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What’s Your Story? Four Tips To Stop Your Stories From Derailing Your Life

Written by: Dr. Ann Moir-Bussy, Senior Level Executive Contributor

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.

 

Can you remember the first time you listened to a story? Was it a fairy tale or a story told to you by your parents or grandparents? Do you still remember it? There is a fascination and enchantment in stories, and the storyteller was a magical being who held us captive.


Stories permeate almost every aspect of our lives. While we think of stories being told to us, we sometimes forget that we are constantly creating stories and telling them to ourselves and others; these stories fashion the way we live.


We are storytelling beings.


And the stories we tell ourselves and others will either poison or transform them and us.

In his book A Way of Being Free, African writer Ben Okri once wrote:


There are many ways to die, and not all of them have to do with extinction. A lot of them have to do with living. Living many lies. Living without asking questions. Living in the cave of your own prejudices. Living the life imposed on you, the dreams and codes of your ancestors (1997:52)


We are living by our stories and living in our stories, and our first step is to wake up and ask: What is YOUR story?


1. What is your story?


This is the first conversation we need to have with ourselves to discover the story planted in us a long time ago, or the stories we planted, knowingly or unknowingly, along the way in ourselves. Are these stories giving our life meaning and hope? Or are these stories negating our life and filling us with meaninglessness, blame, and negativity?


It was once said that Mark Twain was asked to look back on his life and sum it up. He responded, "My life has been one tragedy after another, but thankfully, most never happened". Living and fearing the worst is not living it is limiting your potential, denying your possibility of growth and transformation, and telling yourself you are not good enough. It is to join the 'walking dead.


2. Learn from the earliest storytellers


The indigenous peoples of the world and the earliest storytellers were the healers, the shamans, the bards, and those who were not afraid to wrestle with the great mysteries of life. They sang, painted, danced, and wrote what they discovered in their myths and fairy tales. They gathered their people around the fires, taking them into battles with monsters across stormy seas, rescuing them from illness, finding nature's medicines, and giving hope to those around them through their stories.


Many of the great myths and fairy tales are stories that reveal the meaning of the journey of life. If we want to find answers and inner peace, we too have to climb mountains, traverse dark valleys, face our inner and outer monsters, and support and be supported by fellow travelers on the way.


A pilgrimage in Spain follows the path of St James to Compostela. Pilgrims travel over 100 kilometers, sometimes alone, sometimes together, making friends and taking time to reflect. When they reach the end, a few travelers go to the coast. As they look across the ocean to the horizon, they are asked to leave behind three things that no longer serve them. One woman who made the journey left behind the letters and cards she had received that supported her but were no longer needed. Then she left her worn traveling coat also no longer needed for her next phase in life. And finally, she left behind the boots that had carried her here knowing she required new and different shoes as she started a different journey.


So too, when we awaken to the stories we have been carrying, we may need to leave behind what is no longer relevant for the life we want to lead, for the person, we are becoming, and for the gifts, we will bring to fruition to share with others.


Learn from these wise storytellers, not those who want to drag us into the abyss or a morass of meaninglessness. Look carefully at your story the one you have been telling yourself, and consciously and responsibly liberate yourself from others’ stories and expectations.


3. Listen to the words you use and the words you accept


Sometimes our days are poisoned by too many words. We live in an increasingly noisy world; much of the noise is words. As Okri said


“Words that are said and not meant. Words said and meant. Words divorced from feeling. Wounding words. Words that conceal. Words that reduce. Dead words.” (p.88)


Words carry energy. Are we filling ourselves and others with an energy that is loving and healing and connected to universal energy, or are we again using words that negate our actual being and pull others down too? We all know how hurtful it is to be the brunt of someone's cutting remarks, to feel the hurt of negative criticism that sometimes lingers and grows in our minds for decades. Such words are often like poisonous seeds that infiltrate the stories we tell ourselves and the stories we pass on to others. Everyone has been wounded somehow, and sadly too many still carry unhappiness within. May the words we use bring friendship, and may we go beyond words with smiles, healing, and gestures of peace and oneness.


4. Own your story and be responsible for its unfolding


We’ve grown up with so many stories that inspired us and stories that hurt us. When we reach mid-life, we must step out of our victim's shoes, blaming parents, teachers, and abusers for how our life is, and own the story we are carrying, transform it and become our author. We are all searching for meaning and answers to life's questions, and sometimes we are so bombarded with words and stories that are not ours that we may feel like we are drowning.


Fewer words. More stillness. Let us take the time to go within and LISTEN. Listen to the word unfolding within you. Let your own story unfold. Be present to the divine voice within you. Be grateful for all the experiences that have brought you to this phase of your journey, and embrace your own story.


As we come to that stillness and presence, the words of the poet Rainer Maria Rilke come to mind:


I believe in all that has never yet been spoken.

I want to free what waits within me

So that what no one has dared to wish for

May for once spring clear

Without my contriving. *


May each of us unlock the creative and compassionate words waiting to be born within us.


(*From Rilke’s Book of Hours – Love Poems to God – Rainer Maria Rilke/Translated by Joanna Macy.)


Follow Ann on Facebook, LinkedIn, or visit her website for more info!


 

Dr. Ann Moir-Bussy, Senior Level Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine

The rich life experience of Dr. Ann Moir-Bussy spans decades of missionary work, teaching, counseling, transformative life coaching, consulting, and becoming a best-selling author.


She taught in schools across Australia and, in Indigenous schools in the Northern Territory and also trained Chinese students in Hong Kong in counseling and psychology. The founder and editor of the Asia Pacific Journal of Counselling and Psychotherapy for ten years, Ann, is now editor of the Australian Counselling Research Journal.

During a life of transitions and transformations to now conscious aging, Ann brings her dedication and zest to guide women in mid-life to discover renewed clarity, purpose, and direction as they embrace their powerful feminine wisdom and intuition in their afternoon of life. Through her programs, podcasts, coaching, and writing, Ann enables women to develop a strong spiritual leadership that brings transformation in their life, work, and world.


Ann is featured in Unified Brainz Who’s Who of the World 2022 Coffee Table Book Quintessential Limited Edition

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