what’s your story?

{Photo of Cowboy completely unrelated to post}

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Voices

There are two ways to tell a story. You can tell it from the voice of The Reporter, or you can tell it as The Commentator.

In her beautiful workbook called Finding Your Voice, Jen Lee differentiates the two:

The Reporter sticks to the facts — what’s happening, where, when.

The Commentator offers explanations and interpretations.

While The Commentator often offers meaning and context — which most of us are very interested in and seek in our lives — sometimes we rob ourselves of raw experience. We generate conclusions and step into The Story without being aware of, let alone actually feeling, what’s happening.

The Reporter, on the other hand, takes notes, interviews witnesses, and gathers all the facts. The Reporter doesn’t make assumptions or snap judgments.

The Yoga Reporter

I believe we need more Reporting and less Commentating in yoga practice.

I feel a stretch in my hamstrings
rather than
These damn hamstrings are never going to give and I’m always going to suck at forward bends

I feel fatigued right now
rather than
I’m so lazy and I just need to push through

And instead of stopping at one or two main details (usually the ones The Commentator thinks are important), we would benefit from Reporting the whole story: How’s the breath? What’s the expression saying? What amount of effort is present, is needed?

What is happening rather than what it means.

Observations rather than conclusions.

We all have them

One of my stories is that I’m weak, not very “hardy.” It’s a story from my childhood, told to me by my family. I’ve spent much of my life compiling evidence to support this story.

My Reporter has a stack of facts that reveal giant holes in the story. I don’t feel weak. Although I need and like to rest, I also have great stamina and can do a tremendous amount of work in a day. My heart has expansive capacity and holds many sorrows and joys.

Come to find out, this story is not true.

Even this guy

This is a favorite poem for the vivid imagery and surprise at the end. I hope you enjoy.

Fake by Jordan Grumet, MD

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9 Responses to “what’s your story?”


  1. 1 Amy --- Just A Titch July 8, 2011 at 6:24 am

    I’ve thought about this a lot lately—what do I tell myself? What’s actually true. It’s always been that I’m bad with money…but that’s not true any more. Lately, it’s been working with things as I work to lose weight: that food makes me feel better, that I’m bad at sticking to workout plans, etc. but I’m proving myself wrong every day. It’s great to re-write that stuff. Love this post.

  2. 3 Mel July 8, 2011 at 7:38 pm

    This is such a helpful distinction. You’ve got me thinking about the ways I’ve been working to release these old negative stories (that sometimes feel baked into my bones) – and about how MUCH time I spend on my stories in general. I feel like I’ve been slipping in this area recently – forgetting that even the attempt to assign meaning in a more encouraging way still takes me out of being completely here now for what’s happening. So helpful. Thank you for sharing it.

    • 4 blogasana July 9, 2011 at 2:17 pm

      mmm, thanks, mel. ‘spending so much time’… i hear you. someone once suggested to be aware of how much time i spend “thinking about” doing work/homework/housework/whatever, vs how much time i actually spend doing it. we can make ourselves think we’re spending a lot more time on something by thinking about it. (does that make any sense at all?:) it’s kind of like you’re saying here… the time we spend on those thoughts give them power. thanks for the great comment! xo

  3. 6 Jordan Grumet July 10, 2011 at 4:01 pm

    Hi…I occasionally do a google search on my name out of curiosity and I ended up on your site. Thank you for reading my poem. I have never heard someone read it out loud before!

    I blog at jordan-inmyhumbleopibion.blogspot.com

    I have a chapbook of poetry coming out from The Lives You Touch Publications in winter.

    Thanks again,

    Jordan Grumet

    • 7 blogasana July 10, 2011 at 7:38 pm

      wow! thanks so much for the comment! i love your poem — found it in a compilation by Chip Span called Poet Healer. will check out your other writing on the blog and stay on the lookout for the chapbook (congrats). take care!

  4. 8 Elizabeth July 14, 2011 at 6:21 pm

    You got me thinking about this. Like, the story that I am meant for thinking things not doing things (i.e. not athletic or sporty or ..). Which the Reporter points out is not true because I’ve run for 1.5-2 hours, hiked 15 miles, hiked the Inca Trail for heaven’s sake, been in a rowing club, gotten a yellow belt in karate .. etc. The Commentator remembers cross country and track in middle school which I hated with a passion and where I was always way last. How interesting to think this through! (Thank you.)

  5. 9 tracy July 23, 2011 at 9:46 pm

    Thank you for reading Dr. Grumet’s poem…you did a beautiful job and what a touching poem.

    i really appreciate it!


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