I didn’t even know what a narrative was in my twenties, so I think this is an important reminder for all of us.
It’s simply one of the predominant stories of your life you most like to tell, that threads itself into other stories that thematically become the through-line of your life. But the sad thing is most of these narratives are based in the past, our conditioning, or come from limitations that are often based in false assumptions (about everything: the world, ourselves, possibility). We make these unhappy stories the main narrative of our lives. Why? Because we constantly replay them in our left brain as they are kept alive by our egos, wanting us to remain stuck, safe, and small.
I was with a group of friends this weekend and I discovered that everyone who told their life story got really stuck on the part of their narrative that no longer fit them. And that’s where their narrative seemed to end.
Where I stood, I saw these amazing, powerful, smart, dynamic, successful people who were so much bigger than the smaller stories they told themselves. Those stories that seemed to confirm their unworthiness or distrust or limitations of self.
It’s not wrong to have these parts of your narrative. These parts are what ultimately make your story, your story. But that’s not the only part of your life—that which is hard, or challenging, or hasn’t yet happened.
I had an experience recently in regards to a project I’m working on and this woman who’s involved said some things that immediately reconnected me to an old part of my narrative that I thought I had outgrown. But her words triggered me and along with it came my “not good enough” narrative. I had to reach deep down within myself and say, “That’s her story, not mine.”
When we’re challenged in life, when we get rejected, when we feel as if nothing is moving forward and our traditional narratives get triggered, all we can do is face the information that we are given with compassion and love and understanding. But that doesn’t mean that limiting experiences that trigger our own internal stories have to define us any longer. We don’t have to take that on anymore to be our narrative.
As the poet, Rainer Maria Rilke said, “Let everything happen to you. Beauty and terror. But just keep going. No feeling is final.”
Indeed as your story unfolds, don’t get stuck on the chapter that you’re currently reading. You always have the ability to simply turn the page. And that’s a new narrative.
Anthony Meindl is an award-winning writer, director, producer, and artistic director of Anthony Meindl's Actor Workshop (AMAW) with studios in Los Angeles, New York, London, and Vancouver. It was honored by Backstage three years in a row and named the Best Acting Studio in Los Angeles (Best Scene Study and Best Cold Read).
Meindl's first feature film, “Birds of a Feather,” won the Spirit of the Festival Award at the 2012 Honolulu Rainbow Film Festival, and he won Best Director at the Downtown Film Festival Los Angeles. It releases on iTunes and DVD in March of 2014. He is a regular contributor to The Daily Love, Backstage, and various spirituality podcasts. He has been featured in ABC News, Daily Variety, LA Weekly, The Hollywood Reporter, and CW KTLA. He has been a guest speaker at the GATE 2013 Story Conference, founded by Jim Carrey and Eckhart Tolle, and David Lynch's Masters in Film Program (Maharishi University of Management).
He is also the author of the best-selling creativity book, At Left Brain Turn Right, which helps artists of all kinds unleash their creative genius within. Check out Meindl's free smartphone app on iTunes. Follow Meindl on Twitter @AnthonyMeindl.