I’m Making Up A Story That…

On Thursday and Friday of last week I had the privilege of interviewing some of the most successful conscious entrepreneurs in the world. It was part of the Shift Network’s Enlightened Business Summit. Earlier in the week, Chip Conley, the founder of Joie de Vivre Hospitality, interviewed many of the most successful conscious business people on the topic of Emotional Fluency.

It was an incredible week of insights and aha moments. And the most amazing thing for me was to see how much of the information being shared by these high level business executives, authors and experts in the field of Emotional Intelligence could be applied to areas other than business!

Fyi: If you haven’t had a chance to listen, the replays are available through the end of the week.

One of the biggest “AHA” moments for me was during Chip’s interview with Café Gratitude founders Terces and Matthew Englehart, authors of the book, Sacred Commerce. At one point Matthew was sharing one of the communications techniques they use in the restaurants when there is a conflict or tension between employees.

As the two, or more, employees share what they are thinking they begin with the phrase, “I’m making up a story that…”

It is such a simple technique and yet the power in those 6 words is incredible.

Think about it: How many times have you made up a story in your head about someone or a situation that ended up having absolutely no connection to reality?

If you’re like me, you’ve probably done it once or twice… or maybe like a few thousand times! 😉

This technique struck me as such a powerful way to diffuse the charge that builds up when our minds start spinning out in a direction that usually is not based on anything other than a limiting belief.

I know that I make up stories all the time about being abandoned. That’s my “core wound.” And it’s very easy for me to spin out into a detailed storyline about how I’m being abandoned by my partner whenever she does something that activates that wound in me.

Since hearing that interview last week, I’ve made a commitment to myself to use the phrase, “I’m making up a story that you’re pulling away”… or “you’re getting ready to leave”… or, well you get it.

Using that phrase does two very important things:

First, for my partner, it lets her know I’m aware that I’m speaking from the wounded place in me and that I’m not saying this story is true and I’m not saying that she’s doing anything wrong. When I speak from that place it allows her to hear me without going into defensiveness.

Second, for me, it immediately diffuses some of the charge around the story. By using those words I’m letting myself know that it’s just a story. As with most stories, there may be an element of truth to it, but it is not the whole TRUTH. And when I’m able to take that step back from seeing the story as TRUTH I am more able to listen to and really hear my partner’s experience – even if something she says seems to confirm my belief in the story – and feel her love and our connection.

It is a powerful technique that can be put into use in all relationships, work, romance, friends, family. And it’s a tool you can use on your own.

Again, if you’re like me, you’ve got an imagination that loves creating stories. The next time you catch your mind going into that cycle see if you can stop yourself and say, “I’m making up a story that…” You might find that just recognizing that you are creating a story will help you come back to the TRUTH.

Try it out today and let me know what happens. I’d love to hear your experience with it.

The Secret to Controlling the Weather

He stood on the outcropping overlooking the drought-stricken valley below. Crops were withering from the heat and lack of rain. He could smell the smoke from the not too distant fires burning their way through the dry forests and fields.

He stood, feeling the fear of his people, the pain of the farmers, the hunger of the children. He let this fear, pain and hunger flow into his awareness, fill him up, take him over. He allowed the memories of past droughts and the grief they left in their path swallow him. He let the fear, pain and sadness of his people awaken the places of fear, pain and sadness within himself.

He focused on the sadness: Of the mothers who could not feed their children, the farmers who could not provide for their families and communities. He let this sadness grow inside. He let himself open to the cleansing that needed to move through him.

Soon the tears began to flow, just a trickle at first as he opened his heart fully to the sadness and welcomed in the cleansing. And as the tears began to flow, those watching from below saw clouds begin to gather. Slowly at first, then more rapidly, the blue sky turned grey. Darker and darker the sky became until a shout was heard, “Rain!”

Soon others joined in, shouting with joy and gratitude as they, too, felt the drops of rain beginning to bring their cleansing, regenerative power to the land.

Before long, the people in the valley below could no longer see the Rainmaker standing above. He was lost in the rain and clouds. But still, he stood, finding the places within himself that needed to be cleansed, opening himself up to those places where sadness and grief lived within himself so that he could call forth the cleansing rains and bring healing and hope to the land and to the people.

Scientists have told us that it’s impossible to control the weather. There are too many factors and variables. But for millenia, the mystics and shaman of many traditions have demonstrated that it is possible to influence the weather.

Possible. Not possible. Who can really say. All I know is that there sure seems to be a correlation between my emotional state and the weather. Now there is the chicken and egg question that can be asked here: Which comes first, the rain to help remind me that there is some place inside me that needs cleansing or the places inside me that need the cleansing?

It doesn’t really matter, although I admit it can be fun to imagine that my emotional state influences the weather!

What matters to me is that I don’t just dismiss the weather as an unrelated external factor. II believe there IS a connection between what is happening inside of me – and YOU – and what is happening in the world around me, including the weather.

We are all interconnected. You’ve heard the phrase “as above so below” or “get the inside right and the outside follows.” Our inner world and the external world that we see and experience are intimately connected. So whether or not my internal state has an impact on the weather, I have begun looking at the weather as more than a random external circumstance. Instead, look at the weather as a literal barometer and reflection of something inside of me.

For instance, this morning I woke up to a dense fog. Instead of moaning and complaining, I asked myself, what is this fog here to remind me?

The answer came back immediately: “You don’t need to know the outcome, just take the next step.”

So often I find myself wanting to know the outcome, the final destination. I want to be able to see where the path in front of me is leading. There is definitely a bit of that happening in my life right now. Lots of changes and unknown variables have left me feeling a bit off balance and uncertain about how to proceed. In fact, I had a difficult time falling asleep last night because my mind was so busy trying to figure out all the possible permutations and twists and turns in the road in front of me.

This morning, the fog reminded me, in very clear terms that I don’t need to know what happens beyond today, or even what happens beyond this very moment. I don’t need to see where the path I’m on is leading.

I only need to take the next step. And when I take that next step, the step after it will become clear. If I just continue taking one step at a time, putting one foot in front of the other, I know that I’ll get to where I’m going… even if I don’t know where that is!

So, if you woke up to fog this morning, let go of the need to know where Life is leading you and ask yourself what the very next step is that you can take in this moment.

If you woke up to rain, ask yourself what places inside of you could use a little cleansing.

And if you woke up to a beautiful, sunny morning, enjoy the vista, know that you are in a place where you CAN see the possibilities and potential that awaits you as you move forward. But remember, you still have to take that next step… and the one after that… in order to get to where this incredible Life is leading you.

And remember, it really IS possible that YOU are controlling the weather!

Don’t forget to leave a comment below. I’d love to hear about your experiences of controlling the weather!