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As I pull out of my neighborhood, I see the flag at half staff.  I’m reminded of what’s happening in our country, in the world, and probably, on some level, right next door.  I can hear my own mind gathering up the “shoulds” and “should nots”, as if I know what’s best.  The truth is, no matter what’s happening or what’s happened, the finger pointing won’t get us anywhere.   Whose to blame, won’t get us anywhere.  The only thing that will sail us through these murky waters is the ship of “WHAT NOW”.   

The story about “what matters”, about “rights”, and about “blame” , is on going for me.  It is my struggle, not so much on the global scale, but on a personal one, which in turn becomes a global one doesn’t it?   What hurts one, hurts all in the end.   How I judge at home effects the people I live with and they effect the people they see in the line at Starbucks and those people effect the people they deal with at work and those people …. on and on and on, until the whole world feels the ripple of my judgement, my one little judgement.   Some of the most deadly bullets fire from the oldest most powerful weapon on the face of the earth, the tongue, which gathers it’s ideas from the mind. 

How I love the people closest to me is the most effective way I can love the people I don’t even know.   Recently, while listening to one of my all time favorites, Byron Katie, I heard her say, “when you stop doing to them what you want them to stop doing to you, then we can talk.”   At first I thought , how is that possible.  I’m saying, “I don’t want to be judged.”   Almost as if she could read my mind, the next phrase out of her mouth (to a participant in her workshop) was, “you don’t want them to judge you, well then stop judging them.  You judge their judgement of you.”   

It’s a never ending story, happens to me every time.  “Any time I am disturbed, invariably there is some thing wrong with me.”   The problem, no matter what it is, starts with me.  But here’s the good news, I’m the only one I can change, so the problem can change with me to.  I have to find myself in the story I’m believing. 

If the story is about how everybody has wronged me, then I’m in the center of the story sitting in the victim chair. I can get up out of that chair any time I want to.  If the story is how every one needs to change, then I’m in the judgement chair.   If the story is dark and filtered with impending doom, having me running from all sorts of wild ideas about the wreckage of the future, then I’m in the fear chair.  And so it goes.   Whatever the story is, I have to find out what part I’m playing, because I am always playing a part.  I only stop playing a part in the story of life when I’m no longer in the story of life, which would mean I wasn’t actually alive.  That being said, if I’m living, I’m apart of it, the solution and the problem.  Rather than continuing to blame, peace comes for me, when I find myself, my part, my change, in the story and get to the business of me and God.  Love comes for me when I figure out my part.   And when love comes for me, it starts to come through me and then it touches the person I live with or that I pass in line at the grocery store and they pass it to someone else, and so on and so on, until it goes from Tennessee to China.  Suddenly we are spreading the cure, rather than the dis-ease. 

If you want to change something, change the story.  There are only two of them, the Fear Story (also known as the Hate Story) and the Love Story.   You can be apart of either one, just depends on what matters most to you.   

For me, I have to be apart of the Love Story.  I have to.  If I’m not, if I live in the Fear Story for more than about five minutes, my sinus starts to hurt.  I get a head ache.  I’m nasty to someone who didn’t go fast enough at a green light.  I miss the miracle of my babies.  I judge the hell out of people I love.   The anxiety starts brewing and before long it’s panic.  Then, I’m at my therapist, praying for relief, and suddenly willing to do anything to feel better.  That’s just far too much work and way to much crazy.   If I stay with the Love Story it saves me time, money, and a sinus headache.  If I stay with the Love Story, I have peace.  If I stay with the Love Story long enough, Love starts flowing through me and I’m healed of the ridiculous idea that there is any other story worth any of my time. IMG_1479