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Every couple of weeks, my 2nd grade son writes a short illustrated story. Riley has an allotted amount of classroom time for this work to be completed. He has written 6 short stories this year.
Progressively, his stories have lost the artwork and gained more words. The first was fully illustrated story told through a series of pictures and a handful of words. The last story has no artwork and lots of words.
Riley is no different than the other kids in his class. Every student has followed this same progression in telling their short stories.
The teacher’s response, “They don’t have enough time to properly complete the assignment. So I place an emphasis on writing.”
What is your reaction to this story?
If you are looking for the rest of my #reverb10 posts, I have moved them to WeVivify. Thank you for your interest.
Letting go of the stories we tell ourselves requires courage and commitment. A unstoppable willingness to move past the stories that do not serve us. To let go, we can’t just simply ignore and stuff them in the closet. We have to bring them out in the open and shine a light on them.
The rewards that await us cannot happen without allowing ourselves to experience the darkness our stories hold. Only then can we reach the light at the end of the tunnel.
Our perception of our reality is what needs to be let go of.
The stories we tell ourselves are not our reality. They are just stories we cling to. Our stories have the power to limit or expand how we define ourselves. When we talk about letting go, we are really talking about releasing ourselves from the emotional hold stories have on our current perception of our reality.
Release and the light will shine brightly.
Letting go is an ever-evolving process. Our everyday stories are intertwined with the core fundamental stories that are holding us back. As we release one story from our dominant pattern of behavior, another one is sure to replace it. Our individual story patterns are inner related to each other.
Successful letting go comes by avoiding story isolation and building a supporting pattern of beliefs. Ultimately, identifying our core story creates an expansive space for us to remove the power that story currently holds and returns us to our desired state of being.
We expand our possibilities by changing our story, by changing the current relationship with ourselves and with the world we live in.
Allow me to share a story I told myself. For a long time, this story held great power of me. I believed the story to be true. I challenged and rejected anyone who said it wasn’t.
I’m not exactly sure when this story took root. Best I can tell is 7th grade. When is not as important as the story itself. Here’s the story.
I am a terrible writer. My grammar skills suck. I can’t spell. I don’t need to write.
This story contains nothing but darkness. Negative vibes radiate in my body as I typed those words. I can’t believe I lived with this story as long as I did.
Deep in my soul, I knew this story was complete rubbish. Gut feelings aside, I never took action to formally debunk and put it to rest. Many college professors encouraged me to write. They told me I had a gift. They told me I shined when my words appeared on paper. They gave me hope.
Hope provides a flicker of light in the tunnel of darkness.
Despite hope, I graduated from college and stopped writing on a regular basis.
I started writing again a little over two years ago. At first, I wrote for classes I was taking. Then, I wrote for me. In August of 2009, I began publishing a blog as part of my business website. While I enjoyed telling stories and publishing articles, my story had not changed. I still did not think of myself as a writer.
Last spring, as the flowers bloomed, so did I. I emerged from the darkness. I am a writer.
What story do you need to let go of?
“Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.” - Plato
Plato wasn’t just talking about each of us having different perspectives. He was referencing our ability to see the inner beauty of the world around us. He was imploring us to activate our senses and fill our soul with wonderment.
A few years ago, I had an experience that changed my life. Prior to it, I thought I lived by Plato’s guidance. I thought I knew beauty and beauty knew me. I was wrong.
I was too self absorbed to understand the unlimited possibilities that come with wonderment. Occasionally, I ventured to the deep end. Mostly, I swam safely in the kiddie pool.
One day, something magical happened. I was in a conference and a beautiful attractive athletic woman walked through the door. Her energy field was magnetic. I was drawn into her vortex. What happened next is so out of my personality I still can’t explain it.
I jumped out of my chair and went over to talk to her. The blood was pumping through my veins. She was strong, confident, out going, and athletic. She was perfect. I could have spent the rest of the day standing in the middle of the room listening to her stories.
Luckily, the conference was about to start and we had to return to our seats. I’m not sure if I would have been able to drag myself away without an excuse. As I returned to my seat, I asked myself what the hell just happened. Did I really just get up and run across the room to talk to someone I did not know? I am a happily married man. What am I doing? I was dazed and confused.
The conference began and I turned my attention to the subject at hand. I tried to distract my thoughts, but I couldn’t. I glance over to where she was siting. To my surprise, I did not see the same beautiful attractive athletic woman. Instead, I saw an uninspiring lonely woman 100lbs over weight sitting all by her self. She was part of the scenery, not the scenery.
I was no longer dazed and confused. I had clearly seen her inner beauty. I had a soul connection with a total stranger and we were one for that moment in time.
I was given a tremendous gift, the ability to recognize beauty in everything around me. I’ve spent the days since that moment curiously searching for inner beauty in others and myself. I truly live in a state of wonderment.
How do you cultivate curiosity in your life?
Life is full of wonderful joyful moments. Glorious moments show up in all shapes and sizes.
Joy is ours to own and experience.
The best joyous experiences arrive unknowingly.
