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Life Makeover for the Year 2014

Week 13 – How telling stories will get you into trouble.

March 23, 2014

Greetings!

I’ll be offering our Speak, Write & Promote: Become a Mover & Shaker workshop in London on May 31st and June 1st.  It’s an event that will change your life if you have a product or service that deserves a larger audience.  Reid Tracy, president of Hay House, and myself will spend two days working with writers, speakers, doctors, teachers, therapists, coaches – a variety of professionals – to help them to succinctly speak about what they do, to deliver a memorable presentation, to expand their reach using publishing and social media, and much more.

If you’re ready to build a bigger audience for your work, you’ll want to attend this event.  You can watch a video of Reid and me talking about the program here.  And learn about the agenda here.

I’m live on the radio on Monday (3/24) at 5pm ET/2pm PT and I’ll be taking your calls at (866) 254-1579.  You can listen at HayHouseRadio.com.

Have a great week!

Love,

Cheryl

p.s. – Need a little Divine Direction? Use the “Touch of Grace” button on our homepage here.

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Topic of the Week

How telling stories will get you into trouble.

While making tea this morning, my cat Poupon got quite upset when he didn’t get his usual treat.

We share a ritual.  When I add almond milk to my tea, I always mix a teaspoon of it with a bit of warm water and give it to him in a little dish.  He looks forward to this daily treat and gets all excited as soon as I turn on the teapot.

At least that’s the story I tell myself.

Last night I forgot to soak almonds and therefore couldn’t make any milk for my tea or for Poupon.  And, as soon as he discovered that he wasn’t getting his treat, he began to meow – loudly.

That’s when I started thinking…

Poor dear, he’s all upset now.
He thinks I’ve forgotten about him.
He must be wondering what happened.
Then I started laughing.

Poupon is a cat and a sweet companion.  And while we do communicate with each other in certain ways, the truth is I had no idea what he was thinking or feeling.  I can only imagine.

And that’s what I do. I imagine.

The moment Poupon started meowing, I made up a story.  I projected my thoughts and feelings onto him and made them true.

That’s when insanity ensued.

Because now, not only have I made up what he’s thinking and feeling, I start reacting to my own creation.

We all do this.

Every day.

And it causes needless suffering and pain because rarely are the stories we make up positive and empowering.

A friend’s late for dinner and you tell yourself she’s disrespectful or doesn’t value your time.

The boss closes his door to meet with a co-worker and a little voice in your head is convinced they’re talking about you.  And you start imagining a variety of bad conversations.

The kids neglect to help around the house and you convince yourself that nobody cares about you or your needs.

Your spouse forgets to kiss you goodbye before going to work and you start thinking about what might be wrong with your relationship.

We make up stories about people and people make up stories about us.

After I published my blog about shame, for example, someone wrote to tell me she was upset because I didn’t smile at her in a book signing line two years ago.  Two years ago.  It seems I smiled at everyone before her (for nearly an hour) and when it came time to sign her book, I didn’t smile.

She decided that I didn’t like her or that I wasn’t being authentic.

But the truth may have been…

I had a headache.
I was caught up in a thought about how much I missed Michael.
I was tired of smiling.

None of which had anything to do with this dear woman who held onto her story for two years.

We’re all mini projectors assigning stories to the people we come in contact with throughout the day.  The world we see becomes a giant screen that reflects back to us our own creation.

We make assumptions.
We attach meaning to people and events.
We weave together a narrative and we call it real.

We respond and react but too often we forget who’s made up the story.

At this point in my life, I’m interested in relationships that are based on reality rather than fiction.  This requires a daily practice of catching myself when I start projecting or making up stories.  Rather than assume I know what’s going on with someone, I ask.

And I do my best to release the stories and assumptions that others place on me.

I’ve got my work cut out for me .

After surviving the loss of his morning treat, Poupon made his way to my lap like he always does, unfazed and oblivious to my stories.

He thinks I think he’s a cat.

But I know better…

He’s a spiritual teacher hiding in a silver fur suit…

Who behaves like a king .

 

Take Action Challenge

Here’s a little video from a young man who has something to say about living a happy and healthy life. You can watch him here.

Life Makeover For The Year 2014 (sm) is written and produced by Cheryl Richardson. If you have any questions or comments, or for reprint permission of this newsletter, please email:cheryl@cherylrichardson.com.

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