Which Story Am I?

I am a fan of small changes that mount up to transform a life. The 5-minute morning meditation. The nightly gratitude review. Small daily practices that shift awareness on any given day and over time wear new grooves in neural pathways. They literally reshape my thinking and my emotions.

I’ve been laying that kind of foundation for a while now. But lately I’ve gotten an itch to go big. It’s time to use what I’ve done so far as a launch pad and take a leap.

In my last post, I listed the questions that help me choose which way to jump:

Who am I? What do I want to do? What parts of myself do I want to grow?

The problem is that when I ask, I get two different answers, two different stories:

I am capable, creative, giving, growing, unstoppable.
I am weakened, fragile, vulnerable to exhaustion and environmental overload.

Book Burning by pcorreia

by pcorreia

Both stories are true. But you know which one I want to live going forward, and which I want to pull out by the roots and throw on a bonfire.

After 5 years of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome plus 3 more years of variable health since, I’ve gotten pretty adept at dealing with limited energy on any given day. But for the rest of my life? I can’t accept that. I CAN’T. Desperation rises in my chest and I want to yell and jump up and DO SOMETHING. NOW!

That’s the kind of passion you can get from looking your questions and answers straight in the eye. The kind that makes you know you must write the story of your life, not just accept whatever unfolds.

So…if I were capable, creative, giving, growing, unstoppable, what would I do?

1. I’d formulate a plan.

2. Tell myself the story again (“capable, creative, giving, growing, unstoppable”).

3. Execute the plan.

4. Tell myself the story, and how I’m making it come true, again.

5. Execute. Story. Execute. Story.

Bit by bit, I live the story more hours every day. (Fake it till you make it is a tried and true method.) Will I eradicate chemical sensitivity and energy ebbs from my life? I can’t know until I try (again). But whatever I accomplish, my life will be Bigger than it is today.

That’s motivation, baby.

Books by Kenny Louie

by Kenny Louie

If you want to change your life, find your story–the one that makes your heart sing, the one you cannot live without. Your goals will naturally align to that focus. To stick with your goals when it would be easier to fall back into old habits, tell yourself your story to remember why what you’re doing matters. How it’s changing your life. How it’s changing you.

I don’t know about you, but I can’t wait to get started.

Grow Your Heart. Live Big!


photo by Pink Sherbet PhotographyBig Life Challenge:

What’s your story? What are you doing, large or small, to live the story of your Big Life?


Pssst! If you join the Project, I’ll email you when there’s a new blog post. (Don’t worry–no one else will see your email address.)

15 thoughts on “Which Story Am I?

  1. I’m going to paste this post into my writing program so I see it on my desktop every day. Maybe I can figure out which story I need to apply to my life. At least it’s not having to choose a book already written, which is what I thought when I read the title (I was going to pick ‘The Monster at the End of this Book’-Grover from Sesame Street…glad I don’t have too, lolol).

    Now you’re going to think I’m nuts, but here goes nothing. For about two years after my accident, I was on Ritalin, which also helps extreme exhaustion. When I had to stop taking it, I panicked and did a lot of research because I could barely keep my eyes open without the prescription.

    I don’t know if I have chronic fatigue, or if I’m just chronically fatigued because of the other things going on with me, but I knew I needed something…and I found a few things that work.

    I started off small, but am now up to 5 grams of vitamin C every day. I will continue to increase that dose because it seriously works within an hour to make me more alert. I also take two-500 mcg sublingual B12′s every day.

    And…this sounds really disgusting…a tablespoon of organic expeller pressed (or extra virgin) coconut oil at least once a day. You would be stunned at the level of mental alertness that taking this causes. (if you want to try it, let me know and I can tell you the easiest ways to get it down)

    Lastly, when I’m trying to be really good, I limit my carbs to 40 or fewer per meal and snack. If I don’t, without fail, I ‘crash’ within an hour after eating. And I mean to the point where I can hardly keep my eyes open. Although I’ve found that a little chromium picolinate with ONE meal helps a little.

    So there you have my little secrets to functioning more like a normal human being. :)

    • I’m a big believer in that Oscar Wilde quote: “Be yourself. Everyone else is already taken.” No choosing your story from the shelf around here!

