The best way to predict the future is to CREATE it!
The Book With No Chapters
The stories are all told with a beginning and then it is divided into chapters and finally we come to an end. Some of the best stories ended chapters with CLIFF HANGERS. Putting the reader into a state of anticipation to see what the next chapter had in store. Would the girl get run over by the train? Yeah that one has been told many times. Would the hero recover from the gunshot? Would the spaceman recover his craft in time?
And so the story goes. Those who have the time, and eyes for it may eagerly stay awake late into the night in order to find the answers in the next chapter in the story. Some are moving, heart warming. Some are scary, making the heart race. A good story teller makes the characters come alive to the point that the reader has created a visual of all of them to the point of the story becoming a part of their lives- at least for a short time. The chapters.
So much are we into our stories being told in such a format that we talk about our lives having chapters. We talk about the next chapter of our lives. We age and enter into the golden years and talk of our final chapter. We concern ourselves with how we will be viewed at the end of our story. We call it our legacy. Older folks are often asked how they would want to be remembered. Our stories suddenly become important to us- well, at least in our final chapter of life. Up till then we are simply living. We are culturally trained to, first we go to day care, then preschool, kindergarten, and 12 years of grade school then college of some sort then off to a career – married, kids, house, cars. Lot of stuff to fill in our chapters of life as the pages unfold quite rapidly and we pay little attention to the words scrolling across those pages. A birthday comes and we take a minor note as to what we wrote in that last chapter and talk about what we would like to see happen in our next chapter then, then the final chapter comes. For those of us lucky enough not to have had our life story cut short by something. It does happen. Accidents, murders, disease, and even natural disaster.
And how sad for our life story that we didn’t tune in to those words that filled each page of those chapters of our lives. Just like the book or the movie or TV show the final chapter comes. THE END! Always happens. And the better the story the more we hate to see that ending. Then there are those stories that are a drudgery to get through. The story is too long. To many details. Not exciting enough. The story does not make our heart race or raise our emotions to high levels making us cry or laugh. Yeah some of those stories- oh yes, we are invested in getting through the story, but we cant wait for it to end. With the turn of each page we keep hoping. Hoping for some excitement. Something to move us. To make us really glad we started this story. And it never comes. With the turn of each page, it is all too predictable. There are no surprises in the next paragraph or chapter. Just another story full of faceless characters doing what most all characters do in all the less than exciting books ever written.
Each chapter leading us, well, no where really. A predictable ending.
A predictable story.
Sadly that is the story of the average culturally indoctrinated life.
Nothing unpredictable. Nothing to get the heart rate up. No. Just another chapter, another turn of the page. And then the final chapter comes. The end.
So what if we didn’t divide our stories into chapters? What if we just let the story flow all the way through and let the story write itself? What if you could tell the story of your life and it was so exciting and full of life that you could not find a place to divide it into chapters?
After all we all know the end of our story. Right?
Yes many believe that the story does not end with our final breath in THIS realm. And who knows- maybe that is so. But cemeteries and graveyards are full of those whose stories ended. As the say ‘the final chapter written’- book closed with a coffin lid.
As I look back at the story of my life I find it hard to locate the start and end of chapters. My life just kind of flowed. I never stopped at any point and thought: Ok that chapter is over time to start a new one!’ I cannot ever remember having that thought. I simply got up each day excited about another adventure. Whatever I could get involved in. My life story was never about fitting in to all the other stories written by my peers or those in my culture. Far from it. My story was, well, MY STORY. Not yours, not theirs.
I could not tell the beginning of my story for I cannot remember it. Why? I was there. But like you my memories did not kick in at birth. So all that part of ME I only have from a third person view. As hard as I may try I cannot bring to mind anything of the first few years of my story to tell first person.
There is a point to be drawn from that. The point being that we live out our story seeing it from first person. Then there is all those we came in contact with during our story and they tell their side of our story. And our telling of our story may be dramatically different than the third persons telling of our story. What we tend to see in the mirror is not always a clear picture. . Some of us see every little flaws and others dim the lights and shield ourselves from the flaws in our stories. A lot of what we do is for survival. Too harsh a criticism of ourselves can lead some to depression. But that is not true of all. The chapters serve as a way for us to segment our lives. We can then say to ourselves ‘I am not that person any more!’ We have had cosmetic surgery and made ourselves look better. At least when the light it not shining to bright on us.
But what if we didn’t have chapters. What if it was all just a flowing, fluid continuum of our story. An adventure lived out moment by moment. Escaping from cultural dictates.
Ignoring what was believed and discovering what we believe.
Lets take a walk through the story of our lives. Yes, a walk. Not a 100 yard dash. Not a marathon. A casual walk taking time to see to the left and the right. Time to live out the story of our lives, not chapter by chapter but moment by moment. Grabbing ahold of each breath, each heartbeat, not being afraid to be afraid. Letting ourselves get winded from that uphill climb. Reaching out and grabbing the hand of the stranger who need help to get up that hill. Allowing others to grab our hand and pull us up. Knowing when to let go. Living each moment as if it were your last. For that last moment will come. Your final chapter will come. The end. The closing of the coffin lid. The pouring the dirt over your rotting corpse. The cold reality of our stories. For they are not chapters to divide your existence but moments to fill your story with all the excitement that makes YOU uniquely you.
Dare to live a story without chapters and give yourself reason to be excited about each moment of your life. Culture will not do that. Culture, religion, and government will divide you and clone you to be just another one of those. A story with an ending divided into chapters that are all too predictable……….