We all have stories. The significance of our stories is not so much the story itself, but how we imbue each experience in our story with meaning – what we take away, or learn, from the experiences our character goes through. And all the multitude of ways we have made meaning become the threads for the next chapter.
In sometimes more obvious, and sometimes less obvious ways, we have a certain fondness for our stories. This fondness grows out of the ways in which we are drawn to the feelings, the sensations, associated with those stories. Sometimes we are drawn to those feelings because we interpret them as pleasant, something that might help us feel, maybe, more competent, in control, or loved.
Some of the feelings we come to know through our story may be interpreted as less pleasant, yet our tendency is still to be drawn to them because there is that certain comfort of familiarity there. That comfort is often of a false sort, one that can hinder our ability to review our stories in ways that have the potential to open up opportunities, different interpretations, new ways of being.
If we are in agreement with our stories, there is nothing left to do. ‘In agreement’ may not be the same as ‘happy with’. Sometimes we arrive here, usually without awareness, due to fear of looking beyond the story, narrowness of sight, maybe helplessness, possibly hopelessness. Those too can become part of the story.
If it occurs to us that there could be more than the conclusions we draw from our story, and all the ways we have come to understand our role in it, it may be helpful to first consider that there is a story. This seems useful because stories are written, so can be edited, even rewritten, the same set of circumstances leading to a different outcome. And, though perhaps already published in some respects, existing copies can be pulled off the shelf so that we aren’t constantly increasing the circulation of old stories.
Modification is possible because not only are we the lead character, but in some ways, and increasingly so as time rolls on, the author. So much of our stories are written when we are so young, without our conscious participation. Yet as we get older, we can begin to discover the gifts of awareness and reflection that can lead to new understandings, different inferences.
Curiosity makes for a great partner in this endeavor, one that can support us to interrupt those well-established networks of story-fed, questionable beliefs born out of old stories that we default too so readily. And along the way building our stores of new threads and so changing the size, shape, texture, weight and color of the chapters that follow.