‘Once upon a time….”
We all love to tell and hear stories. In fact, we want to make everything into a story, something advertisers capitalize on. But often we get trapped by our own stories, when we weave a fact, a happening, an event, into a narrative. You get a poor mark on a math test and you create the story that you are not good at math, for example. Or your husband is snappy over dinner and you tell yourself that’s because the food must have been awful and you’re a bad cook and… And there goes our story, running away with us. We can write negative stories, and often do… but we can also write positive stories, and they’ll turn out much more ‘happily ever after’.
Here’s a simple story I told myself today, in the car coming home. I was hearing “He’s not talking to me. I must be a boring conversationalist. I said something wrong, didn’t I? ….” and the negative film was all ready to keep playing. I deliberately pressed the Stop button in my head and sat back and looked at the frozen screen behind my eyes.
In fact, I’d said nothing offensive. The conversation had come to a natural stop. He was tired after a long day of work, he was concentrating on driving in rush hour traffic, and we’d just had a pleasant time together out at a bookstore with our daughter. I started up another story instead, and this is what it told me.
“You had a good time. You are smart and witty, and the two of you were laughing only a few minutes ago. You are kind and patient, and you handled that bit with your girl responsibly and pleasantly. He is tired but he’s doing his best to get us home safely. Let’s think about what we can make for dinner when we do get home. You’re a good cook; I’m sure you’ll think of something….” A smile seemed to form on my face without me willing it, and my heartbeat slowed and I settled back in the care seat with a much better sense of restfulness and calm for the rest of the ride home.
It was a very short little story. But it really made a difference in my mood, and I was able to make a difference with my family when we all got home. I chose to light a candle instead of cursing the darkness, as the proverb goes. Why not try your hand at script rewriting? What could you tell yourself the next time you hear negative self-talk and what could you write in, instead?
My ‘word’ – actually my phrase – for 2014 chose me, with subtle knockings and loud poundings, in repeated and rephrased sentences, in significant places and the most unexpected ways, on Facebook and in novels, counselling textbooks, emails, and more. Here, my art journal with only a few of the collected ways in which ‘step by step’ showed up for me. I need to pace myself and remember that every little bit is enough, every action, every step – as long as I’m still heading in the right direction.
Do you have an elephant of ‘things to do’, to be, to accomplish, to overcome, on your 2014 plate? Why not try eating it one bite at a time this year? Come along on the journey, step by step.
Because this is so honest, it’s fear-making to share it….but I’m putting it out there anyway. Because I want to encourage you, too, to listen to your wants, your boundaries, your comfort, your fears, your rules good and bad. Listen to them, figure out where and what they are and where they are coming from. And don’t be afraid to take a stand; hold your boundaries, gently say ‘no’ (or maybe the right ‘yes’!), explain what you believe, say what you think, be honest (speak the truth in love…)
And keep on walking.
A precious gifting of time, art, and sheer essential wisdom from my on-the-cusp-of-ten daughter. Yes, I cuddled her up and smiled at her through tears, and we touched each other’s face tenderly and absorbed the loving energy.
Can you, too, take this message for yourself – I know she wants to share it – today, this evening, now? Take that encouragement and affirmation for yourself, hold and enjoy it.
YOU can do it. I love you. You ARE lovely, unique, beautiful, special, and surely on the road to greatness! Don’t forget to take time to Rest (it’s a good idea).
YIRITOL – why not share it with another woman, too?
I’m just finished the semester – the final exams, the marking, the bell curve, the grades, and all the rest of the red tape that goes along with being a teacher but has nothing to do with learning. And I’ve stepped straight from the empty desk at the office to a living room floor full of suitcases and little piles of ‘stuff to pack’. Because we’re leaving, ‘on a jet plane’, two days from now; twenty-five or twenty-six hours of travel ahead of us and an ocean to cross. My fridge is not yet cleaned out and there’s still laundry in the bedroom and gifts to buy and documents to sort out. My purse is a disaster and I’m not sure where my iPhone’s charge cord is.
All of which is to say, gentle reader, friends and family and people I will learn to know, that there will be no posts for the next couple of days, ok? I’ll be checking in with my email and my Facebook (Bard Judith) as circumstances and internet access permits, but the next bit of ‘new content will be fresh from Canada. In the meantime: some postdated journal entries you might enjoy browsing and responding to. I like comments. Really. Even on vacation!
Paperback Heart: If anyone knows the original author of this quote – I haven’t been able to track it down – let me know. I enjoyed giving it a ‘hardcover’ background, and working the date in as a stamp.
Don’t You Dare: I love the regular encouragement from bravegirlsclub, though the relentlessly cheerful colours and bird/flower themes don’t always fit my mercurial temperament. This graphic (to the top left of centre) had a more vintage, distressed feel, which inspired the rest of the page, and fit well with the ear-worm verse from the old spiritual ‘Balm in Gilead’.