Photographs by Meadow Linn

Friday, April 6, 2012

Be the Bard of Your Own Life

Have you ever seen a stranger and, without even knowing it, made judgments about who you assume them to be? I do it all the time. Perhaps it’s a woman at the supermarket, or maybe it’s a young man who speeds recklessly on the freeway.

I might analyze the contents of the woman’s grocery cart and create a story about her life based on what she’s buying. If she’s overweight, I might assume certain things, but in reality I don’t know anything about her. Maybe she has an underactive thyroid or takes a medication that packs on extra pounds. And the man speeding in the red sports car, who I might call a “jerk,” could be on his way to the hospital to join his wife, who’s in labor with their first child. Perhaps he’s scared, and doesn’t know if he’ll make it in time.

From a very young age, my mom taught me, “You Don’t Know the Whole Story.” It’s possible the guy is just driving too fast, and he might even be a jerk, but there could also be underlying reasons for his actions, just as with the woman at the grocery.

I tell myself stories all the time. Sometimes it’s about strangers and sometimes it’s about things in my own life. Dating seems to bring about some of my most elaborate tales, usually to my own detriment. Often, when I don’t hear from a man after a seemingly good date, I think, Oh, well. Better luck next time. But, other times, I find myself searching for an explanation. These stories, unfortunately, can quickly spiral out of control. Awhile back, a date (that I was really looking forward to) was cancelled at the last minute. When we didn’t reschedule right away, the yarns began to be spun…

I told myself he changed his mind because I talked too much and wasn’t a good listener. I even worried the fried potatoes I ordered had been a turn off. Crazy, I know! I also fabricated a story in which he Googled me and found something (what? I didn’t know…) that scared him off.

The challenge with making up tales is that they can easily grow, like adding kerosene to a fire. What starts out as, “I’m disappointed the date was cancelled” can expand into… Where did I go wrong in my life? Why can’t I find love? Maybe I’m not meant to find lasting companionship. Blah blah!! These questions ultimately serve no purpose. The truth is…I didn’t know why we weren’t able to reschedule. Often, the truth is the simplest and the least painful. In this particular situation, it turns out the man was just really busy. It actually didn’t have anything to do with me.

The stories we tell ourselves, however, can be a powerful tool to becoming more compassionate and creating increased harmony. In many cases, we won’t ever know the truth, but we have control over the stories we write.

You’re the bard of your own life. You can choose to tell yourself stories that uplift you or ones that bring you down. You can choose tales that show compassion or ones that judge. When “I don’t know” isn’t enough, create stories that bring you joy. Magic will abound as a result!


  1. Years ago I remember being told a story about a man who heard about a job available on a distant farm. All the way there he was giving himself a head trip. Finally after knocking on the door of the farmhouse and being greeted by the farmer he said "I don't want your darned job!" and walked away, lol.

  2. Meadow right on point! Amazing the stories we can tell ourselves.. love the flowers, from your garden? What a great inspirational reminder going into this Easter weekend... Thank you!!!

  3. As always I'm so deeply inspired by your stories and your honesty and your open heartedness. Excellent!

  4. We don't know the whole story, even about ourselves! Thanks for sharing about the natterings that go on in our brains, Meadow. And I love pureed cauliflower!

  5. Thanks for reminding us about not making judgments/assumptions--and for the yummy cauliflower idea.

    PS I'm sure you're intuitive like your mother is. The interesting thing is that when you go into conclusions you shut off your intuition. If you see the woman in front of you with all the junk food who is overweight and you don't judge, but stay open, you might get an awareness that she's just had a miscarriage and is coping the best she can, or if you see the person speeding and you instead of the "maybe" scenario ask to have awareness where it can make a difference, you can often get an insight into the "why's" and offer prayers and blessings for whatever others are going through.

    Not that I don't go into judgment myself. It's only human. But I realized that we are all connected and we can actually find out the stories, if we actually CARE about others and open our intuitions and our hearts. I found that out when not personally emotionally involved because I'm the person people come to with the "so and so did x" stories. (even total strangers!)

    It's interesting--I'll be able to tell someone "it was just having a bad day" or "there's something going on with their boyfriend or husband and it's stressing them out--stay out of their way" or "they seem a little self absorbed and their energy is wrapped up tightly--do they dump on you a lot?" And if it's the case I'll talk a little about self-respect and boundaries.

    We're all processing something all the time--if we're open to inquiry and awareness and can use this to offer energy, prayers, and comfort on one hand--or appropriate boundaries on the other--then not making assumptions is a great thing.

    It's so totally like being a kid and refusing to eat something you don't like and never have tried because your friend doesn't like it. And then finding out "WOW it's GOOD!"

    Thanks, Meadow!

  6. Meadow just what I needed to read!! Love what you write, love what you cook, simply put LOVE YOU! You have a special gifts and talents..thank you for sharing who you are with all of us!Love, Linda

  7. My mouth is watering :-) My mom makes a version of this. can't wait to try your! ~Kris