Stories That Work
A number of people who read early drafts of Change Your Story, Change Your Life, have been putting Story Principle to work in their lives in both small and large ways and sending reports of their success
(Parking spaces, lost things, traffic, cars, finding the right thing at the right time and price)
From S.G., a barrister in Australia:
The CAR PARKS story reigns again. Three times today we had to park in sticky places where there is (ahem) never any parking. THREE TIMES Meg [six year old daughter] and I told the story we would find car parks, and did. Twice outside the front door of the hospital (no joke - less than 20 meters from the main entrance, BOTH TIMES, and this is a busy hospital - nightmare parking zone!) and the other time was in Errol Street in North Melbourne on a Friday night, which is (ahem ahem) just NOT somewhere that anyone even bothers trying to park. Well. Three times. Thank you very much.
I took Rick [ten year old son] to the hospital to see Mum today. I said as we approached, "Could you think me up a car spot please?" and he huffed and said "You CAN'T do that, it's just you and Meg being silly." So of course there was no spot at all. So I drove around the block and said, "Listen here, Mr. Skeptic, I actually need a car spot. Shut your eyes and believe there will be one PLEASE." So he did, and there was, and he's been giggling ever since.
From H. O., Washington DC area lawyer:
Dropped the family off at the airport, in two vans, early this morning. Halfway home, got a call from my sister Mary: her son didn't have his backpack, which meant two weeks without Blue Dog. Searched both vans; no backpack. My husband told me to go home and he'd go to Mary's and look, and even drove back the long way by our house and gesticulated for me to stop there. I followed him anyway.
We got into Mary's; he was most annoyed at me, and ready to stop looking when it wasn't in the living room or the boy's bedroom. I made a beeline for Mary's room, and found it in their bathroom. He said to go home then. Instead, I got into his van with him.
We hit completely stopped traffic on the parkway; he told me to call and say we probably wouldn't make it in time. I Storied that it would quickly clear up. (I've been having extremely good luck with traffic. In particular, when I stop concentrating it sometimes clogs again, and then I talk to it and it clears...)
It cleared, we sailed into the airport, and because I was there we didn't have to park. I walked it in and handed it to the TSA guy who jumped it to the head of the line for screening and handed it to Mary on the other side of the screening, with 10 minutes to spare before even the first boarding call. So Blue Dog will go to Colorado...
From S.B. in Chicago:
September 14: "Changed my story this morning - it worked! My primary vehicle is in the shop and I am currently driving my backup. My backup vehicle is a workhorse but has its quirks. Such as - when it rains, it won't start. Or it will start eventually - or not. It's a crap shoot. Well last night I'm lying in bed and listening to the rain - all night - and thinking - oh crap, I am driving the van - how am I going to get to work? Continuing to think to myself, well maybe it will stop raining before I have to leave. When I got up it was pouring!! I stopped myself from going into thinking - oh great, now what am I going to do. I thought - no, I am going to change my story. My story is going to be - I go out to my van - in the pouring rain - and it starts - no trouble. (It NEVER starts in the rain) I would not allow myself to go into my "I have no way to get to work because my car won't start" story. I refused. I just kept reinforcing my new story. And I'll be darned if when I got into my car it started right up - no problem. I love this new story!!
September 15: "Raining again this morning - started with no trouble again. Amazing!"
From a Grandmother in Maryland:
Not a life-altering event, but I was very pleased tonight with this story that worked.
At the dinner table tonight Madison informs me that she, after all, needs some kind of Halloween costume for tomorrow as it turns out her friend's parents have decided to allow a brief Halloween get together (brief because it is a school night). I am usually pretty good at rummaging around and finding "stuff" to put together a costume, but Madison had to be at karate at 7:30 and there just was not enough time to go through my boxes of "stuff."
As I was parking at the shopping center where her karate classes are held I spied the Rite Aid and decided that her costume was in there and it was not going to cost very much at all. I didn't say anything to her, just dropped her off and told her I needed to do a couple of errands and would be back before her class was over.
When I went in the store and found the aisle that had the Halloween stuff, I faltered a bit. The shelves and racks were almost empty. I looked, however, at the few costumes they had left and there were two that would fit Madison, but I was sure that she would never be caught dead in either of them. I turned around to leave, but stopped to look at a wig, thinking I could maybe throw something together. BUT hanging on the rack near the wig was ONE shirt and ONE pair of leggings that I just knew was meant for Madison. They are skin-tight fitting, skin-toned material that have designs all over. When you put them on it looks like you are tattooed all over. Perfect. And they were on sale 50% off so the entire thing cost me less than $13.00.
She was delighted (and surprised that Grandma was so hip).
