Are You A Story Teller?

A page out of my visual journal, using cut out words and pictures.

A page out of my visual journal, using cut out words and pictures.

I’m a storyteller. You’re a story teller. And so is every one you pass on the street. I’m also a writer and tell stories about my life here on my blog. But the stories I write here are not the ones I’m talking about in this piece.

I’m talking about the stories that can fill up my head on a hourly basis about who I am, what I’m doing, where I’m going, what the world should be like, and how things are going to turn out even before any event begins to unfold.

Those stories are usually about fear, wishful thinking, how things are supposed to be, and blame. They’re inventive ways of dealing with the possibility of being disappointed, building hope, or preparing for things we’re afraid will happen … like being humiliated, or just plain terrified. They’re often about the end of my world or about how I’m  going to be the world’s next biggest and brightest star.

Like when I was about eight years old and truly believed I was going to win a beautiful palomino pony because I sent in the very best, most awesome name for that pony … Star. When it was announced that some kid in New Jersey won the pony instead of me, I was angry and complained that somebody had made a seriously terrible, horrible mistake. No name was as good as the one I sent in!!!! I was being cheated.

Stories like that have at times stopped me dead in my tracks and kept me from moving forward. Crazy as it sounds I thought that if I worried myself to death that which I was worried about would go away.

When we’re busy and not paying attention, our minds have a way of running and sometimes ruining our days, for  at least a while. A beautiful afternoon walking the dogs can turn into a nightmare because I hear thunder in the distance and I’m sure we’re not going to make it home before we’re struck and killed by lightning.

I can also go the way of being so full of myself that I just know that my memoir will be #1 on every best seller list within two days of launching it. Yeah, right!

Stories of that ilk can make me laugh when I look back, but if I’m constantly building dramas in my head and being neurotic and narcissistic, it can be a real problem. These days I’m trying to break this very silly habit and retire from the drama.  Our world is full enough of that stuff and I don’t need to adding more.

So instead of playing truth or fantasy with myself, I’m working hard to stop making these ridiculous tales up. If I’m worried about something, I work at letting it go by asking, “What’s the worst thing that can happen?” And I tell myself that life is a great adventure and worth every moment, even the ones we wish wouldn’t happen.

The good news is that scientists are finding that we can send our stories packing and change the way our brains operate by labeling our stories when they show up. I label mine silly stories, lies, wishful thinking, or horror stories. Another way I let them go is by putting them on pages in a visual journal, like the one in the photo.  Once I can SEE them, they become just what they are … thoughts, stories. They wash away into the gutter just like fallen leaves after a hard autumn rain.

I want to live in the moment, getting rid of expectations and judgement, letting go of fear and desire. I want to  live life as a thrilling escapade. Though it can be extreeemely difficult, it’s a step toward believing I can and will handle whatever comes along.

I can’t predict the future. So Why should I waste my precious time worrying and being scared? Life is all about learning and experiencing joy, sadness, pain, anger, fear, hatred, and oodles of love. Why not relax and let it happen?

Do you tell yourself Silly Stories? How do you wash them away?


Wishing you a beautiful, awe filled day!