The stories we tell.
Recently, I made a decision that I have been thinking about for 21 years. For that long, I have wanted to take a trip to study with one of the world's most spiritual people. That entire time, I have told myself that it was too much money, that I could not take the time from my work, that I could not leave my friends and family for three weeks. All those things felt so true to me, then. Last weekend I changed my mind. My teacher is now 82 years old and feeling weak. People from all over the world, some of whom are important to me, are making the trip this year. Making the sacrifices they need to make. This could be my last opportunity to be with him. Lingering in the world of "yes-I-will-no-I-won'tn" I asked myself this final question, "When I'm 85 looking back on my life, will I regret not going?" The answer immediately boomed, "Yes, I would deeply regret it!" I'm leaving in a week for 21 days. I find myself shaking my head and wondering why I told myself that erroneous story for all those years. My perspective was based on assumptions that might have been challenged. I realize that we all tell ourselves stories to justify our decisions. Think about the stories you tell yourself and others to explain the decisions you make about your life. Think about the stories you tell yourself to justify your feeling toward other people. We all say things to ourselves and others that will support our own point of view. We look at the world through our own lenses. The lenses of optimism, "Yes, I can take this trip, get a promotion, move to a different neighborhood, go to school " "He's a really good person, but we just aren't compatible." "I know I can lose weight, relax more, and spend more quality time with my loved ones." Yet we often put up roadblocks to actually getting what we want from life. We often create an internal sense of upset or disappointment just by those words we say in our own heads. We hang out in the world of pessimism. When we then explain our opinions to others, we tilt the table to justify our thoughts. And we put down deep roots that support our opinions. The challenge is to be very cautious about our self-talk. Be careful about how you describe your life. Your perceptions are probably wrong. Think of me. For the next few weeks, I will be in the south of France. I still don't believe it.