      Thanks for caring enough to share what works for you health-wise, Kristy. Being a functional human being is a worthy goal! I don’t talk much here about the specifics of my health, but I have found that a huge number of people are working hard to recover their health. People’s awareness of supplements, stress-reduction methods, etc. has really shot up in the last 10 – 20 years. We’ll know much more in another 10 years–but I hope you and I don’t have to personally follow health news quite so closely by then!

      In the spirit of reciprocal support–or perhaps mutual confession–here’s what I take now: 8+ grams of C a day, lots of B supplements, ATP, creatine, l-theanine, other amino acids, iron, D complex, alpha-lipoic acid, CoQ10, chelated iron, minerals, selenium, DHEA, pregnenolone, cortisol adaptogens, and more. I take Armour thyroid instead of synthetic. Thyroid and cortisol are big deals for me.

      I eat mostly whole foods that I prepare rather than pre-packaged stuff, and I don’t eat gluten or dairy. That knocks out lots of carbs and toxins. I use coconut oil like butter on toast, and with pecans on baked sweet potatoes. To me, it smells like heaven and tastes delicious. (But it’s not good cold, like in smoothies.)

      When I can do it, getting enough sleep makes a big difference for me. I have rituals to calm down and get sleepy–very important because afternoon and night are my “on” times. Seeing people, hugging, laughing, and otherwise feeling connected lifts me like nothing else. Oh, and dancing. Music and dancing make me feel fully alive!

      The things I do now have brought my health back a long way–but not yet as far as I want. Like I said, I’m making some big changes this year–more on that next post. Good luck on your green drink program! XO

      • LOL…so you already know about some of this stuff…and more. I’m going to have to check into those things. And maybe talk to my doctor again about Armour. I told her that’s what I wanted after doing some research, but she scared me out of it. So now I’m stuck with Synthroid.

        I’ll have to try your toast and sweet potato suggestions. I tried it a couple of ways but got to the place where I just keep it on my desk so it’s semi-solid (REALLY solid in the winter!), scoop out a tablespoon, tip my head back and swallow it fast. Makes me gag a little every time, but I’m not getting any extra calories with it that way. :)

        • I’ve tried a few things in my day, Kristy. ;-) If you’re happy w/ Synthroid, it might not be worth it to change to Armour. I really hate hormone adjustment periods.

          I am all about making food more palatable, less gagful. I’m convinced it digests better if I enjoy it. Let me know if you find something more enjoyable to do w/ coconut oil!

  2. Shelly, you rock!!Your energy is so positive and radiant and I am soaking it all up. My story is exactly what I am working on and this post said it all. Just this AM, I was feeling what I call “puny”- happens in cycles due to chemotherapy-induced cardiomyopathy- I get lightheaded and weak. I usually sit in the recliner with my feet up for a while and drink a bottle of water. I decided to tell myself what I really needed to do was go to Zumba/toning class rather than cave into the wimpy feeling. And I did and it worked :-) I do not have to be defined by my medical condition. Loved your mantra ” I am capable, creative…” rather than “I am weakened,fragile…” Sometimes I do have to cave into it but other times, like today, I can change my story. It’s great to have you back and I look forward to sharing in the journey.

    • So many people are dealing with health issues, as Kristy and you have commented. Reclaiming the greatest strength we can while being compassionate to ourselves when we can’t is a great challenge–and a great opportunity. I’m so glad you’re finding ways to push back! I share your frustration and disappointment with the times we are stuck in a chair, and I feel your exuberance for overcoming today! Thanks for sharing this part of your story here! XO

  3. Cheering you on, Shell! This intention sounds very powerful to me. One of the techniques I have learned in recent years involves using self-generated ceremony to anchor intentions. You are 1/3 of the way there already. Ceremony, the way I would have come to understand it, combines a clear statement of intention (which speaks to the intellect / mind), a spiritual invocation (asking / inviting spirit in to support the intention which speaks to the spiritual / mystical aspect of our being) and symbolic movement (is there a dance or a creative movement that you can design that goes with / embodies the statement, “I am capable, creative, giving, growing, and unstoppable”? I am convinced that ceremonies of our own design are the deepest way to speak to all of who we are and get aligned on who we are and where we’re going. I would be SO happy to be a collaborator or witness if this sounds fun! xoxo