I could write a longer more extensive list but that is not the point. Every day is filled with subtle opportunities to deliver us joy.
Joy is deeply personal.
Pure joy touches all the senses and knocks the experience out of the ballpark. Pure joy shakes us to the core. When the moment passes, we continue to physically and emotionally crave it.
I can recall an experience in vivid detail from 15+ years ago. I often call this my “happy place.”
I was vacationing at Kiawah Island in the mid 90’s over the Thanksgiving holiday. I really wanted to play golf at the Ocean Course but could not bring myself to drop a couple hundred dollars on a round. So, I did the next best thing. I drove to the course and used the practice facilities.
I immediately became lost in the moment. Love at first step out of the car. My adrenaline was pumping, my heart was racing, and strangely, I had a calm sense of belonging. I was not an invited guest to this moment. I was the moment and the moment was I.
As I chipped and putted on the greens, I felt my creative juices come alive. I was trying shots I had never attempted before. I was visualizing lines to the hole like never before. I felt invincible. I could make any shot I attempted. When I missed, I never gave it a second thought. I just let it go and moved on to the next shot.
Time went by. I was in complete flow.
I moved over to the driving range. The only thing that separates the range from the beach is a thin set of sand dunes. I can still feel the gentle ocean breeze and hear the crashing of the waves. I was in heaven. The peaceful quiet splendor filled my heart with joy. I relaxed like I never had before.
I was a very erratic golfer in those days. Barely broke the triple digits and sprayed the ball around the outfield with the best of them. I had fleeting moments, but never anything like this.
On that day, I hit golf shots with the greatest of ease. There wasn’t a shot I could not make. I found joy in everything I did.
I have practiced on the Ocean Course 8-10 times since. Each and every time I have found the same joy. Living in joy is where I belong. Living in joy is where you belong.
What brings you pure joy?
Distractions? What distractions?
In the last 30 minutes alone, I’ve been distracted by Twitter, Facebook, RSS feeds, dinner, kids, and my loving wife.
Where’s my focus?
Before you get the wrong impression, they are NOT unwanted distractions. They are simply distractions from pure focus on what I most want to do in this moment.
Truth be known, I can find distractions a lot easier than I can find time to write. My attention span is either unwavering laser focus or well, what were we talking about?
Case in point…I just finished the previous sentence. Got up. Walk to the kitchen. Fixed a cup of tea and tweeted this:
The art of longing and the art of belonging must be experienced in life - Yogi Tea
Distracted? Not so much. Ha!
The first step in overcoming a challenge is to admit you have a problem.
Hi. My name is David McGraw and I struggle to maintain focus when I want to write.
Next step is critical, a fool proof plan of action.
In order to bring more focus to my writing I will take the following three steps every time I set down to write. I will
1. Improve my writing environment. Close the door. Turn on inspiring music.
2. Turn off electronic distractions. Close e-mail. Close browsers. Hide my phone. Disconnect from the outside world. (Secret: This one scares me)
3. Daily writing. Doesn’t matter what or when I write, I will write everyday for one hour.
No plan of action is complete without a firm commitment.
I, David McGraw commit to one hour of distraction free writing every day.
See how easy that was? I can do this. So can you.
What writing commitment will you commit to?
What does phrase “finding my voice” mean to you?
Does is mean:
a) I no longer have laryngitis
b) My singing lessons are finally paying off
c) Puberty is now a distant memory
d) I am communicating according to who I am
Any one of these responses could be correct.
My answer is “D.”
This past year has been about finding my voice. I’ve learned to use my words to more accurately reflect what I am feeling and thinking. I am able to bring my true authentic self to every conversation and interaction. I have found safety and comfort to be my true self in the world. As I result, I am helping others do the same.
2010 is the year I found my voice.
Every monumental step forward is the result of intense focus and energy. I spent countless hours searching and discovering my voice.
I read books/blogs on communicating, storytelling, and writing. I wrote countless blog posts and while only publishing 30 of them. I tweeted upwards of 4,000 times. Each tweet game me a chance to craft and hone my skills. I taught basic writing exercises. I taught basic social media communication exercises. I practiced saying what I had to say in as few as words as possible.
I worked hard to transform my communication skills.
The road to mastery is 10,000 hours long. It feels good to leave the rest stop and head on down the road.
2011 brings with it a new road conditions. Will the road be straight or full of curves? Will I be able to drive fast or slow? Will there be good music on the radio? That’s a silly question. Of course there will be.
I believe 2011 will be about paving new roads. Honing my craft. Exploring new communities. Building new relationships. Growing a shared connection and meaning.
Expansion. Yeah, that’s the word.
What one word would you use to describe what 2011 holds for you?
From time to time, I think it is important to go back and review what you have written and shared. I did this with my blog (http://wevivify.com/articles/) last month and got reconnected with my vision.
Amazingly enough, I tweeted over 2,000 times in my first year on Twitter. I stripped out all the conversations, links, and retweets in search of the wisdom I dispensed. The two images represent the core message I delivered in my first year on twitter.
Enjoy and let me know what you think.