“Silence is essential. We need silence, just as we need air, just as much as plants need light. If our minds are crowded with words and thoughts, there is no space for us.” Thich Nhat Hanh, Vietnamese Buddhist monk 

Hmmm! How often are we able to clear our minds of thoughts and words? What stories do we continue to create, change, and continue? Does our ability to quiet our thoughts really help? I have to say, “Yes, it does!” I find that when my thoughts are quiet answers come more easily. When they aren’t I find that I second guess myself and play ‘what ifs’ until I drive myself crazy. Has this happened to you?

So, I agree with Thich Nhat Hanh’s perspective that we need silence – a space for us. Without this space I experience ‘writers block’. It can be frustrating. How much does our ability to create and tell stories contribute to these blocks and affect our happiness? I’ve been reflecting on this lately. I think of the places that I feel happy in; the beach, the red rocks of Sedona, and my home for example. And yet, as I sit with it more I realize that my happiest place is found within me. It doesn’t matter where I am! My writers block can occur in any one of these places! “Is this block a story I tell myself?” I ask, “Is it why I don’t feel inspired to write?” 

I realize that I am a storyteller! My best audience is me!! I’m not judging myself, rather, I’m accepting that this a  part of who I am. Carol Birch, English novelist and lecturer reminds us that, “Storytelling strengthens the imagination. To imagine is to envision, to see with the inward eye. This ability to imagine is the basis of all creativity. Creativity is being able to see beyond what is readily apparent. It is seeing a new answer to an old problem.” Perhaps the better questions to ask myself are, “Are these just stories that are blocking my creativity and imagination? When was the last time I consciously created space for myself to quiet my thoughts and words racing around in my head? Is it time to visit one of my happy places or take a few moments, close my eyes, and breathe deeply in and out, until my thoughts quiet and words clear from my mind?” Yes!! I don’t have to go anywhere else but here!

Our stories are a big part of who we are and we can change them anytime, can’t we? Will changing them make you happy? If the answer is yes, then go for it! Dr. Pamela Rutledge, Media psychologist – social scientist, tells us that, “Stories are how we think. They are how we make meaning of life. Call them schemes, scripts, cognitive maps, mental models, metaphors, or narratives. Stories are how we explain how things work, how we make decisions, how we justify our decisions, how we persuade others, how we understand our place in the world, create our identities, and define and teach social values.” 

Many of our stories make us feel good and we feel happy! In the quiet moments where our words and thoughts are silent we can realize that we are much more than our stories. When that happens we also realize that being happy is ours to create and can happen anywhere! Happiness and stories that we create and hold are intertwined and it’s up to each one of us to decide whether we want to change or not. I ask, “Am I ready to venture beyond my self imposed limitations and boundaries? Am I willing to color outside of the lines, so to speak? Maybe. Sometimes. Yes. No. How about you?

Sending lots of love to each one of you!

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