By midlife, most of us have constructed a mental movie about who we are, who everybody else is and why the world works as it does. This screenplay incorporates Shakespearean drama, Quentin Tarantino mayhem, Marx Brothers farce and Days of our Lives soap opera – with a Brothers Grimm fairytale at intermission. We play the starring role in this horror/drama/comedy production whilst our co-stars and goon extras mill about in bilious resignation.
And why would we question these stories? They’re true, aren’t they?
When I was 49 — and in the midst of an existential crisis — I encountered The Work of Byron Katie at a workshop run by her Australian offsider, Rosie Stave. Rosie asked:“Who would you be without your story?” and it’s the best question I’ve ever heard. Until then, I believed my thoughts and this led to stress, paranoia and conflict.
It turns out that my life was a story and I had made it up. Therefore, it was up to me to unravel it.
If you’re looking for a powerful way to question stressful beliefs and the stories around them, then check out Byron Katie’s website (linked below). Many of the resources, including worksheets and video clips, are free and her organisation runs workshops all over the world.