"Live the stories you would love to tell."~ Silver Sea Cruises
We are all authors. We tell ourselves so many stories about what we can and cannot do and about what we want and do not want. We make excuses for why we aren't reaching a goal or going after a relationship. Often, there exists a very fine line between the truth behind those stories and the reality of the excuses conveyed. The tales we weave often blur between what is factual and what is our own limiting belief or partial interpretation of the story. If we challenge ourselves to step into that which we most desire, we begin to actually experience richer, more diverse, and authentic stories that mirror our goals. It is then that we connect reality and actual experiences to the fabric of the stories of our lives. In essence, our dreams become our realities.
There is a great line in the play An American In Paris spoken by one of the lead characters at a crossroads in his life, and he says," I don't want to be a guest in my own life." When I heard that, it made me wonder where in my own life I may have been a visitor, showing up without the energy and commitment necessary to partake in my own existance, and where I have actually been living my life with intention, in full color, and with all the details? I take life seriously, so for me, not being a guest means that I am a participant. I don't wait for things to happen, or visit from the sidelines-- I actively pursue what is most valuable to me each and every day. Until we make that promise to ourselves to actually embrace the life we envision, to move away from our own comfort zone, we cannot even begin to process the possibilities that may exist for us. Change is something that we each have control over, but in order for change to occur, we must first be uncomfortable enough with what we are currently doing in order to risk moving past our fears toward something different or better. Essentially, the pain of remaining in a stagnant pattern, of recirculating our history, has to be harder to endure than the fear of changing that pattern.
Another common method of storytelling sabotage happens when we write the ending of a chapter of our lives without allowing ourselves to write the chapter itself. If we let our fears control our thoughts, they often stop us just short of success, and newness, and adventure. We curtail the relationship, the goal, the career path because we tell ourselves stories that spell out the ending to how that will not work out for us. If we choose to believe the ending of our story before we have lived it, we never get to have a beginning or a middle experience. We stop ourselves from having the experience in real time because our fears are telling us all the reasons why we are not smart enough, or good enough, or perfect enough for that relationship, goal, or career path to work out.
If you were writing a book about your life, what would it say?
Recently, a client of mine decided to challenge herself with a promise. It was her birthday, and she committed to herself that the year ahead was going to be the "year of me." Her kids were getting older and her career and marriage were firmly in place. Yet, she often felt that making herself a priority in her day had taken a back seat to her role as mom and wife and to her professional life as well. She had made a commitment to her family, and to me as her coach, to hold her accountable for staying on course in this new "year of me" exploration.
For the first few months, my client struggled with finding her place. She was not accustomed to creating space for herself and pursuing what she wanted in each day. Her default mode was simply to do for others. Slowly, and in small doses, she began to reset some of her priorities, making time for exercise, down time, travel plans and networking. In doing so, she needed to let go of some of the old ways she was enmeshed in putting everyone else first. She had been feeling disorganized, overwhelmed, and tired in her day. Shifting her mindset to allow for walks, crossword puzzles, day trips, more sleep and more "me time" allowed her the space to pause and evaluate exactly what she was searching for in this next phase of her life.
For my client, her epiphany came slowly. She realized that her kids, who were in high school and college were really "living" their lives in the truest sense of the word. Her children were traveling, experiencing new people and places, enjoying the moment with abandon. They were wondrous, inquisitive and seeing the opportunities in even the smallest of things. It occurred to her that there may actually be a lesson to be learned from her children!
Stepping away from living her life "through her kids" into living her life more "like her kids" was a game changing thought that shifted her perspective.
Where she may have been losing energy previously worrying about what she may not have yet accomplished in her life, now she was fired up about what lay ahead. By celebrating "herself" my client made a declaration in regard to her new opportunities. She had become a priority in her own life. Once she actually started to believe that she was a priory, she began to do more and wait less. Changing her thoughts changed here actions and her outlook on life. She valued the moment she was experiencing and recognized the opportunities that were unfolding for her. She wanted to take advantage of making her wishes work for her rather than postponing her dreams for tomorrow.
You are the author of the story of your life. What's your narrative? Are you "living the stories that you would love to tell?"