Caroline’s book, A Million Miles In A Thousand Years by Donald Miller has many snippets that give me food for meditation and thought. Miller’s book chronicles his opportunity to edit his life from what he calls, “not living a good story,” to “celebrating a beautiful life.” It will probably not win a Pulitzer, but it is written with a sense of humor and provokes thought. Miller surmises that telling a good story with your life sounds like a good idea, we get excited about it, but when it comes to doing the work, we usually don’t want to do what it takes to make it happen. Why? Well it is our old friend – change. We resist change with a passion. As humans, even if our life is unpleasant, we tend to stay in place. Like Inertia we need an outside force to cause change. Miller says in writing a good story sometimes we need an “inciting incident” to affect change. Miller uses an explosion as an example of an “inciting incident” used in writing a novel or screenplay to affect change.
Tom says that Sufis believe that the resistance to change often is a result of holding onto self and the needs of self. To overcome the resistance one must shift one’s perspective from the personal point of view to the divine point of view. This is called — thinking like the Universe. Instead of thinking like the world is our prison we need to shift our thinking to where our prison is our way of thinking and feeling. Buddha also saw that the only way to break free of the chains that keep us bound is to attain freedom from the personal “I.” So sometimes the “inciting incident” can be initiated not through an explosion but a shift in perspective. Perhaps, that is what Saint Francis of Assisi meant when he said, “ I thought I was looking at the world, but the world is looking at me.”
So whether we use dynamite or a subtle shift to initiate change, we begin to write a new and beautiful story with our life. Let the story begin.
I was so inspired by this book that I immediately bought another from the same author, “Searching for God Knows What”–and again, I can’t put it down. I look forward to getting into bed early to catch up as miller takes me through his interpretations of the Bible–and how faith is–in his words–relational. Greg and I spoke just tonight, as we discussed his head shaving commitment, about how there is something “fresh start-ish” to the notion of writing a better story for yourself. The parallels to the fresh start involved in an organ transplant do not escape me. here is to our better stories! Love you.