A Story I Tell Myself Is…

Why is it that I can’t sleep after a stretch that has included three consecutive nights of less than six hours of sleep and four consecutive days of more than 16 hours of full on activity? It’s the night after we listened to others tell stories and we told a portion of ours. My first answer is “I have no FLIPPING idea why I can’t sleep!” My real answer is, “Because my mind and my heart are so full…”

So I wake again after four and a half hours of sleep and I think about life. I wake after four and a half hours of sleep and I write about life. I wake after four and a half hours sleep and accept that this is the way it is intended to be in my life, just for right now.

Jim and author/speaker Nancy Levin

Jim and author/speaker Nancy Levin

In my four-day weekend of divine madness I covered a bit of ground. I taught a few yoga classes. I worked my regular shifts at Joe’s. I spent 16 hours at the hands of brilliant mentors names Reid Tracy, Mike Dooley, Nancy Levin and Kelly Notaras and crammed every inch of my brain full at the Chicago Hay House writer’s workshop. I cooked three dinners and on one of those nights had four friends over to join. I rented a second car so Christiana could use ours while I drove to and from Rosemont where the conference was held. I drove that rental car in a blizzard. I got a chance to read one of my writing samples to 55o people at that Hay House workshop. I prepped for our first ever self produced story show. I served a Emcee of that story show. I told a story at the story show. I served a $1700 bottle of wine. I drank a $70 bottle of wine. And oh by the way I/we hosted a spirit gallery at our home where we channeled in the spirit of my dear friend Richard and we all had a nice visit and learned stuff that I can’t even begin to figure out how to process…yet. Just another four day weekend, eh?

There were many things that resonated with me about the writer’s conference. Perhaps the richest was this simple and obvious truth. Just write! Even when there is nothing you can possibly think to write about, find an exercise and write anything. It’s so simple it’s brilliant. Most simple things wind up being brilliant, don’t they? On Sunday, author Nancy Levin led us through three, stream of consciousness, five-minute writing excercises. This was after we had been given an overnight ten-minute exercise. All together 25 minutes of timed, stream of consciousness writing that we could go back to later and mine for the nuggets of simple brilliance.

unnamed-24On the first day of the workshop we had been offered a tease. We were told that at the end of the day on Sunday they would pick about five of us to share our writing samples. In the very first minutes of the conference I had written an intention at the top of my note pad. The intention said, “I will be speaking at a future Hay House Writer’s Workshop.”

After Nancy’s tease I went back to that first page of my notes and crossed of the word future and replaced it with the word current. Not surprisingly I was picked as the first person out of 550 to read my sample as the conference ended Sunday. Thank you Universe!

I had every intention of sharing the ten-minute exercise I had so intently prepared the night before. When I got to the microphone I immediately decided to switch to one of the five-minute, less thought out streams of consciousness I had just written minutes ago. The exercise was write over and over to this thought:

A story I tell myself is (fill in the blank). The truth is (fill in the blank). 

This is what I wrote and read in front of 550 people at the Chicago Hay House writers workshop on Sunday afternoon. I can’t wait to go back and mine it and see if there are any nuggets of brilliance.

A story I tell myself is that life is hard. The truth is life is pretty easy

A story I tell myself is, I’ve got this. The truth is I really need help…

A story I tell myself is I need more time. The truth is I need less stuff that I think I need to do…

A story I tell myself is I deserve the best of everything. The truth is that I need very little, but wanting for abundance is okay…

A story I tell myself is I have to keep my foot on the gas pedal all the time to get ahead. The truth is I need to take my foot off the pedal a bit more often than I do…

A story I tell myself is that you have to take charge of the situation to get what you want. The truth is that the current of life already knows all the answers

A story I tell myself is that my stories aren’t really that interesting or exciting to others. The truth is that they are remarkable and inspiring…

A story I tell myself is that if they would just listen to me that eventually they’ll understand me. The truth is that I need to do a better job of listening to them so I can better understand myself…

I invite you to try your own list. Set a timer and keep it to five minutes. You never know what you might learn about yourself in the process. I can’t wait to figure out what I’ve learned about myself…




About Jim Herbert

I've been wanting to write my whole life. By age 45 it had amounted to nothing more than a storage locker of half full journals and a lot of unfulfilled dreams. Then Paris in the fall of 2011 happened. It was the catalyst I needed to consistently blog. At first I had a hard time hitting the publish button, but now two blog sites and over 300 posts later I'm hitting my stride. I'm also a budding speech writer. I've recently been heavily involved in the Chicago Storytelling scene and have also won the Chicago Toastmasters Area 66 International Speech Contest. Check out our website at www.emergingintojoy.com for more details about the amazing things that are happening in my life. A book or two are nearing completion. With another Paris trip on tap for Easter of 2015 I can only imagine that there are Infinite Possibilities on the horizon!!!
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