Tag Archive | story

Perceptions and Change


Many of my friends are going through significant life changes these days. Some are by choice, but many are being pushed, prodded, cajoled, or even forced into it.  Perhaps it has always been this way … but I think it’s happening more and more. Well, that’s my perception anyway. The beautiful thing about perceptions is they can be changed with  more facts and more experiences.

What I’ve been observing is that even though change is change, my friends’ perceptions of it makes all the difference in the world. My question is – does it have to be this way? The  “how” you came to be in the midst of change (voluntary, involuntary, dreams, or the end of dreams) … should that really change our interaction with the shift? No matter the “why”, the “what” is still the same.

The stages of change are still the same. The things you can and cannot control are essentially the same. The connections with friends, family, and networks is identical. The steps to take from “here” to “there” are virtually indistinguishable. What is different is the perception of the change. Because of that, I think we hold the key to smoother transitions.

I learned long ago to tease apart the facts of the matter from the story we tell ourselves about the fact. Facts are neutral. They are simply the details of what happened. But the stories are where our paranoias, fantasies, dreams, suspicions, and imaginations come to life. For example, when I was 3 I was ordered by the Courts to be a ward of the State and was placed in an orphanage. Everything in that sentence is a fact. However, I spent years telling myself the story that I must have been one really unlovable child because no-one loved me and I didn’t have a family. WOW! That is a 3 year old’s story based on what I could see and what I could understand and what I could possibly imagine. And, in reality it wasn’t true. Clearly I was loveable – I had lots of friends at the orphanage, I had brothers and sisters at the orphanage, the nuns used to tell me they loved me, and a wonderful family adopted me. And yet, for years (into my 30’s) I repeated, and believed, that I was unloveable. Once I learned this whole concept about how we create barriers in our lives by our storytelling (fact vs. story) it stopped me in my tracks. Because I had made up the story, I could revisit the facts and tell a different, more plausible story. I wasn’t in the orphanage because I was unloveable, or frankly because of anything I had done at all. It was because of the actions of my parents and the decisions of the judge. Changing my perception of the facts actually freed me from fears, self-doubt, and anger. And it happened in a moment. Not in a week, not over time, not through therapy and not in lingering bits. It was instantaneous. And that was the moment I stopped giving away my joy, my worth, my purpose and my self-esteem. That’s how powerful our perceptions are.

And over time, I continue to relook at my “truths” and stories to re-evaluate the facts. It has been the single most healing learned wisdom in my life. I’m grateful that I had the opportunity to learn it in my 30’s vs. in my later life.

So I ask you, are you in the midst of change? What are the facts (who, what, where, when, how)? What stories are you telling yourself (why)? Are you assigning intent and blame? Are you suspicious and fearful?  What if … in this very moment … you changed your story from something that was “done unto you” with maliciousness or for negative reasons, and retold it as a shift in opportunity, or a divine intervention, or simply as a season ending. What if you have learned and received all you need or can from that circumstance. What if the future is brighter than the now. What if the “why” did not drive your reactions or how you go through the change. What if …

I pray for those who’s change is upon them. May it be a smooth, gentle, positive adventure. And may you be blessed on the journey.

Doubts, Guilt, and Distractions


I was speaking with a friend at work yesterday about our journeys along the path of spiritual growth and our “calling.” Specifically we were talking about the work we are doing as writers. I am a published author working on my second book and she is a budding writer on the way to being published for the first time. Neither of us ever planned on this path but find ourselves drawn to it.

And, as with anyone on the path to their calling, we noticed that the closer we get to achieving our goals the more we have  doubts, guilt, and distractions. First, we have doubt about the worthiness of our stories. Afterall, we’re just ordinary women with ordinary stories. Well, that’s what we tell ourselves but in reality, everything in life that changes your heart, mind, or soul really is a big thing. Isn’t it? Second, we feel guilty for sometimes spending our precious family time on writing, or conversely spending too much time working or playing or whatever instead of concentrating on our writing. And third, there are the distractions. These are the things that creep up in every day life, such as illness, homework, cooking, TV, that next good book, grocery shopping, Facebook, yep, even blogging.

Why is it so hard for us to make progress just when we’ve found the thing we love or feel drawn to accomplish? Some people call that the devil. You know, the closer we get to God and his work, the harder the devil will attack to keep us from it. Others call that our own inner insecurities. All the stories of how we are not enough coming to the foreground of our consciousness to trip us up on the path. I don’t think the label is the important thing. The true important thing is how to get on the other side of doubts, guilt, and distractions in order to keep moving. Are they all really bricks creating a wall or are they just a curtain of illusion?

First things first, we have to recognize all of this as our “story” and not as the “truth” at all. Life is, after all, about living. No one thing gets top billing all the time and that is okay. Letting go instead of clinging to our stories of inferiority and unworthiness is not always easy but it is critical. If we judged ourselves with the same leniency and grace we give to others we might not tell these stories at all.

It was a good conversation in the end. We found ourselves encouraging each other and giving ourselves the much-needed break that is called for. We will continue with our living and writing on a better track for having examined our “problems.”

How about you – what do you do when you find yourself tripped up with doubts, guilt, and distractions?