I am indebted to Cathy Elliott who inspired this conversation.
Try this on for size: there's what is ... and then there's the story.
Period. And that's all there is. Be careful: I don't say
that like it's "The Truth" (and it may be). Rather it's a
place to stand and look. That's a pivotal, essential
distinction of transformation. This distinction, when fully gotten,
also translates to a pivotal, essential experience of
transformation. The space of who we really are in which we stand,
includes all there is - like a possibility. Whatever occurs in
the space of who we really are (ie all there is) is what's
so ... and then there's whatever we make up
about what's so ie then there's our story about what is. Hence:
"What is, and the story".
Simple. Elegant. Succinct. Terse.
Here's an almost classic defintion of being un-transformed (or
better, an almost a classic definition of being
pre-transformed): it's being hesitant to differentiate between
what is, and the story about what is. To the untransformed mind, the
story (which is to say our story) doesn't occur for us as
something made up. Rather it occurs for us as "The Truth". In other
words, to the untransformed mind, our story about what is, is what
is. See, the untransformed mind doesn't distinguish
In terms of the way we ordinarily live our lives (or better, in terms
of the way we pre-extra-ordinarily live our lives) defined by
blame, shame, (mis)interpretation, and guilt, living this distinction /
experience is akin to migrating from the minor leagues to the majors.
It's not a matter of becoming a "better" person to live it ie to take
it on and to be responsible for it. The altruistic approach doesn't
work here - more than that, it's not required. What's required for me
is to bring about (or at least to recognize) a contextual
shift in the way the world occurs for me, in order to live it
ie in order to take it on and to be responsible for my experience of
Although a certain stretch may be required to totally get
this distinction, this isn't an intellectual endeavor.
It's waaay simpler than that. In fact if you're trying to
understand it, figure it out etc ie if you still have one or more of
the noble "Yeah but ..."s, "How 'bout ...?"s,
and "What if ...?"s going on, just stop: they'll only get
in your way. Rather try it on as a place to stand. I mean that
literally, physically. That's how you get this: as a place to
stand. Stand (and for this exercise, wherever you stand is OK - this is
"stand" not "stand for"), then look - just ... look.
Distinguish there's that which is front of you (what is), and then
there's whatever you've made up about it (the story). And for the most
part, you don't have to try very hard to hear the story: it's probably
deafening around about now. Listen: that voice in your
head? It's the world's greatest storyteller, putting even Hans
Christian Andersen and the Brothers Grimm to shame (at least when we're
reading Hans Christian Andersen and the Brothers Grimm, we
know it's a fairy tale ...). Standing in the space of who
I am, in front of me is what is ... and then there's the story. It's an
exquisite place to stand. And the profundity of it is it's all there
Transformation however, isn't a static state. Rather it's the
beginning of something. Where this gets interesting for me
is realizing I'm the author of whatever story there is on top of what
is, the owning of which empowers and reminds me that if I'm going to
create stories at all (and I do seem to be a story-creating-machine),
then it behooves me to create empowering and
inspiring stories which are actually worth living, for the
future. That's what it is to live a created, transformed life. And
living a transformed life starts with being willing to differentiate
between what is, and the story.