In 2023, I ask you to forego the usual resolutions and consider the story you are currently living in. What is your character, and what is the genre of your book? Are you happy with your character, or would you write your character differently if you could?
The world's story of division, domination, limitation, greed, fear, and war has grown tiresome. This year, I propose we choose a new story that creates better lives for us personally and collectively.
How do we know our story, and how do we change it? We become detectives of our own lives and ask ourselves why we do the things we do. When we discover the answers to the why, we can discern whether or not they hold value for us.
Here’s a simple, mundane example. One average day, when I was in the shower, I wondered why I did things in the order that I did them. I always soap my body first, then wash my hair. I considered why I did things in this order. When I was in high school, several of us in the house needed to shower in the morning, and our water heater had difficulty keeping up. I had to cut my shower short a few times because of cold water. So I adapted my showering habits to ensure I cleaned the most critical parts first. I would wash my body and then my hair because I could always put my hair in a ponytail if necessary. That routine stuck and was the one still in use. So I took a minute to reassess. I don’t have five people showering in my house, and I never have issues with my water heater. Did this routine still work best for me? Or would I prefer to wash my hair first so the conditioner can sit longer while I take care of the other necessities? Yes, actually, that would make more sense to me now.
It might be a silly example, but it demonstrates how engrained our thoughts and actions can be and how they contribute to the story we choose to live. Our brains are brilliant and adapt to circumstances, so we do many things on autopilot. When we take the time to scrutinize our habits and belief systems under the lens of our current consciousness (as opposed to when we were 14 or younger), it empowers us to decide if the old story works for us or if there’s a better one.
Your ego may argue that you shouldn't change. Change might mean going against the grain, causing fears to bubble up. You may even interpret the fears as indications that you should continue as before. This is normal; the ego freaks out at the prospect of the unknown. It feels much safer to stay with the known.
But if you listen carefully, there will be a much quieter, loving voice coaxing you forward on the path less traveled because there, anything is possible. The Sufi poet Rumi said, “Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing, there is a field. I’ll meet you there. When the soul lies down in that grass, the world is too full to talk about. Ideas, language, even the phrase each other doesn’t make sense.”
The ideas of right and wrong are human constructs, but who is the decider of what is right and wrong? Likely, you have strong opinions on the subject. But I’d ask you to consider the origin of those opinions. Why do you have them? Were they learned through family, religion, school, or society? What was the motivation of the teacher? Was it love or fear? Control or freedom? Again, ask why about everything.
So what does all of this have to do with creating a new story?
Most of us live according to the character we were told to play. “Success” is defined by the book in which our character inhabits, and we do the best we can within that book. We don’t realize there are other books we could be a part of, more joyful, loving, and adventurous books that would offer more purpose, meaning, and fulfillment. The question is, how do we maneuver ourselves from one book to the next?
The first step is to accept that a new book is even a possibility. The second step is to investigate the current story, as demonstrated above, and continue to do so throughout life. Awareness is empowerment. The third step is to choose one thing that can be done today to take action toward the desired book. It doesn’t have to be anything significant. Just do the thing - take a class, join a meetup, reach out to someone and see where it leads.
The new story is there, waiting for your character to join the narrative where the plot line is peace, passion, love, and joy. As you join that story, others will follow, and before you know it, the old worn-out story of limitation and lack will find itself without characters to fuel it any longer. Together, we will change the world one empowered decision at a time.
Wishing you magic and miracles in 2023.