Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Changing the Story

Stuff happens. As it turns out, the stuff that’s happening is very seldom the cause of any pleasure or distress I may experience. Pleasure and distress come from the stories I instantaneously (and far too often unconsciously) tell myself about the stuff that’s happening.

Take moving from my 20 year home to a whole new place, for example. Not such a big thing, really, especially when I look at people like my friend Inge (see previous blog post), and when I observe the different ways things like this are handled in other places in the world. Were I Bedouin, I’d nut up about staying on one place!

I’ve been telling myself some hella sketchy stories. I think I’ve moved through a lot of the tangly threads in the fearwad an am now hopefully moving on to dealing with less fearsome, paralyzing things.

I’ve been using Dave Berman’s Manifest Positivity motto: What’s the least you can do? It’s really been helping; some of these fearwads and their constituent chunks have been so seemingly gimonstornormous that I haven’t been able to work with them as wholes. In pieces, though, I can manage to chop wood and carry water.

We took a big step yesterday.L & I sat down and crafted an ad to go out on Craigstlist and some other places where, hopefully, the person(s) who need us will see our beacon shining against the clouds (evokes Batman, dunnit?). It took us a couple hours, and we had to get past the stories behind some the of the kneejerk reactions that can make it difficult for us to co-craft, but we did it.
It’s here:

We think it turned out pretty good. Hopefully, you’ll go take a look at it, offer us comments, maybe put it on your Facebook where more people can get at it, etc.It really is rather lovely.

To find the stuff that went into that note, I had to change some story. While the details in story vary for me, many of the little ones share a common theme: This is HARD. Moving is hard. Moving to the Bay is hard (oh, yeah, and don’t forget expensive). Packing is hard. Letting go of what I know is hard. Finding a place is hard.

What if I told myself a different story? Like, moving is challenging, but doable. This is a chance to learn even more about managing my personal resources. Packing is a bitch, but it gives me a chance to sort out the detritus I’ve kept that isn’t me anymore. Finding a place to live might be tough using conventional methods, but I live in a place of boundless hope with almost infinite other ways to try and do things. Being me isn’t a detriment to doing what I desire—it’s exactly what’s required.

Just one different story can alter my perceptions; a combination of other stories can alter my perceptions significantly enough to allow me to become aware of other, previously invisible, options.

So today, this Note from the Universe comes in: "Never compromise a dream, Deborah. Always compromise on how it will come true." The story I was telling resulted in a worldview that I would need to alter my dream to make this happen. Bullshit. It’s the story that needs altering, and that part is way easier than, say, packing.

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