May 18 2012
An old idea, revisited.
I happen to be friends with a lot of crazy people, myself included.
For a few years, I was on medication, and in those 5 years I got a great job and income, a girlfriend, sex, and other frills. I drove a nice car, had a nice home, friends and a social life.
All was good, and then I stopped the meds. Lost pretty much all of it, and am building back. Hit my own almost middle class rock bottom a few times, but was never homeless, and I’ve never been in official trouble.
I do have stories.
During this period, I developed some solutions, ideas and philosophies that have assisted me in self managing my obsession, depression, A.D.D and social issues.
I have come up with several ideas that worked for me, and I have pride in their value to others. I have friends who I now look at with an expanded imagination, and I diagnose with symptoms I recognize.
I have a dream of profiting from these ideas some day, either in the form of a book, or whatever replaces that medium, or a church – yes, for real, or just recognition that in some ways, makes me rich enough to affiord being famous.
I am terrified of fame without money, because you need somewhere to hide, and control the madness. Famous and poor is a bad combination.
Today I will overview the main concept.
The greatest invention of all time was church.
The worst invention of all time was religion. It was a good idea, with good intentions, but it was designed wrong, before travel existed. Religion only works when you’re the only one. The moment we could travel to the next town, and they had a different answer, you had to kill them or convert them. Religion became something to win. To compete.
In any case, in my world view – all are welcome. All are praised.
“Our entire existence, past, present and future – is just the stories we’re told, and the stories we’ll tell”
I believe our brain remembers stories better than it remembers events. We lose our memory of what actually happened, replaced by the memories of the story we tell.
When you understand that everything is just a story, your view of the woreld can change.
All of history is stories.
The Christian Bible is a book of stories.
If you think of your group of friends, or all the people you know, the ones that pop up first are the ones who tell the best stories, or the stories closest to you.
You may even start thinking of stories as your memory guides through the people you know and love.
We identify people by the stories we’ve told.
The successful people in the world are all good story tellers. They network and make you feel comfortable with their stories. You trust them more when they’ve shared.
Those who don’t tell good stories are the ones doing the heavy lifting, and the math and organization.
Stories are everything.
When they said “the pen is mightier than the sword” they certainly did not refer to the pen itself, and it’s stabbing power. Stories are the rulers of the world.
TRUTH IS IRRELIVANT
STORIES ARE OUR TRUTH.
This is a harsh statement, but a true one. All we know of history and our past are the stories we are told. We even freely admit they were mostly fiction. From the early Gods, to The Kings and the Egyptians building pyramids, we made most of it up, based on guesses and translations made without consulting anybody who actually knew the language, because they were dead before writing existed.
A LIE IS STILL A STORY
All it takes to change our universe is to tell different stories.
And they’re doing it now.
Regardless of your views on what we know as censorship, the fact is – the Governments try to control the stories. There are nationally accepted stories, and we get most of them from the media, or more modern sources like social media.
There are now more sources sharing stories than there have ever been.
Prime Time TV is losing it’s post as the official story tellers.
Now even 8 year olds have email addresses and cell phones.
Consider this: All we know of our universe are the stories we are told.
And yet – there are real, proven examples, or shit we can’t explain. Things that defy the logic order of the Universe… or so the stories go.
If people really could move glasses across a table with their minds, or predict the future in any way, then there are gaps in our understanding of the universe. Stories as of yet untold.
That doesn’t mean people don’t know. They’re just not ready to share yet.
Religion has closed the minds to some people, intentionally with good intentions when there was only one official story. But the option for education and change was in-bred as wrong. God can not error, so there is no change. No growth.
If there are stories that change our understanding of the universe, and there is No God – or perhaps worse, there is a proven God and it’s not “ours”… then earth will suffer some tragedy. People have not given up on the day 1 issue with religion. If I am write, you must be wrong. I need to convert you. I need to show you, I’m right and you’re wrong.
In my universe, our Church provides community. All the good things a Church can be, without the officially sanctioned hatred, inflexibility, and bigotry.
The Church of Stories welcome people to browse our library of fictional stories, or real life experiences, shared by our followers. You are welcome to create your own religion origin story and build a church, or choose from the available writings and become a fan.
I have my own, and it actually has answers for some of our universal questions. I made it up, but it works. I don’t say it’s true, and you’re free to build upon it, or follow.
Learning to tell a better story, is a key to success and change.
Let me tell a brief one, as a personal example. With my girlfriend’s help, and anti-obsession medication, early in my days after leaving retail sales, I created a business with four employees. We ran an onsite computer service company, that sent young men out to people’s homes, and installed their first Internet software and hardware. Under contract to one of Toronto’s best success stories of early Internet, we were the only ones actually helping people get online, with face to face, in home tutorials.
I had a training session with these young technicians, many of whom were real nerds and maybe even stereotypically a bit geeky-socially awkward. They were very typically when you may imagine for early 90’s onsite computer technicians would be, before NERDS ON SITE, or THE GEEK SQUAD existed.
I surprised them, by starting with the power of stories. I advised them to walk into the home when invited, scan around the room with your eyes, and when you spot something that looks like it may have a story attached to it, comment, and ask outright if you could hear the story about that object. It may be art, or a lamp, or a couch, or a photo on the wall. It could even be just the decoration of the room, or the house itself in a pinch.
Most people say; oh what a lovely house, and it ends there.
