5 Practical Ways to “Divine Your Story”
by Eli Walker
WTF is Divine Your Story™, you ask? It’s a teaching method I devised before the birth of Drunk Yoga™ to give my students a technique to deconstruct personal narratives that aren’t serving them and rewrite them in a more joyful direction.
I know, I know, it’s a bit esoteric. Wine and yoga is a little more “accessible,” don’t you think?
But to me, both Divine Your Story™ and Drunk Yoga™ share a similar goal: to empower you to be the author of your own life story--to be the maker of your own joy.
In Drunk Yoga™, I teach this by creating a fun and silly space to let your hair down and be yourself with new and old friends, through the vehicle of a happy hour-infused yoga class. I like to think that I trick you into unadulterated happiness with interactive games, music that makes you smile, and just the right amount of social lubricant…(ahem, wine). We’re all looking for connection, and with Drunk Yoga™, I give you permission to find it.
With Divine Your Story™, however, it’s much more introspective. I offer you prompts to dive deep into the stories you tell yourself about yourself that make you feel imprisoned in stories that cause you suffering.
...WTF is a “story,” you ask? We’ve all got ‘em. Here’s a few that might sound familiar:
“My mother-in-law hates me.”
“I can’t afford to quit my job and follow my passion.”
“I can’t take a vacation because vacations are for people that...vacations are for...for other people…”
“I’m bad at going to the gym.”
“I’m never on time.”
“I drink too much.”
“I smoke too much.”
“I have to have kids before I’m 30.”
“I look terrible in mustard yellow.”
“I should have broken up with him/her a long time ago.”
..etc. etc. etc.
You get the idea.
I empower you to ask yourself what’s true about these stories, and get to the bottom, or the beginning, rather, of where they started--which, always lies within you, of course--the “storyteller.”
“Everything you see is true, but so is everything you don’t see. So the question you should ask yourself is not ‘is this true, or is that true,” but rather: why am I seeing this truth and not that truth?” This is something my teacher Nevine Michaan, the creator of Katonah Yoga, told me repeatedly years ago. This means that all of the “I’m fat and broke and terrible and blah blah blah,” stories that we tell ourselves are 100% true, as long as we believe them. But you know what else is “true”? These stories:
“I’m really resourceful.”
“I’m actually really happy being single. The right partner is out there for me, and I’ll find him/her when I’m ready.”
“I love living in this city, but I’m ready to leave. I’ll make a plan to find a job overseas by 2020, which gives me time to finish my goals here.”
“I don’t care what they say. I look GREAT in mustard yellow.”
“My mistakes were mere lessons because I learned from them.”
“I’m not lazy. Turns out I’m just burned out. I’m going to take a week off and visit family to recharge.”
...etc. etc. etc. You get the idea.
Everything is true. But your reality is entirely predicated on whichever truth you happen to be seeing. Make sense? Of course it does! You’re super smart.
I teach Divine Your Story™ retreats in Bali each year at Jeda Villa Retreat Center, and I also hold workshops and offer one-on-one private coaching to help deconstruct particularly tough-to-crack truths that have you feeling stuck in transition.
But, until we have the opportunity to work together in person, I want to share with you some easy-ish ways you can work on “divine-ing” your own story so you can set up a healthy container for success and prosperity in 2019.
Here we go:
Make a list of negative stories you tell yourself about yourself and your life circumstances that make you feel helpless. Write ‘em all down. Anything that makes you feel victimized, angry, bitter...the more the better!
Go through each story on your list, one by one, and do a little self-inquiry. Ask yourself why you tell this story. What happened to make you think this thought? Are these stories affecting you right now, or did an event that took place years ago plant a seed for this negative thought that grew into a full-sized, mother-effing tree that took roots in your soul without your conscious permission?
Now, one by one, go through each item on your list of stories and challenge yourself to tell the opposite side of the story. This exercise is the hardest part. It’s difficult to place ourselves objectively into another perspective, especially when so much of our identities are wrapped up in our stories. Here’s an example that might help:
Story: “My ex-boyfriend is obsessed with me and he drains my energy with his constant need for my approval.”
Alt. Story: “My last relationship was tumultuous, and when it ended, I realized I learned a lot about the essence of my own power. Now that my relationship is over with my ex, I see that there was a piece of me that enjoyed his adoration for me. But I realize I don’t need his love to feel empowered, and it’s not my responsibility to make him feel validated. I’m thankful for the time we spent together, and the lessons I learned from it all. Now I’m ready to move on to new relationships, and see what they have in store for me! Or, in the words of Ariana Grande, ‘Thank u. Next.’”
You might also find it can be even simpler. For instance:
Story: “I’m always so goddamn tired. I think I’m lazy.”
Alt. Story: “I’ve worked really hard for quite some time. It’s time for some self-care to rejuvenate and re-energize.”
Pick one of these stories that feels most prevalent in your life right now. The one that makes you feel most “stuck.” Write a letter to yourself about this story, as if the piece of you who wrote this story to begin with is no longer a part of your identity. Write as much as you like. Write with compassion, forgiveness, and gratitude. Write until you understand that this story is not “you.”
Now, write a one-pager in first-person that flips your story on its head. This is your time to shine, and step into an empowered perspective, and use your imagination to write about how you want to feel, as the character of the person you truly want to be. When you’re finished, read this story out loud. Perhaps just to yourself, or perhaps in the mirror--or maybe even to a person who you love and trust. Just make sure you literally speak your new truth, so that you may embody it.
Once you’ve tried this, let me know how it went. You can reach out to my Instagram at @eliwalkernyc. I’d love to hear from you.
And, listen, this isn’t easy. But, any effort put into self-discovery for the purpose of cultivating self-possession is a worthwhile pursuit. You are the author of your own life story, whether or not you know it. I would love for you to take some time over the holidays to introspect and reflect on how you can tell more joyful stories about your life. You’ll be delighted to see how your joy will ripple into the lives of others, inspiring them to find their own sense of self-empowerment, too.
And yes, you can ritualize this exercise with a glass of wine, obviously. No judgment here.