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Telling a story

I love stories. I think it is part of why I like my job. I learn about people and their “stories”. I learn their woes and their tribulations. Stories are not gossip. Stories are about perspective. Everyone knows the story of Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz. But the book and then the broadway show Wicked gave a different perspective on the same piece of time. Both stories were fascinating and powerful and “real”.  I came across a post on Matt Forsythe’s blog that was interesting. He writes comics, telling his story with words and pictures. Comic books are like movies, moving frame by frame through a story.  His last post was interesting. It made me think of the story of families. Everyone experiences the same stretch of time, but everyone remembers something different. It is like 5 blind men feeling an elephant. One feels the trunk. One describes the ear. One pushed on the leg and tries to move the beast. The tusk. The tail. All will describe the TRUTH…..but the reality is ALL of their perspcetives mashed up together. No one can change another person’s experience. What we remember is simply our truth. But it helps to have the capacity to see and even experience another person’s perspective. [There is that empathy thing again.]

Each of our lives are stories too. When we take inventory, is the overall experience positive or negative? If we want to reframe our “story”, we can focus and remember the positive. We can spotlight the beautiful and the lovely. We can refrain from the rehashing of sorrows and trials. I am not suggesting that we become delusional. But, we can let wounds heal and then WAIT for the scar to mature. Over time it does not look so angry. Plus, scars have character!

It is so easy to get stuck. I think of my recent writer’s block. I think of the painter standing before a canvas, brush loaded with paint, but unable to lay the brush upon the canvas and START. How do you get past a block? How do you get unstuck? Sometimes it can be forced. Bust through the barrier. Fear works well. Lots of people have been scared to death. Fear changed them, changed their perspective, changed their personality, changed their lives. 

My imagery keeps coming back to the heart and the anatomy of the heart. When the artery is blocked they can be stented. Bust throught the clot, save a life. Sometimes the artery does not clot off suddenly but rather slowly occludes. When it happens slow enough, small collateral arterioles can form. The heart can still function but in a much weakened state. It never has the capacity it was designed to have or produce. It is a life….but not much of one.

The spiritual heart is the same. Certainly, there is the equivalent of a spiritual heart attack, a spiritually threatening event that GRABS the attention, that cannot be ignored. It requires emergency ACTION to survive. But there are also slow, insidious spiritual processes that rob the heart of life. How do you recover from that? When the heart….the soul….is so diminished that it barely functions and has no capacity for life? Our stories are a chaining of our life’s events. If we focus on the negative, if we repeat the negative, if we wallow in the negative….then what a sucky story! No one wants that! Instead, cultivate beauty, plant happiness, prune away the deadwood. Amend.  A writer edits. This is not revisionism. Revisionism ignores facts, burying the truth. It is perspective. Perspective is the perogative of the director….change the camera angle. Change the lighting. All that is edited away still exists, it just shifts the emphasis away from the horrific and toward the beautiful.

Amend. Edit. Change. Risk. Try. Shift. Feel. Move.

It is perspective.

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