Who Would You Be Without Your Story?

in Book Reviews,Emotional Well Being,Life Purpose,Reviews

Who would you be without your story? In every moment we tell the world our story — I’m poor; I’m dumb; I’m oppressed; I’m trapped. Have you ever thought about who you could be if you let go of that story? Just asking that question is a revolutionary act! And it is only the beginning. This website is dedicated to the idea that we can envision a better life for ourselves. What is your Life Vision? What do you need to change to make that vision a reality?

There’s an old saying, when the student is ready, the teacher will appear. It was certainly that way for me with Byron Katie and her amazing book Loving What Is.  I’ve spent my life telling myself and the world a lot of stories about myself. I’m the bridesmaid, but never the bride. I’m a poor but happy person. I’m a “little heavy” or “big boned”. I’m a nice person and nice people don’t get angry. Who put those labels on me? I did! Well, not anymore. Those labels are ripped up and in the trash!

Byron Katie's Who Would You be Without Your Story?Putting your stories to question is what Katie calls The Work and it is powerful stuff. There are four questions and a turn around that make up the work. Here’s an example. Let’s say that I’m frustrated because I can’t pay my bills and buy the things I want. And with introspection I realize that I hold this belief or story: I’m an English major, so I’ll never make any money. So the first thing that Byron Katie’s book says to do is to ask this simple question: Is it true? I majored in English so I’ll never make any money. Is that true? My first reaction might be to say Yes! Look around — who gets the big salaries? Engineers and lawyers and computer programmers. English majors do not make the list.
OK, the second question is this: Can you absolutely know that it is true? The answer is No, of course not. I can’t say that no English majors ever made lots of money. Lots of people get English degrees and they have all the money they need to buy what they want. it feels true in my case, but I cannot absolutely say that it’s true for everyone.
The third question is: What happens when you believe (whatever your belief is) that English majors never make any money? Well, I get upset and resentful. I feel stupid that I ever got not one but two English degrees! If no one ever makes any money, why even bother to teach it? They should only allow people who want to be engineers and programmers to go to college. The rest of us should just go ahead and enter the service industry since that’s where we’ll end up and better to not be saddled with student loans, right?!

The fourth question is: Who would you be without that thought? Huh?. What kind of question is that? Who would I be? You think that I can just decide to stop thinking that thought? No I can’t! And then you begin to wonder….. who could I be if I didn’t think that thought? If I really stopped thinking that I was going to be poor for the rest of my life because of what I studied in college, what could happen? I could be a successful writer or teacher or anything!

When you are ready, you turn the statement around: Because I studied English in college, I’m bound to make a ton of money. Can you think of any examples? Well, um, Stephen King was an English major. He did OK for himself. There was that professor I had for Romantic poetry, he lived in that beautiful old house and played golf every weekend.

You can turn it around again and again: Since I studied English, I am not bound to follow one career path. I’m not locked in to teaching or writing! I can open a restaurant or start a gardening business. I could be a freelance writer. Being an English major allowed me to be open to new experiences and to avoid the deadly 9 to 5 desk job!….. The turn around allows you to bring your personal power to the process.

Three years ago I knew I wanted something more from my life. I was bored with my work, tired of being broke and in debt, tired of being overweight, just tired of it all. Like millions of people, I watched The Secret and while I could tell there was a glimmer of something there, I was really turned off by what felt like the crass money grubbing of many of the speakers. At times I felt like it was a big Amway sales pitch. But I believed that the Universe had more in store for me; I just needed to figure out what and how.

I discovered Louise Hay and the teaching of Abraham. Then finally, it all began to click when I started reading Suze Orman’s books. I realized that I could have all these rich and abundant thoughts but until I got my finances in order, no money was going to flow to me because at the heart, I had lack. I desperately wanted money, felt like I needed more money to solve my problems. And that was not true. Not true at all. Once I sat down and really looked at my financial situation, once I wrote out a budget and stuck to it, my lack went away. No, I didn’t win the lottery or anything. But I did find that I made enough money to cover all of my bills and I made enough money to pay down my debt. I just had to stop living like I was someone else. I had to stop spending like I was someone else.

So, who am I today? Who is this person without that limiting story about being a broke English major? I have a hefty amount of money in the bank, in case of emergency. I have a plan to be completely debt free by the time I hit age 50. My job has become interesting again because I’m bringing something new to the table every day. I’ve lost 50 pounds by exercising three or four times a week and I have this fun little website where I get to share my thoughts with the world. I am one lucky person. Good thing I didn’t go to Law School like my mom wanted, eh? Who knows what dead end job I’d have then!

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