Posts Tagged 'story'

the sunglasses are on the table (and other stories I tell myself)

A couple of weekends ago my husband and I returned from the movies, and I took his sunglasses out of my purse and put them on the dining table.

I put them on the dining table.

Later that afternoon he asked where his glasses were.

They’re on the table, right where I put them.

Except… they weren’t.


It may or may not be important to note that we were in an argument when I put the glasses on the table, and when he asked me where they were, and when I told him where they were, and when he couldn’t find them.

It may be important because when we argue, his favorite thing to do is straighten up the house; specifically, clean off the dining table.

Which led me to believe that he, in a mad straightening frenzy, moved the glasses that I had put on the table.


A week went by (thank goodness the argument lasted only the afternoon) and he still could not find his glasses.

We questioned one another:

Are you sure you put the glasses on the table?

To which I answered emphatically, Yes!

And I remembered it so clearly in part because of the argument (I’m going to put these mother-lovin glasses on the table so you don’t have to ask me for them).

Are you sure you didn’t move them off the table when you were straightening?

He said No and I didn’t believe him because I was right.


Here’s the point of the story:

The glasses were in the car.


Not on the table.


Now, I am not up in arms about being wrong. Truly, I’m often wrong and, contrary to how it might seem here, totally fine with it.

What I can’t get past is how clearly in my mind I remember taking the glasses out of my purse and putting them on the table. I would have bet money I don’t have. It wasn’t a maybe or I think I did — no, I can see it as distinctly as these words on the page.

And it strikes me… how have convinced myself? What stories do I believe? What other things do I think happened one way or at all that… didn’t?

Just because you have a thought doesn’t make it true.




don’t be so sure


A couple of years ago I did a Rolfing series with the wonderful Lisa Biow here in Sacramento.

The 10 sessions are broken up roughly by parts of the body. When we got to the session on the lower leg and foot, I gave her my typical pre-massage spiel about a knot on my lower shin:

Ya, there’s this spot here on my leg… I don’t like it to be touched… I think it’s some old scar tissue from a fall when I was a kid… it’s always been there… did I mention I don’t like it to be touched… so you’ll just want to work around it.

Lisa nodded, Uh-huh, ok, and replied, very respectfully, Just to let you know, I’ll be getting in there.

And she did. She worked that knot around, despite my moaning, until it was almost gone.

When she was finished she asked if I wanted to feel it. What had felt like half a good-sized grape was now more like a lima bean.

And the strangest feeling came over me:

Who am I now?

Who am I without this knot on my leg? Who am I without this story about this knot on my leg?

It’s all about perspective

Finding out that a story you’ve told yourself about yourself — or better yet, a story someone else has told you about yourself — isn’t true is completely disorienting.

And when two people’s stories collide, the potential for bewilderment increases exponentially.

It’s like having a conversation with another person about a piece of art… and finding out that they’ve been looking at a different piece of art.

Or getting directions from your house to the grocery store… and finding out that the directions are for another town.

Completely disorienting.

The sages say…

Don’t be so sure. Don’t be so quick to pound your stake in the ground.

Don’t make an identity around a knot on your leg.

Absolutes are stifling. There’s no room for discovery, evolution or the change we know is inevitable and essential.

I mean, is anything certain?



Certainty undermines one’s power, and turns happiness
into a long shot. Certainty confines.

Dears, there is nothing in your life that will
not change – especially your ideas of God.

Look what the insanity of righteous knowledge can do:
crusade and maim thousands
in wanting to convert that which
is already gold
into gold.

Certainty can become an illness
that creates hate and

God once said to Tuka,

“Even I am ever changing –
I am ever beyond

what I may have once put my seal upon,
may no longer be
the greatest

~ Tukaram

what’s your story?

{Photo of Cowboy completely unrelated to post}



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

Dream vs Reality

Woke this morning from a vivid and emotionally-charged dream.

The way the subconscious mind plays out in dreams is absolutely fascinating to me. I’ve kept a dream journal on and off for years, curious about the insights available within the stories.

This has always kept me quite wrapped up in the story itself—the characters, events, and emotions—even though I know they are just symbols for the real play going on behind the scenes. A friend, who is a psychotherapist, gave me a technique for diving under the story line (same brainy gal who gave me the sleep trick).

The technique is:

1. Write about the dream itself – all the detail you can remember
2. Identify the 3 main “characters” in the dream – can be a person, a thing or an event, and one is probably you (with the idea that all are aspects of you)
3. Write from the voice of that person/thing in the dream – what would they say
4. Then you can look at the insights as they apply to your life now, rather than to the dream 

This technique has definitely given me some “holy crap” insights, so I wanted to try it with this one.

Rather than super glue myself to the story in this dream, just a few highlights:

A ex-boyfriend. (Who looks really, really good.) Behind the barn at the house I grew up in. An audience of friends and my dad. Neil Diamond background music. The Ex wants me to dance with him to “Play Me.”

The characters are me, the ex, and the audience.

From my voice:  

I’m so uncomfortable.
I don’t want to be dealing with this again.
I want it to go away.
Why doesn’t he just get it?
I don’t like hurting people’s feelings.
I’m petrified about what people are thinking.
It would be so easy to go back to old, familiar ways.
History has a strong pull toward repeating itself right now.
There’s a longing and emptiness around that. 

Allrightythen… a few gems there.


The Ex’s voice:

I don’t understand. I need closure.


From the audience:

Wow, this is awkward. How uncomfortable. A difficult situation. 

This morning these last two are hard… not the case all the time. In particular the audience. I am sometimes “petrified of what people think” and I don’t even want to imagine their perspective. Of course, it’s never as bad and judgmental as it is in my fear.

So, now, rather than spending my day wondering why I’m still emotionally wrapped up with this ex, I can look at these underlying insights…. which happen to have particular potency right now.

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