What life story are you writing?
These are the lyrics from a song I recently discovered on my 11 year old sons iPod. Titled ‘Unwritten’, Natasha Bedingfield sings beautifully about what I believe about so passionately. That is, that we are the authors of our lives and that every day we get the opportunity to turn the page and write a new story about who we are and the circumstances we find ourselves in that determines our moment by moment experience of life.
As human beings we create our words create our reality. The conversations we have with others (what I call our ‘public’ conversations) and the one’s we have with ourselves (our ‘private conversations’) expand or shrink our ability to enjoy the success and happiness we want. The way you choose to describe the challenges you are facing, the issues you struggle with in your relationships and your ability (or lack thereof) to make the changes you would like has a profound impact not only on the actions you take, but your very experience of being alive in the world.
As I write this today I’m sitting in an airport in Dallas. I’ve been here over 6 hours due to storms that have closed the airport. I was supposed to be in Columbus, Ohio right now speaking at a conference. Alas, I’m at Chille’s sipping a coke instead. My new flight direct back to D.C. has me flying into a different airport than the one I flew out of (and where my car is parked). So I’m sitting here thinking, what do I want my experience of today to be? One of complete and utter frustration because I’ve missed the chance to speak (something I love to do) and foregone speaker fee in the process, or do I want to just let it all go, and create a positive story about this entire unanticipated experience.
The fact is, storms happen and flights get delayed. The fact is thousands of others are left stranded just like me. The fact is, even the best laid plans can go asunder. The fact is, I’m not in pain, no-one is injured and my kids won’t go hungry from the lost income. The fact is today is a really fabulous opportunity for me to practice the art of letting go which I wrote about in Chapter 11 of my book and which I will re-read as soon as I’ve finished writing… and bought a chocolate bar!
So, what about you? What’s the story you have about yourself, about the situation you are in right now? Where are you fighting reality and creating a lot of stress, hurt, resentment and frustration for yourself in the process? More to the point, where is the story you have written in your mind simply not working for you?
The reason I’m in Dallas is to spend time with a dear friend of mine who is undergoing chemotherapy for stage 3 breast cancer. I love Mona for so many reasons and our conversations are always rich. As we parted ways curbside this morning, me heading to Ohio (or so I thought) and her heading for yet another chemo session, we talked about how none of us ever know what crosses we will have to bare in our life. But without going too far off track here, my reason for sharing this is simply to reinforce my point that how we view our situation, how we carry our crosses, makes a profound difference to our ability to live our lives joyously, regardless of how heavy those ‘crosses’ may sometimes be.
It’s my guess that the economic woes afflicting the globe have affected you in some way, subtle or severely. So my challenge for you today, is to rewrite the story you have about your circumstances. Where are you being offered a wonderful opportunity to reconnect to the values you hold most deeply, to become more masterful in letting go the small stuff (which after all, is most of it), of taking on a more powerful viewpoint that leaves you at the helm (rather than a victim of your circumstances) and enables to move through your experience of today, tomorrow and your life more deeply, more fully, more peacefully. It doesn’t matter what you have written up to now. It matters only what you will choose to write from now on. The world is filled with magical possibilities for you… not despite the crosses you have to bear or the challenges you must face, but because of them.
Today is where your book begins… how will you fill the pages to come?