What’s Your Story?

You Belong.
You Matter.
Let’s Help Each Other.

Words to say to yourself. Words to say to others. Words to live by and love by. I use this phrase in nearly every course I teach, every workshop I lead. And I have the participants say it to each other. It softens the moment, it opens the hearts, it creates a space of compassion and connection.

These words reminds us we are where we are meant to be. But when we have doubts and feel lost, we should consult a map to find out where we are. When you are at the giant mall, we look at the directory and it says, “You are here”. As the beginning of your 2022 map unfolds: Where are you and where are you going? Not the longitudinal and latitudinal coordinates of your presence. Where’s your mind? Your spirits, your energy? These are tough questions if your hair and brains are on fire! Remember the ad: This is your brain on drugs! Our brains are frying! The good news is we are all recovering from a hallucination, we are in the middle of awakening from an amazing delusion. The virus, it’s real. Climate change, that is very real. Political polarity, the racism, and inhumane inequity they are super real.

But as an elder of my family said to me last week, “I’m glad I’m old and my time is over soon. Because now that everything is out in the open it’s hard to live in this country, in this world.” We talked for a while afterwards, I interpreted from this wise and venerable human being that the story we have all been told has been exposed as an imposter, as a fraud–and he was deeply disillusioned by this.

You go to college, you work hard, follow the rules, and you have a good life. Every generation would have more prosperity, more leisure, more peace. And while we always suspected the racism, the corruption, the violence, and the avarice—to see it acted out in its rawest forms is overwhelming. To witness what has been lurking beneath the stories that shaped our lives.

Only a very few of us have peace, prosperity, and leisure. As we look out to this new year our frying minds are filled with questions as they should be. For me, it is sharpening the edges of those questions. Not to accept “whatever happens” or to “wait and see” or to procrastinate decisions because the world is not going to wait for us.

What truths will guide us? What “facts” are holding us back?
Byron Katie’s four questions:

  1. Is it true? (Yes or no. If no, move to 3.)
  2. Can you absolutely know that it’s true? (Yes or no.)
  3. How do you react, what happens, when you believe that thought?
  4. Who would you be without the thought?

Who would you be without that thought?!

I saw another sign years ago at a nonprofit raffle: “You must be present to win.” Profound. 😊

The question is, how do we write our stories? What is the story you are telling yourself now? The story that takes you forward into the mystery of the future. What will we let go of and what will we tighten our grip on? What energizes us? What creates our serendipity, our path, what doors will we open and doors will we pass?

Our story needs a re-write.

But as we stand on the precipice of 2022 and even if the view isn’t exactly what you hoped for, it is impressive, what we have endured and achieved. The sacrifices that have been made for us. The incredible chances we have been given. And if you are present and honest, the abundance of opportunities emerging around us to be of service to something much larger than ourselves. 

Think about the history we lived, the history we are learning and the history we will make.

Who are you—now? Who are you becoming?—now?

These are the questions. Simple questions that need your full attention and need to be written down with words, words that resonate, delicious words that give you a sense of purpose. A manifesto! Write freely write, in  pencil with a big eraser. But write down your thoughts.  Write a mission statement. Write a credo. Do a vision board with words. Write!

Here’s my 2022: 100 word Mission/Vision/Manifesto-
No regrets. Be myself not what others expect. Need less and give without an expectation. Be present and see the positive. Appreciate what I don’t know. Ask better questions and provide fewer answers. Lead with unconditional love. Ask for forgiveness and forgive others. Love myself but be selfless. Stand for the silent and the vulnerable. Listen more. Read more. Write more. Let my actions do my talking. Open my mind and heart to what offends me. Be grateful for the sacrifices that give me this moment. Be my best self and success will follow. Smile. Comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable.

You belong. You matter. Your story matters. Write it, share it, live it.

Thanks for reading. John

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