Physical Activities/Pain Management
August 30: I'm telling myself the story of having just the right amount of energy to get home on my bicycle. I can picture the uphill bits and see myself working to get up, and having the reward of some flat or down hill at the end of each one, and picturing getting home with a big smile and feeling good about having done it.
September 2: On Thursday I rode home from work. My first trip on the new bicycle in to the city and I really wanted to make it home again on the bike the same day, to tell myself "I can do this". So I set off, got through the hideous city bit with no dramas, and onto the first long straight very slightly up hill stretch which is also quite nasty traffic. It was okay! I went slowly, and was almost ridiculously careful of the traffic, but I felt safe and fine - but quite tired, as expected. Was gradually thinking more and more about whether I'd cope with the last looong very slightly up hill stretch.
But before you get to that, there's a long (much longer than I'd realised until that morning) ride through a basically flat park, along a bike trail. It's really very nice. But there I was, riding along, tired and thinking more and more, "How am I ever going to make it up St George's Road?" And then I remembered Story Principle and I stopped, pulled off the path, sat on the grass with my water bottle, and told myself the story of getting home. Literally just sat there, soaked up the beautiful late afternoon weather, and told myself that I was riding home and enjoying it, and getting tired but happily so, and feeling great about it.
So then I set off again, and suddenly I started to notice things other than my leg muscles. People out walking, riding, pushing prams, throwing frisbees, enjoying the gorgeous sunshine. As though they magically appeared! And when I finally got onto St George's Road, I went very slowly (VERY slowly) in places but I am telling you, I enjoyed every bit of it. Once or twice I found my legs telling me "I can't go any further" and then I just said "sure I can, I am riding home", and I did! In fact when I got home, I sailed right on past our house and went up to Meg's kindergarten, and walked home with her perched up high on my bike seat which she thought was fantastic.
There's no doubt it was very tiring, and I took it very slowly (the home-trip including the stop in the park took close to an hour, and I want it to eventually take 35-40 minutes). But I just feel so GOOD that I now know for sure that I can do it, and the best part for me is, I realized afterwards, that I had known all along I could do it because that's how the story was written.
It was like a big revelation for me, honestly, partly about what I can do physically and partly about what I can do mentally. A real lightning bolt, only gentler. I was on quite a high about it for at least 2 days! So pleasantly strange.
"I have problems with arthritis pain in my left hand, particularly the thumb. All day today it has hurt much more than normal - really throbbing and painful. About three hours ago I was sitting here and it was giving me fits to the point where I thought I would need to go take the mega-medication (that makes me sick to my tummy), but instead I just said in my head, "My left hand is pain free." And I just realized a few minutes ago that it is, and has been for awhile. Thank you Story Principle."
From a retired lawyer:
These are very small things, but Story Principle is working for me!
The first time I used SP was when I was having to have two tooth extractions and was in panic state. I told myself that the novocaine injections wouldn't be unbearable, that I wouldn't feel the extractions and that there wouldn't be any serious complications afterwards. It worked.
The second time, I had to go down to the bank to make a deposit so I wouldn't be overdrawn. Not desirable. It was 77 degrees, way above my comfort level, especially when I'm not feeling well. Also 22 degrees above normal! By the time I got downtown I was panting and sweating, shaky and fearful about passing out and falling, which has happened before. Not good at Story Principle, and this situation was a real challenge, but I told myself I would get home without incident. And I did.
So then I told myself the deposit would be processed the same time as the overdraft amount was permanently entered (the overdraft was in "processing" status) so I wouldn't get a fee that I would have to try getting waived as it's a couple of weeks until I get more $. It worked.
Because of the tooth extractions I've been eating plain mac and cheese and scrambled eggs. I'm tired of them. But I have some small thin steaks that I have to eat or put in the freezer. On the way to putting them in the freezer, I told myself that I could eat one without hurting my mouth. So I cooked one. Hey, I'm eating steak! Okay, so it's cut in bitty pieces and I have to be very careful to avoid the sore areas of my mouth. But it tastes mighty good. So that worked too.
Finally, I tried another one, but it may be too late to get a response because the person may not read her e-mail until Monday. It's a request to waive a fee for a conference that's on Monday. But I'm telling myself that I will get the waiver. Hey, I'm on a roll!
This is still all new for me. I won't use Story Principle for everything I can possibly think of, but be selective (i.e., for something I think is within the realm of possibility - I am a realist, after all) but what I have to say is: this is fun! It makes me feel good!
Message the Following day:
Remember my request to waive the fee for a conference? It's a "leadership summit" on working to reduce poverty. In my e-mail I wrote: "...I'm a recipient rather than a provider of services and as such am interested in plans and ideas to alleviate poverty and what I might be able to do myself to help." Guess what? The person read her e-mail and I got the waiver! SP worked again!
