I’ve been telling the same story for way too long. If a child were listening to this story, she would be able to insert the missing word at the end of every line, just like I did when my dad read me Horton Hears a Hoo or The Magic Fish.

However, the refrain is not nearly as moralistic or catchy as “I meant what I said and I said what I meant, an elephant’s faithful one-hundred percent” and not nearly as musical as “Oh fish in the sea, come listen to me, my wife begs a wish from the magic fish!”

Retelling this story makes me feel like I am lying down in the mud, and not in a good way. I feel dirty every time I indulge. I feel guilty and sad, like “why did I have to do that and ruin my outfit?”

It’s not a story I want to live with anymore. And I started to realize how much better I would feel every day of my life if I wasn’t telling this story anymore.

So I started asking myself, even for a short time, to consider a different version of the story. Immediately the feeling was different. It was as though something within was like, “Oh, wait, you mean, we don’t have to suffer as though that old tale is the gospel?”

It was like summer turning into fall. There was an entirely new season to be explored.

So, I’ll ask you:

Is there a situation that makes you feel gross inside, right now? Can you consider that it’s making you feel gross because of the way you’re engaging with it? The story you are telling about it? Can you use your imagination to come up with a different story? And once you’ve imagined it, can you deploy it, each and every time you feel the compulsion to give into the mud?

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