Thursday, August 11, 2011

The Stories We Hold On To

A couple of things have happened lately that have got me thinking about "our stories". The stories that we tell and believe about our lives. Not that the stories are wrong, they just no longer may be the whole truth and those stories, or beliefs, may no longer be serving us well.

I was talking to a friend the other day who went through a painful separation and divorce. They were high school sweethearts and had been married for about 26 years. That's been about seven years ago. She was relating to me a story of how she had just ran into their neighbors from eons ago and she told her story about how he had left her. She told them this story while standing in the grocery store. Now I say this with utmost compassion for her pain and I am not trying to minimize it at all. I just wander if she, or any of us, are well-served by continuing to tell our stories in the same old way?

It made me think about the roles we cast for ourselves and especially how we show ourselves to other people. I know that I've been overly tied to my "story" - to being wronged, neglected, over-taxed, etc. It was how I packaged myself. I didn't realize HOW tied I was to my own personal narrative until I was writing for some recovery work and attempted to tell just the events of my life WITHOUT my editorial comment. It was hard for me to do. My explanations for things became as important as the events themselves. The things that happened are true, however, continuing to paint my future with the colors of the past no longer serves me well. It is not a denial, but a letting it go. Of looking at things in a new way, from a new perspective.

I believe we see what we want to see and that our story or narrative is like putting on a pair of glasses that only allows us to see things a certain way. I don't want to find myself saying "this always happens to me" or "just more of the same" - it's a self-perpetuating thing, I think. I believe we bring into being the things we focus on the most. If my focus is that of victim, then all I see is more ways that I am victimized.

Enough with the navel-gazing.

Yesterday was a much more peaceful day. Work is insane - the auditors are crawling all over the place - and I had a conference call that lasted forever, so no time to go to the gym at lunch. I did, however, go outside for a walk. If one stayed in the shade, it was tolerable. Luckily, I was bare-legged in a skirt rather than in full-on business regalia, so that was rather nice. And while my shoes weren't athletic, I was able to comfortably walk about for nearly forty minutes. The mental break was as important as the physical one.

Food was very light yesterday. Wasn't particularly hungry after the prior evening's foodfest.

I'm prepping for the potluck I'm hosting on Saturday night. I still don't have a clue as to whether I will have enough chairs, but there is always floor cushions, right? I'm looking forward to it. I'm also attending a lecture on "quantum physics for dummies". I hope the for dummies part is true, otherwise I shall be very, very lost.

Take good care of yourself. Be kind to others. Is there a part of your story that you are ready to let go of?



  1. It always amazes me how one line from someone's post when you least expect it jumps out and hits me between the eyes. I love your posts, I love the way you write, but today was one of THOSE days and the line was this......continuing to paint my future with the colors of the past no longer serves me well! Wow, what a beautifully written line and one I needed to hear. As a matter of fact, with your permission, it's going on my refrigerator. Thanks!

  2. Speaking of quantum physics, have you seen the movie "What the Bleep?". It's quite remarkable and you see something new every time you watch it.

    Your post reminds me of a story in the Big Book, "Doctor, Alcoholic, Addict". Towards the end of it, he talks about how whatever he focuses on magnifies in his mind, the "magnifying mind" he calls it. So true. Really good stuff.

  3. The crazy thing is that the longer people perpetuate their stories the bigger and more binding they get. Letting go has so much freedom. If only people understood.

  4. This post sure hit home for me. So true about our stories and also at times playing the victim.

  5. I find that when I'm able to tell my story with no emotional attachment, it's time to stop telling it. Took me a while to realize that...and then, another while to be ok with it.

  6. I always love your posts.
    your writing voice.

    This one is no different.

    Im bookmarking.


  7. I sometimes catch myself doing the story thing. Did you ever notice how when people repeat their stories, it's never a positive experience, really.

    In my previous relationship, he told a lot of stories but I'm not sure he would know who he was if he didn't repeat them. They defined a big part of how he got where he was, victimized by so many though he certainly didn't label himself a victim. That would have shown vulnerability. I used to envision him pulling a wagon around every where he went, here and there, sharing contents of the wagon and then putting the contents back in the wagon and pulling it back down the road behind him. And my story about his story is proof that we all need to learn to let our wagons stay behind.
    Loved your post. If you read many blogs, there are lots of repeated stories too.

  8. I love this post!

    "I just wander if she, or any of us, are well-served by continuing to tell our stories in the same old way? "

    I believe that we tell our stories until we no longer need them...if we're healthy about it. I once went to a seminar and part of it involved telling your story over and over and over and over and over and OVER again until you got it out of your system...and it started to seem downright made a huge impression on me.

    But, for sure, I've held on to certain stories longer than I needed to. Now that I am aware of the power stories can have over me, I try and "check" myself if am in story-telling mode. :-)


We'll try this for a while.