Wednesday, April 25, 2012

The Stories We Tell Ourselves

This is a tale about a New Story and Three Miracles.

Yesterday, Troy and I had to make yet another trip to the appeals court in downtown L.A.. (If you are new to my blog and haven’t been following the long saga of our fight to keep our dog Stitch, the story is here.) We are currently in year three of a ridiculously drawn out battle that has been rife with jaw-dropping errors and bumbling ineptitude. The latest is that on January 3rd, we filed our appeals brief. The plaintiff had 30 days to respond. He did not. We were waiting to hear what the court would decide. And waiting, and waiting…On Monday we were notified that the plaintiff filed a response three months late.  In line with the dazzling list of injustices that have occurred in this case, the court accepted it! Three months late!

Our attorney needed copies of this new response, so yesterday we set out for the courthouse with a pit in our stomachs. We anticipated the traffic, the expensive downtown parking ($24 for one hour), the incompetence of underpaid court workers. Documents would be lost, wrong case numbers would be filed, clerks would stare back at us with lack of concern. We knew the drill.

At the court, we asked for copies of this new, three-months late document.
“We don’t have your file,” an apathetic, goth clerk told us.
I turned to Troy and threw my hands in the air. “Of course they don’t have our file! Every time we come here it’s one problem after the next and blah blah blah…” and suddenly I stopped myself.
Just the day before, I had posted this blog, listing things I learned from Deepak Chopra, my favorite quote being: “The story you tell yourself becomes your experience in the world.”

“Wow,” I said to Troy, “Listen to me, anticipating the worst. I need to tell myself a new story.”
“Okay,” he said, “what’s your new story?”
I took a deep breath and centered myself, “The new story is…we are going to have a good experience in court today. We’re going to get the files we need, the clerks are going to be competent and friendly, and we’re going to get out of here before our parking meter runs out.”

And that is exactly what happened. Another clerk found our file easily, was smart and friendly, gave us the copies we needed, didn’t charge us (at 50 cents a page) and told us to have a great day. And we made it back three minutes before our parking meter expired. That has NEVER HAPPENED for us before. So that was MIRACLE #1.

Driving back, I worried about traffic, as we had to pick Evan up from school. As soon as we pulled onto the 405 onramp, we came to a dead stop. Bumper to bumper traffic. Ugh, we both groaned. This could take hours…
“New story!” Troy exclaimed, “I’m driving 90 all the way home!”
We both laughed heartily at this one.
“Good one, Honey!” I said. I mean, this was the 405 on a weekday.

But within moments, I kid you not, the traffic dissipated and we drove, not 90 but 70, all the way home to Chatsworth. If you live in L.A., you know that is MIRACLE #2.

And then, starving, we pulled into In N Out Burger, which has a long line at nine in the morning, at one in the morning, and three in the afternoon. In my entire life I’ve never been to In N Out when there wasn’t a long, long line. 
We pulled in at 12:30p.m. and laughingly said, “New story- no line at In N’ Out!”
And I know none of you Californians are going to believe me but I SWEAR- there was no line at In N Out Burger! NONE! At lunchtime!
That was a miracle of almost biblical proportion. That was MIRACLE #3.

Now I can’t say that all those things weren’t just coincidences, but what is the definition of a coincidence, anyway?

Coincidence: the occurrence of events that happen at the same time by accident but seem to have some connection.
(Merriam Webster Dictionary)

Hmmm…I told myself a new story. My circumstances changed. In that case, yeah, I guess I’d call that a coincidence.


  1. What you did was put your spiritual practice INTO PRACTICE. That is what made the difference. You STOPPED yourself from meeting negativity with more negativity. It really does work. As I said in my comment to your last post, we have to be CONSISTENT in our spiritual practice and I am so proud of you! It is not an easy thing to do ... change our story/thoughts, but it can be done.


    1. Thank you, Doll! We are all here to remind each other to keep trying, keep "practicing". Easier on some days than others, am I right?


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