we say, I’m not smart or I’m not creative, we’re baptizing ourselves in our own labels.  I’m this. I’m that.  Labels limit our experience.  They put us in boxes of our own and collective definition.  They’re loaded with energy, good or detrimental.

So here’s the outline for a new story.

Fewer words, blah, blah, blah. 

More heart.

Lots of imagination.

Always, Love.

Live the best story possible.

Your dreams will guide you to those best stories, so pay attention.


  1. Been rereading Neil Gaiman's Sandman graphic novels, cuz i miss great stories. Huzzah.

  2. What a fantastic post! It's always about the story we tell. Your response to the high tide woman was pitch perfect!