    • Oooooh, that sounds interesting! I have done all 3 of those steps, but not combined in a ritualized form. I imagine you are swamped with flashmob prep until 1/14, but I’d love to play together and build something cool when you have pulled off your masterpiece. I am mindful you have a big event in February, too. Perhaps between those two dates? :-D

  4. Ahh, your comments are so timely. I have been unwell just this year and struggling with some elusive something. I have passion for my work and my family, but I am so tired. I saved a life this week–maybe twice, the same one. It’s good work, just too much of it. Today I had the lab appointment, blood drawn to see if I have the family genetics and flaw. Just in case, I have eaten a fresh pomegranate every day for the last 30 days, and now I crave them. The juice isn’t the same. It’s something in the seeds and peel that I need, so I must have the fresh fruit. And I bought arugula. It tastes terrible, but now I crave it, too. The arugula marks a small but important change for me, like the sort you describe. My friend Sandy says every cancer has it’s diet. Maybe every fatigue does, too.

    • Debbie, thanks for stopping by!

      I can’t imagine how amazing it must feel to save a life. But I know just how it feels to have fatigue leech your joy and ability to do all you desire. It’s intolerable–except you’re so darned tired, you can’t always fight it.

      But food is powerful, and so is intention. Doing things to take care of yourself amid the demands of family and work and life in general is an important shift. Who knew arugula could change one’s life? ;-)

      Are pomegranates and arugula part of the family wisdom for combatting the genetic flaw, or how did you know to eat them? I really like arugula, and I’ve wondered if that’s because it contains alpha-lipoic acid. (I especially like it fresh from my back yard, before it gets old and bitter. Must plant some in my container garden later this month.)

      I hope the lab results bring good, useful news! Virtual hugs to you, my friend.

    • Debbie, you inspired me! I went out and planted my mini-winter garden of aurugula, lettuces, mustard greens, and bok choi. In another 10 days or so, sprouts will appear. Very excited!

  5. I’m going to take this a step back. I thought I had my story, which I saw as one of Big Happy Change, but it turns out I was reading the wrong book. I read a travel guide when I should have read a biography. I also ignored what was written between the lines. We have instinct for a purpose, and we are imperiled by ignoring it, as I ignored those warning words that would briefly appear amid the official version I was so sure was the correct one. A plan is a great thing and I’ve always had one. But I’m purposely not having one now because the last one so lovingly and successfully pursued also toppled my Tinker Toy tower, leaving me in a disarray of sticks and wheels and pieces. Instead of planning to build another tower, I’m going to snap the fragments back together, however they fit, and see what materializes. If I don’t like it, I’ll rearrange the pieces until I do. So perhaps that is my story, my plan. Like you, I would not have chosen this part of the story for myself, but I’m going to keep turning the pages, and try to read more thoughtfully this time around.

    • Linda, it sounds like you’re making meaning (a.k.a. story) out of where you’ve been as well as where you’re headed. For a long time, my mantra was, “whether or not this happened ‘for the best,’ I will darn sure take the best I can from it–by force if necessary.” Sometimes my smile had a bitter edge, but mostly this attitude focused my determination to salvage whatever learnings and gifts I could from a situation.

      I identify with your determination to keep building, seeking a new vision while also keeping tabs on where you’re putting your feet with each step–a practical combination. Take what you can, build the next installment, and do it all over again. Vision will evolve when you’re ready (and maybe even if you’re not). Fair travels and happy writing / reading to you!

      • Shelly, how right you are! I’ve finally made it past the stage of the bitter-edged smile, which was painful to wear. I feel like I’m actually going Somewhere instead of constantly running in place in a bad dream.

        • If we were on Google+, I’d hit the mythical “+100″ button on your comment, Linda. It feels so very good to move past walking stiff with wounds, to the next stage where you begin to limber up for new possibilities. Very happy for you!