This from L.M., a Reiki Master:
Ernesto hit our beach house area last Friday. We were not warned. The newspaper and radio had "downgraded" the hurricane to a tropical depression with 25 mph winds. Since we had Labor Day weekend plans we moseyed down to the beach house Friday around 1:30PM.
We found huge waves coming over our pier and pretty good wind gusts. It was too late to get the 2 jetskis, skiboat and pontoon boats off the boat lifts. Ben went down to raise up the boat lifts to full height and the electricity shorted out on him. The lifts were stuck about 2 feet short of full boat lift height. He tied the boats down as best as he could and came into the house, where we checked when high tide was due. 9PM it was only 2PM. OMG!
The winds got wilder...eventually getting to a sustained 60mph with wind gusts higher. We saw the community pier (just rebuilt from Isabel 2 years ago) fall apart. We watched a huge boat tied to another pier loosen up and dash onto the rocks, bringing 1/2 its pier with it. I did a lot of Reiki, visualizing my story of our grandchildren playing on the boats with everything intact.
Immediately and impractically, I calmed down, with little voices in my ear saying, "Don't worry!"
Ben was pacing, arms crossed watching the pier and boats. I told him quite seriously and believing it, "Everything's going to be fine, not to worry." He was beyond my words with his concern.
The storm got wilder. We took a walk and met some neighbors, who told us of boats gone and piers shredded further down the street. The neighbor's pier on our right went, then our next door neighbors' embankment. I did more Reiki and was again reassured that everything would be all right. By then, our dock was 2 feet under water with huge waves crashing on the boat lifts and boats. High tide came.
A call from neighbors 4 doors up. One of our jetskis had come up onto their backyard grass and they hauled it up safely. It was the ONLY grassy lawn; any other spot the jetski would have hit rocks, a destroyed pier or a sea wall. (All the seawalls were damaged by then.)
We went to bed being totally unable to see anything in the dark and rain that was coming in horizontally. I woke up at 5AM; the storm had moved on. I could see our other boats were still on the lift - everything intact. The jetski that had come loose and landed on our neighbors' lawn worked fine. Ben actually drove it to our dock. The lifts worked. The pontoon and ski boats both were slightly damaged but nothing major. We used the pontoon boat to travel around the local beaches. Lots of damage with docks down, boats on rocks or upside down, sea walls gone. We saw that my husband's friend had lost his newly rebuilt pier, (previously destroyed in hurricane Isabel) and his new boat was high on the rocks - destroyed - and a lot of his yard was gone. Reiki and Story Principle, working together.
Buying and Selling - Cars and Houses
A California teacher friend intended to buy a camper and needed to sell her truck first. To "document" her story, she sent the following e-mail to herself:
"This is your message. Your truck will sell before Jan 13, and you will order your new chalet that week. You'll get at least $8000 for the truck and all will be well with the remaining cost. The right buyer will appear and the truck will be a blessing to him/her as much as selling it will be to you.
"All is well, all is well, all manner of things will be well. Money is coming to you easily and effortlessly. Easily, effortlessly, under grace.
"Get what you deserve and desire."
[This was a poster on the wall of the Toyota dealer when I bought my current car in Sept 2005. It was the exact car, color, etc. I wanted.]
On December 15th, she announced this fulfillment of her "documented story."
I took the truck to the place to have it smogged this morning. Picked it up at 1; it had passed with flying colors.
Came home, waited around to call the man who is interested in it at 3:30. He says his wife will be right home, they'll meet me (near my friend's house so I'm not meeting a stranger alone). We meet about 4:45. He test drives with me, we hit it off; his brother is a teacher, too. He notices it pulls to the right, might need alignment. And, as I told him , the tires will need to be replaced before too long. We get back to the meeting place and he says, you have it listed at $9000, are you willing to negotiate? I say, a little. He says will you take $8000? I say that's a little too much negotiation for me. He says again about tires, etc, and I say, well, I think that brings it down from high Blue Book ($9000 and change) but toward the neighborhood of good Blue Book which is $8480. He says will you take $8480? I say yes.
It gets better.
He is already preapproved by his credit union for a loan. It's my credit union. So we discuss how to deal with the situation tomorrow (it's open from 9 to 1). They are going to call me and work out which branch to meet at...one is next door to my school, but there are others in Sacramento near where they live.
I drive away, and am coming home a back way, and my phone rings - it's him. Phone reception drops, I lose him. Brief panic till I get his message five minutes later. The credit union is open until 6, if I have the paperwork we can take care of it tonight.
So I call him and say ok, and he says, We're already on the way up the hill. We meet at the credit union at 5:45, and they can't do the paperwork in the time available, but if we leave copies of title, their insurance, etc, they will do the papers first thing in the morning and we can just show up and sign. So! All I have to do in the morning is drive 5 miles and sign a paper. Yahoo!!!
