Unravel the Story You Tell Yourself, and Discover the Story You’re In

Tuesday, September 12, 2017 - 3:00 pm
Woman wrapped in sheet. Photo by Yoann Boyer.

Unravel the Story You Tell Yourself, and Discover the Story You’re In

Here’s a lovely poem by my good friend Mark Nepo — a poem that makes me wonder what I’m missing because of my incessant need to “steer the plot” of my life.

Mark’s poem reminds me that if I’m willing to let go of the wheel for a while, I might learn more about “the story I’m in, the one that keeps telling me.”

by Mark Nepo

I’ve been watching stars
rely on the darkness they
resist. And fish struggle with
and against the current. And
hawks glide faster when their
wings don’t move.

Still I keep retelling what
happens till it comes out
the way I want.

We try so hard to be the
main character when it is
our point of view that
keeps us from the truth.

The sun has its story
that no curtain can stop.

It’s true. The only way beyond
the self is through it. The only
way to listen to what can never
be said is to quiet our need
to steer the plot.

When jarred by life, we might
unravel the story we tell ourselves
and discover the story we are in,
the one that keeps telling us.

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is a columnist for On Being. His column appears every Wednesday.

He is a Quaker elder, educator, activist, and founder of the Center for Courage & Renewal. His books include A Hidden Wholeness: The Journey Toward an Undivided Life, and Let Your Life Speak: Listening for the Voice of Vocation. His book On the Brink of Everything: Grace, Gravity, and Getting Old will be published in June.


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