Stepping into a new narrative for yourself – a new interpretation of events that can be more truthful and open a bigger space of possibility – requires, as I’ve written here and here in recent days, that you also take on practice.
It’s the combination of a story that has explanatory power and the skilfulness to enact it that brings about a new world to inhabit.
It can easily look as if the necessary first step is the new story – a new way of explaining things. But it’s equally the case that it’s the taking on of new practices that can open up a world and allow you to discover new kinds of truth within it.
As long as you’re sure that someone else won’t listen to you, you’re silent around them. But it may be your very remaining silent that’s giving you grounds for seeing things this way. How much chance does she have to listen while you, certain of your story, are not speaking up?
As long as you’re convinced that your work isn’t worth much, you hold back, speak hesitantly, make tentative offers to others that they, in turn, respond to without much enthusiasm. When you act this way, how much opportunity does the world have to respond to what you have to bring?
As long as you’re certain that the world is a dangerous, unforgiving place you triple lock your door and hide fearfully behind it. From behind your closed door you deny yourself the possibility of experiencing the world as it is. How can you possibly find out, with this set of practices, how different the world might be from the way you imagine it?
Our stories and interpretations are like that. It’s difficult to imagine our way out of them as long as we are actively sustaining them through the way we speak, listen, and act.
Often, then, the skilful move is to begin by taking on new practices that have the possibility of bringing a about a new and more truthful story. Start to experiment with speaking up. See what happens as you make bolder, more generous, more confident offers. Open the doors and begin to step outside to find out what the world is actually like.
As your skill in each of these deepens, your understanding of the world deepens too.
Find out the worlds that come into being as you practice speaking out, expressing yourself, participating in community, extending help to others, creating, being very still, listening, stretching, standing tall, offering, asking, declaring, exercising, dancing, thinking clearly, teaching, belonging…
In each case it’s the new practice that brings you into new encounter with the world. And it’s from here, if you’re prepared to keep going, that a whole new understanding can emerge.
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