What a story that worked!
Employment, finances, work
Here is such a perfect example of Story Principle at work about work that I wanted to share.
About a year and a half ago my daughter Jane decided that she could no longer work with Margo, the woman who owned the business where she had worked for about eight years. She and Margo really liked each other, but the woman's management style was pretty heavy handed. So Jane left and took a job elsewhere, taking a drastic cut in pay because it was something she wanted to get into and at that time things were going very well for her husband, whose work is in finance.
Fast forward as the economy slipped and things began to look pretty grim for them’Äîto the point where they were having some problems paying their mortgage. Jane came to me all stressed about a month and a half ago and I told her that she needed to see herself in a work position she really liked, making the kind of money she needs to be making to see them through this rough patch. She was at first negative, but I kept talking to her about Story Principle. Things started to happen.
First her old boss discovered she had to have surgery. In utter panic she called Jane and asked if there was any way she would come back and manage the business until mid-December when her doctor said she would be back on her feet enough to work at least part time. Jane told her other boss she was leaving and was able to take over for Margo the day she had surgery. She hired Jane for this temp assignment at almost twice what she had been paying her before Jane left and it made Jane feel good to know that Margo trusted her to look after things and also that she was able to help out in a time of real need.
Then last week Jane got a call from one of the resumes she had sent out more than two months ago, was interviewed twice, and today they offered her the job making about $15,000 more than the "almost double" salary Margo is paying her to fill in. And they want her to start mid-December, when her agreement with Margo is up.
Lucky coincidence? I think not. Story principle? You betcha.
From a freelance editor:
"I'm working with a woman who is writing a book. We met to talk about it the other day, and she wanted coaching from me because she hadn't been writing. I could hear her asking me to scold her, apply the verbal whip so she'd get with the program.
Instead, I focused on the stories she was telling herself, putting some normative reality around the "getting ready to write" story (her cupboards are clean and sparkly), and identifying the "I can only write if I spend the whole day on it - it takes so long to get into it" story.
I shared with her my swimming story, "I can only swim if I go in the morning" that it took me a year to work through, and my amazement, one day, as I realized, "I can swim later in the morning, I can swim at noon, I can swim in the afternoon... I can even swim in the evening!" We giggled at that.
I also told her that it wasn't in me to scold her, that she wouldn't be getting that from me. I really didn't think she was a bad person. I talked about Story Principle, not in any depth, primarily the notion that we create our own stories and can create what we want vs. living out a prior story. Then, as we were about to leave, I smiled and said, "Your assignment is to email me your new story about writing sometime in the next week." Her jaw dropped, and then she just lit up. I could see it beginning to work already.
Two grandchildren, having gone to different elementary schools, were both hoping to go to a particular alternative middle school, but they each had to win the lottery to do so. I created the story that they would both get in. The chances were against the odds. One or two children in each 5th grade class in the district are chosen for this school by lottery. I went to the school and walked around, to get a clear sense of it. Then I visualized Randy's and Nicole's names winning the lottery. Next, I visualized Randy getting off the school bus and walking into the halls in front of the red lockers. I had some trouble with Nicole. I couldn't get her off her school bus. I tried and tried. Finally, I told my husband. He reminded me that Nicole's mom would be driving her to school, since she drives by the school on the way to work. YES! So I was able to visualize Nicole simply inside the school in front of the red lockers. My story and strong intention was that they both were selected.
And so it was. Randy was the first of the two selected from his school. Nicole was #2 from her school. Actually, it turned out that she was the only one from her school, as #1 was a transfer from being home schooled. There were over 40 children from each school on the waiting list. Story intention, lots of meditation, with clear vision and intent, was the methodology I used. I "knew" Randy was getting in, less so for Nicole, but pretty sure.
A funny thing - the two are sharing a red locker, as there are not enough lockers for them to have their own.
I have an education-related example of "change your story-change your life". Last night my 10th-grader was very upset with himself because he couldn't find his Algebra and Chemistry binder. This prevented him from doing some homework that it contained. He then went on to bombard himself with negative talk . . . going to fail 10th grade . . . is a terrible student . . .messing up all the time . . . why can't I just do what I'm supposed to do . . . and on he went. This was very, very late last night so I suggested he just go to bed and we would approach this with fresh eyes (and attitudes) in the morning.
This morning on the way to school we had a chat about changing his school story. We talked about a story where he goes into the classroom and finds his notebook, takes time during the day to do some of his homework and makes today the first page in his happy competent student story that would stay with him for the rest of the year.
He agreed he would give it a try in a "sure mom, whatever you say" kind of way - but agreed nonetheless. He text-messaged me about a hour later - he had found his notebook. I responded "great, now stay with that story" we'll see how he goes with it.