Your stories are boring, repetitive, and rigidly fixed. You tell them the same every time, and that gives you a life of gloom and doom, an ever narrowing, ever more impoverished version of the Life you could have.
This article is about blowing some life into your story, so you can have more life.
“Know something, sugar? Stories only happen to people who can tell them.” – Allan Gurganus
Gurganus is right. The truth happens to everyone, but stories only happen to people who can tell them. And tell them well…
Professor Sexton recently told me about a new definition of reality known as the antenarrative: Ante: prior to, Narrative: the story. Prior to the story. Most of us miss it… it gets completely replaced by the story.
The antenarrative is the story that no one can tell.
Not even the people who were there. It is chaotic, without logic and disconnected. It is the way things actually happen. If you ask all the people present, all will tell a different story.
Narrative, the story, is crafted in retrospect.
A storyteller assembles selected puzzle pieces in 20/20 hindsight; the beginning, middle and end of the tale are now a foregone conclusion. If the storyteller chooses skillfully and arranges the antenarrative pieces artfully, his story will sparkle with fairy dust.
If the storyteller chooses predictably and organizes the pieces chronologically, the story will smell like cat food.
Your stories about your life smell like cat food.
Antenarrative happens to everyone. But stories only happen to people who can tell them. Ernest Hemingway won the Pulitzer Prize for making the narrative of his finely-crafted fiction feel as unvarnished and rough-hewn as antenarrative. In speaking of The Old Man and the Sea, he said,
“In stating as fully as I could how things really were, it was often very difficult and I wrote awkwardly and the awkwardness is what they called my style. All mistakes and awkwardnesses are easy to see, and they called it style.” – Papa Hemingway: A Personal Memoir, p. 198
Quoted, with my notes, from the monday morning memo. Listen to the original story: https://www.mondaymorningmemo.com/newsletters/listen/2125
After the fact knowledge is always troublesome. When I ask you what happened, I get your interpretation, I get your platitudes, generalities, your opinion about what happened, instead of what happened, or at least the story, the narrative of what happened. You’ll epphsize some facts and you’ll leave out others…
This is not something you can work with and make it useful, especially when you want to go back and alter the story so the ending can be different… The ending is TODAY…
You could, you know.
Other teachers do voodoo to change your beliefs. In the work I do we change the story YOU tell. Beliefs cannot be worked on, stories are.
When you work on the story you alter your life. And surprisingly, your beliefs change as well.
This is the work we did in my very first program I created 32 years ago: Playground, it is never too late to have a happy childhood.
It’s been my simplest and most effective program to date.
It was a group program where people retold their life, under guidance, and by exacting precision, to get the “antenarrative” out from under the story, from under all the interpretations.
The antenarrative is what actually happened. In reality, not in your head…
It is not what happens to you that creates your future, it is not what you do today that creates your future, it is what you say about it. The story.
The Playground can alter the telling of the past sufficiently that the future can alter with it.
Tiny alteration, huge changes.
I myself went from architect hating every minute of working, to celebrated publisher, having more fun that I knew what to do with. Others halved their weight, turned their businesses around, found their soul mate, got married, seemingly without wanting to.
When the story changes your present changes, your future changes.
Much like in the movie “Back to the Future”. In the movie the actual happening, the antenarrative changed, that is why it’s a fantasy movie. But in a group like the Playground, you only detect the antenarrative, that you have buried under the story, and craft a better story from it.
In working with some people, one-on-one, I see how resistant and rigid you are about your stories.
Why? because of some self-righteousness, because of some desire to receive for the self alone.
One of the things you are, instinctively, hellbent to avoid is responsibility.
On one hand you honestly want to live a better life, become a better human… On the other hand, unconsciously you create incidents, create your life that is designed to make your parents wrong even after they are dead.
In my case, on one hand I craved that my parents become proud of me… With the other hand I made sure i was destitute, maybe even homeless… “that will show them”
People commit suicide, become depressed, divorced, knocked up, sick, for the same reason.
If I were there, if I had money, happiness, my parents would think they did a good job raising me… Hell no. I’d rather be sick, poor, and miserable.
Except they didn’t care then, and they don’t care now. So you are the only one to suffer.
Unless you can effectively change the stories you tell… you won’t be able to fight effectively this self-annihilating urge to prove your parents wrong.
And if you are a parent: now you know what your kids are trying to prove… that YOU are a bad parent.
If you feel that you are ready to be part of the Playground and irreversibly uproot the bad stories and the desire to punish your parents… you can now come to a free What’s Missing/What’s the truth about you workshop where I’ll observe you and demonstrate some of the work we do in the Playground.
Go to step 2