The customer is expecting you to ask where the computer is, and start working, but instead – you get to witness their face light up, and the joy they experience remembering a story, and retelling it.
It is an honour to listen, and a gift you’ve given them.
Stories can make us feel good. We smile. They smile.
When you have given the gift of a story to a stranger, you are now a friend. They have shared, and if you’ve interacted well, and actually listened enough to prove it with questions and interaction, then a trust is built – just like that.
If you created smiles, and they retold a story or two, you become a part of that memory. The next time they tell that story, they may even be reminded of you.
From that moment on, if you’ve done it well, they may become a customer for life, and what you actually do on the computer Is secondary.
In my case, we were teaching these people, ranging from 20 to 70. They listened more. A respect was made and they bonded.
I will admit that not all my nerds could pull it off. Some of them returned to me, and were shocked and amazed at the difference it made. It turned a computer techie appointment into a social meeting.
If they ever called back, they got the same technician – every time.
Today, as I near my 50th year, and 20th in this business, I have some of the same customers still. I’ve been to weddings, Christmas parties, and even conventions in other cities with these people. Some are my good friends.
All because I either told good stories, or allowed them to.
One of the other examples I have, using stories to change your life, refers to personal grief, or depression, or even embarrassment. It could be called a trick, but it is part of the overall philosophy.
Everything we are, are the stories we tell.
As mentioned, I believe that we remember stories more than we remember life. Knowing this is important, because it means we can control what memories we take with us through our lives.
We tell our own stories.
Everything I am, is the story I tell.
All it takes to change myself, is to tell a different story.
It takes a bit of time to grasp the depth of this truth.
My mother was one of those people, that always told the negative story. No matter what joyous event took place, the stories she told later, to friends and family was always less than glorious. She would highlight the negative, and rather than explain the good parts, she’d swell on why it wasn’t perfect.
TV and real life have shown us this was common. A generation of grumpy people who frown more than they smile, and always have a reason to not be happy.
They live next to other people, who smile a lot, and tell stories of the exact same life, but leaving out the negative. I remember my trip to Bahamas, not the diarrhea.
In my adulthood, somebody pointed this out to me, and my head almost exploded. A new story that made sense. My mother was not a bad person. She just wasn’t a happy person, and when she was happy, she’d invariably spoil it with a zinger of negativity. “I love your hat. I never have to nerve to shop in thrift stores”
When I discovered this was mirrored in me, through 19 years of teaching, it affected me. My philosophy of stories made sense. I started telling the happy stories, and became happy.
Years of experience in one way, changed overnight.
In truth, I struggle this battle every day, and am still often a devils advocate of doom without being asked.
My mind just wanders to all aspects of a situation, and often verbalizes the WHAT IF of buzzkill fame.
But I know this, and am working on it.
I discovered that it was far easier to teach and preach this new found philosophy to others, because I was now open to observe this behaviour in many, and wanted to share my success of happiness.
I made a new rule, and convinced all my close friends to follow it. Never tell me my mood. Never say; you seem grumpy today, or why are you so down?
The rule is: I am happy. Things are good, and even when they’re not, they’re better than they could be.
It works. It surprised me at first, but stories are truth, and our brain is conditioned to believe it.
The trick I started to tell, before being distracted by other stories and excitement, is actually a simple one.
Once we have accepted the facts that knowledge is story based, and memories can be manipulated, we have a new power.
We can’t deny that our bad moments in life stay with us, but if we scan our memory now for anything in the past that was bad or hurtful or devastating at the time, when we remember the stories, we can see them with a new perspective. We may not cry when we remember our first pet’s death today, but we may remember how we cried at the time.
If we are resolved to this, then it is actually possible to distance ourselves from anything bad happening now, simply by converting it to a story right away.
In life, there is usually a delay between something happening, and the story we tell. We may come home to our spouse, or business partner, or parents and tell the story. We have that time to mentally compose our thoughts, edit the content and retell the story the way we want.
We create history
Our story is true – at least until contradicted.
If we did something bad without witness, then our story becomes truth, regardless of the fact.
If we convert an event, to a story right away, we can imagine it as if being told a week, a month, or years from now.
We can imagine that story, and that feeling – from the future, and whatever happened – is told as the edited version.
The good version.
When people I know are crying, I try to distract them, and sometimes start into this whole philosophy. I ask; imagine this from 5 years in the future, and tell the story of what happened – as you might on that day. We know it will be a different story, but just a story.
We needn’t remember the happening. Life is long and we only have so much we can remember. Let the lesson, or the moral, or the part that Made you smile become the part you take away from this.
I’ll be honest. It usually doesn’t work, beyond the distraction of trying to understand me in your time of sorrow… but it does work for me.
I’m into the power of the story, and I can do it. When I catch myself being negative, I just change the story.
When I’m sad, I think of the people worse off than me, and imagine their story. When living on the street is like, or with one arm.
I think of my story. A single guy living a happy life with a large social network of people I interact with virtually and physically each week. I smile a lot, and laugh every day.
My story is pretty good, when told right. I don’t need to dwell on my debt, my aloneness, or the rust on my used car.
When people ask me about my home, I don’t need to tell them of the bugs or the flood. I love the sunlight, and the sound of kids playing, and how fast I can get to grocery or fast food.
I control my own story.
11:45 on Victoria Day Friday.
I didn’t feel like going to bed at my usual 10. I wanted to tell a story.
This is an unedited version – first draft, typed LIVE as I thought.