Saturday, October 8, 2011

Our Stories

We all have stories that we tell our selves which define who we are and describe patterns in our lives. Your story might be that you are always left and your partner always takes the good stuff. Over and over again this story is enacted in your life. The truth may be that you get tired of your partner and then agitate the situation so that they leave you. Since you feel guilty about that you tell them to take whatever they want. Later, you only remember that they left and took the good stuff. And you do this because this is your story. While you might see a more complete picture while in the thick of things, after time passes, and that particular story ends, all you remember are the pieces that fit.

A lot of time can pass as you relive your story over and over again before it occurs to you that maybe you might have some volition in this story or that maybe you could have a better story, a nicer story. Although, not all stories are bad. Perhaps yours is that you are the compassionate one, the waiter, the kind one, the one who gives. You ignore the sort of pressure being the kind one puts on others and fail to see the manipulation in that. Or perhaps you do see it and are supported by thinking you are uplifting others by being a good example.

Having stories isn't necessarily a bad thing. They can help us feel secure and put some order to the chaos. Stories don't show us the entire truth – the entire objective truth. (Is there an entire objective truth? Since we can never experience it, we can't verify that.) So, we have these stories. They define us and order the world around us. They bring sanity to madness and chaos.

We get the story we ask for. There are a lot of stories. Choose well.

I never really chose and that's my story. I never had a firm answer to the question "What are you going to be when you grow up?" A lot of options flitted through my head. For one year in the fifth grade I was determined be a second grade teacher. As the years passed, the only firm answer I could come up with was, "Older."

There have been times when I've lived a story because it was convenient or the story of the moment. Sort of like wandering through a wood and finding odd paths and following them to the end to see where they come out. I've been to many of the usual and some of the not so usual places. It has been interesting – very interesting indeed.

Which is what I like about National Novel Writing Month. I get to dive into the woods and pick a path and follow it (or not) for an entire month. I get to make up the wood I'm in and the path and what happens when I get the end. Most of the time that's what I do. The rest of the time the wood takes over and paths appear and disappear for no apparent reason. Characters come and go and do pretty much what they feel like doing and I just follow. Perhaps that what I really like about stories, I can simply follow.

The point I thought I would be making about now is that the stories are merely stories. We can be outside of them. This is called buddhism or taoism. Or it might even be yoga. Letting go – letting it be. Seeing what is without trying to make sense or have everything fit into a story. It might even be a way to break a pattern and freely be who you are.

No comments: