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Everyone has a story. Stories are one thing in life that are both free and enjoyable to me. I am fascinated by the events described and also the way in which the stories are told. Everyone has a story. We all tell them in different ways.

Not everyone has a blog and not everyone goes around telling their history. When a friend or stranger takes the time to speak with me, it makes me better able to understand something more about life. Not only their lives, but my life. The life that pulses through the universe, though the stories are not always universal. These stories are a gift.

If one listens carefully, one is able to distinguish two types of people in the world. Those that react to life and those that create life. There are those that use what life has placed before them to create more life. Also, there are those that defend themselves from what life has hurled at them. Usually, stories are told from either fear or possibility.

There is nothing wrong with either way of telling a story. What I hear more than descriptions of happenings, is the mindset of the storyteller. Some describe these storytellers as either positive or negative, but what I know is that there is something to learn from everyone. Everyone knows more about something than I will ever know.

While I discriminate and filter what I am able to use from each story, each story teaches something. Even if events are remembered inaccurately, the stories matter. It helps me to hear them and it helps those telling the stories. The hearing of stories is as good for those telling a story as it is for the ones hearing a story. This is how we connect, build deeper relationships, and develop trust.

Upon hearing stories of tragedy, I am often compelled to help. Sometimes I am able and sometimes I am not. Upon hearing stories of hope or gratitude, I am tempted to encourage hope and gratitude. Sometimes I am able and sometimes I am not. Whatever I hear, the struggle for me becomes how much to participate in the story I have just heard. Will I let it turn over in my mind or will I let it float into the ether?

Our decisions to consider the thoughts for a time, or dismiss them, says more about where we are in life than anything else. What we latch onto, or what we let go, in any moment, teaches us what we need to focus on in our own lives. Even the songs we listen to, or the books we read, or the shows we watch on television, speak to where we are spiritually, mentally, and physically. Stories, in song, print, or media, teach us before we ever set out to learn.

Another teacher is silence. Still another is pacifism in all senses (not just the rejection of war). Non-action is, at times, the most powerful action for a situation. What we find in silence, is often what we need, to carry us through the busier times in our lives. When we do not react to a situation, we find we are better able to help a situation. This is often the strictest of all our teachers, and for me, is the hardest class to pass.

Still, there are the stories of those that see possibility and those that do not. Those that see possibility are almost excited to speak of their choices because there were so many options. Stories without possibility describe choices made, as “the only thing I could have done”, or in ways that describe the unfairness of a situation. Possibility believers seem eager for the next experience, while those without a vision for possibility, seem to dread the same miserable options tomorrow.

We tell our stories in our heads all the time. There is a voice within us, that is not the real “us”, that repeats songs, stories, and commentary. Often, we do not realize what this voice is saying, until we react to a situation, based on the loop playing in our minds. If we just discovered we owed back taxes, we might react differently to one asking for food, than if we had just received a promotion at work. It is the same with our mental attitude. If we are hearing positive feedback in our mind, we will react to life differently than if we keep replaying the sorrows of the world.

There are three simple ways to combat the struggle to see the positive in our lives.

Be grateful for real things, in a real way. For whatever is real, be grateful. Not things as compared to what others may, or may not have, but for what is real in our lives right now. Simple things that are building blocks for anything, and everything, we might like to do in, and for, the world.

Compliment everyone. Everyone has some redeeming quality. Possibility exists in everyone, even if they are unaware. Even if we are unaware. We are helped when we take the time to encourage those we meet or interact with, on any given day. And circling back to the first offering of advice, each day is given. We would do well to accept the gift rather than bemoan its being offered.

Create something. Anything. Even if we believe we are not artistic, make the faces of others your canvas and create smiles. Write notes of gratitude, filled with compliments (notice how I got back to the first two suggestions), or create images of love flowing to those around you in your mind. We are creators more than we believe.

I know so little about life. I am no guru. Any lessons I teach are taught incidentally, accidentally, and without a belief that I have one answer that will solve any problem. But as a child of peace and possibility, I understand, that one smile a day will suffice for a mission and purpose in the world. There are times that I am not peaceful, and times when possibilities for me are anything but endless, but the days start with intentional thoughts of love and the days end with expressions of gratitude. This, for me, is enough.

You may be in a different place than me, both physically and mentally. This may be only exciting for me. If you find these words, I have dreamed a good dream for you. One of peace, love, and happiness. And why not? Who can say this is not possible? My hope is that you have everything you need and all that you want.

Happy Sunday.

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Author: Kevin Thompson

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