Stop Story-lining and Start Living
We are told from a very young age about these things called goals and dreams. Some of us are taught not to chase dreams because they are unattainable, others are told to “dream BIG!” because anything is possible, and some are just in between, directionless.
For those daring enough to dream, to set goals that will take some time to achieve, the road can be rocky. Why? Because that is how it is, the reward of chasing your dreams lies in the process, overcoming obstacles and growing as a person along the way. But sometimes we make ourselves miserable during this process. Why?
Because we write storylines for our lives.
When I first ventured into halfpipe skiing I didn’t really know what it was, what it would mean if I was good at it, or how it could possibly affect my future. So I did it purely because I loved it, it was fun and it engaged every part of my attention, my body and mind at once. Absolutely enthralling! Within a short period of time, I began experiencing success.
Then I began to PLOT MY FUTURE (imagine this being said in Denzel Washington’s voice over a megaphone). I began to imagine my future life (XGAMES GOLD MEDALIST, FAMOUS PRO SKIER, MAGAZINES, MOVIES, blah, blah, blah) down to the tiniest details. But more than imagine, I began to feel entitled to this future, and when things didn’t fit in with what I had imagined, I struggled. Hard. I would create such a concrete idea of “what my life was” that I would force-fit people, places and things into my imagined reality. Trying to craft and mold and control the world around me.
I also fabricated this concept of “permanence” that once I achieved x, y and z that those things would be with me forever (true) but also that they would continue to happen on and on, for eternity; that the satisfaction in achieving said goal, would be one that would constantly bring my joy and satisfaction forever.
When you create such a false reality, when life throws you a curve-ball (like your dad has a very rare and aggressive form of leukemia) the illusion begins to crack and fade, become sheer, until you can see right through it. That piece (dad with cancer) didn’t fit into your imagined reality, but it happened. Then you start questioning what you’ve created. Everything you’ve convinced yourself of begins to fall apart.
We do this kind of story lining a lot. Like when we me meet a wonderful person with whom we want to fall in love. We focus on the aspects of that person that fit into our created, imagined reality of life, our ideas of what we want and need become the only pieces of that person that we see. But eventually it catches up with us and this character that we created to fit into our fictional world is no longer hiding. We begin to see the other pieces and sides that we chose to overlook in the beginning, and the pieces no longer fit - right shape, wrong color; right color, wrong shape.
I just finished watching a movie called Ruby Sparks about a writer, Calvin, who began writing a love-story about meeting his ideal woman, Ruby Sparks. As his story went on and more and more details were created, Ruby became real, Calvin manifested her into existence, and she appeared living in his home. But over time Ruby needed to be who Ruby really was, not Calvin’s Ruby, and the love story began to fall apart.
The more Calvin tried to control her with his writing the worse things got. Ruby was pushed away by this overbearing grasp. It wasn’t until Calvin was able to release her and return her freedom to her, that Ruby was able to reenter Calvin's life in another form. This is an extreme metaphor for this “story-lining” to which I refer, but it is surprisingly accurate.
We cannot possess anything in life fully, not a goal, not a person, not a dream.
The only possession that we have is within ourselves. Everything else will come and go, some people and things will stay bonded to us for longer than others, but everything is temporary. All that we seek in life, money, success, love, family, it is all fleeting. So stop wasting time writing the storyline of your life and start truly living life for what it IS!
It begins with being conscious, being present and aware of your thoughts. When they start running wild and taking you to made up places of the past and future, bring yourself back to the current moment- the reality that is unfolding before your eyes. This doesn’t mean that we can’t set goals or dream BIG or imagine the kind of person we want to be with, it just means we need to be real. Real with ourselves about what IS here in front of us. Let go of expectations, of definitions, and bask in the beauty of what IS.
Because ‘what IS,’ is truly all we have.