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I’ve been hearing that phrase a lot lately. “Drop the storyline.” What on earth does it mean?

Turns out, my quest for finding its meaning has changed my life.  

Here’s the premise. A “storyline” is not just what’s happening to you in your life, not your history, but rather your thoughts and opinions about your life. A “storyline” is how you might make your life into a movie. It’s filled with drama, thrills, ups, downs, upsets, joy, and darkness. It’s what we often call a rollercoaster!

Here’s what I’ve been reading in my Zen books. And I don’t claim to be an expert, but some of this makes sense.

When we add storylines to our day-to-day thinking, we‘re adding unnecessary drama to our lives.  

If something comes up, and we simply observe it, without  that drama (the opinions, the judgements, the self-protection, the defense mechanisms, the fears), we can get to the heart of the matter. We can get beneath the opinions of others, the "shoulds", the assumptions about what others expect of us. And we can see the situation for what it really is.

Here’s an example. I was driving to the pet store the other day. I changed lanes just before the light turned, and I must have unknowingly cut someone off. The lady opened her window (my windows were already opened) and started yelling at me, cursing me, calling me names...I mean, she was mad!

But something in me didn’t register her anger. Something in me didn’t buy into any drama. I listened to her, and when I could get a word in, I looked at her and just said, “I’m sorry.” My tone of voice was sincere, because my heart told me this woman was in pain over something - something that had nothing to do with me. She was a dear soul who was in deep pain. When I didn’t fight back, it blew the wind out of her sails and she just let the whole thing go. Whatever I did, didn’t bother her anymore.

It was an experience I’ll never forget. What I learned from it was:

1) I dropped the choice to go with drama. (I dropped a potential storyline.)

2) I dropped the need to be defensive.

3) I felt compassion for her instead of the usual blow for blow we experience on the road.  

Storylines mess us up. Hopes and dreams are not storylines. I love my hopes and dreams. Storylines are dramatic renderings of what we believe SHOULD happen in our lives, of what we assume our sig. other SHOULD know, of what we expect others to fulfill for us.  

"Drop the storyline" means to look underneath what our mind is telling us. What's really going on, as opposed to what we assume is going on.  

Let me know what you think, I’d be curious if others have dropped their storylines, even for one encounter, and what the outcome was.

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