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Stories: Either/or — Both/and

Posted Oct 16 2012 12:32am

Our lives are a reflection of the ways we make sense of the world, of the stories that help us to remember what happened, interpret what is happening and envision what might happen.  Our stories are at their most basic level more than about what we see.  They provide even more importantly the lens through which we see.

It is through our stories that we see the promise of life or that life has no promise.  It is our stories that define life as deprivation or opportunity.  They define where we put our energy, what is worthwhile to search for, what to expect from ourselves and others.  On the one hand they give us direction.  On the other, sometimes our stories leave us flying blind.

Some of our stories are fixed.  They are about verdicts on who we are and what life can be.  They are either/ or stories.  Either you are smart or you are not.  Either you are strong or you  are not.  Either you are sane or you are not…….. Life is about proving that you have enough and the verdict is good.  When you feel like you are deficient or lacking in some substantial way you throw your heart into convincing others that it just isnt so, try to control impressions and throw your energy into accumulating.  If the argument seems pointless and misery inevitable then you medicate your experience.  The world is filled with countless “feel goods”.  It seems hard to find enough.  You never feel good enough, long enough or about enough.

Some stories are not convictions on what it but about possibilities of more.  Life is about growth and change.  Regardless of how bad it seems life can get better, you can get better.  Life is about learning and opportunity and not about conviction and deprivation. 

The recovery model is basically a both/and story.  Misery and distress are real and can be horrifying, but because bad things are real it doesnt mean that all things are bad or even that bad things are the most real things. 

Some stories try to grow to occupy all the space in your life.  Depression tells you it is all there is or at least that it is the most real thing there is.  You feel stuffed with it and overpowered with it. It doesnt allow even the glimpse of the possibility of movement when it is at  its worse.

Stories are not equal opportunity truth.  It is not simply a matter of opinion.  Some guide and lift and energize.  Others just simply crack and burn in the weight of reality. 

We all have our stories.  Sometimes we forget that they do more than tell us. 
We tell them.  If there is no light in your darkness remember we are more than the told.  We are the teller.

And in that there is hope.

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