Thursday, September 20, 2007

Grad School Meets Life – Escaping My Story

As many people know, I’ve gone back to school, to a masters program to become a addiction counselor, and in a short time I’ve come to understand that a great deal of what I learn will really pertain to my own life, and open some doors for me that my program may never have addressed. This week, one of those doors into my soul was opened, and I learned something crucial about myself. So I’m going to share it with you.

I’m reading a book by William C. Madsen on Collaborative Therapy, and its fascinating reading. Madsen indicates that each person, healthy or sick, creates a story for themselves. The story defines the teller, determines the teller’s reality. It is the image a person chooses to project to the people around him, and it may be more or less accurate depending on the person. Regardless, it’s how the person sees himself.

The individual has many experiences, the events that comprise his life. Naturally, the person determines which of these experiences to include in his story, which fit in with the person he’s trying to be. An experience outside of the scope of the story will be forgotten. And an experience inside the scope of the story will be retold, perhaps even stretched to reinforce or enhance the person’s story.

But here’s the thing, and this really got inside my head; once the person has determined his story, and found the experiences that fit with his story, he may unconsciously shape future experiences to jive with his story as well.

OK, a bit confusing, right? I’ll use myself as an example, and maybe it will come clearer.

When I was young, I was in a car accident; the accident nearly killed both my sister and I, but we both survived. Before that I had been an athlete, but following the accident I was told I would never walk again, let alone run. At that time, all I had worked for was removed from me, and I took on the role of the victim. That was my story, and now, looking back, I see that many times my feeling the victim influenced the outcome of experiences I faced.

Alternatively, I could have recognized that, but for a small miracle, I would be dead, and be grateful for the gift of life. If I had taken this perspective, I think that my life would have been very different to date. For one thing, I have had many near-death incidents since then, and since my story was that I was cursed, these experiences became examples of my being cursed. They could have instead been examples of my being blessed, as I see them now.

The crazy thing is, I always thought that, to get out of my story, I needed to look at the events in my life and find their roots. But Madsen disagrees. He believes that, to change our story, we have to find our goal, how we want our lives to be, and then work to make our experiences fit into this story. Individual incidents do get analyzed, but with an eye towards the long-term goals and the story we want to tell.

This is what I’m working towards today. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not there yet. But I see where my story has dictated my perception of the experiences that have befallen me, and thus influenced the outcome of these experiences. I am learning to rethink my story, and to reshape my experiences to fit the story I want to tell as my life. And this is a step in the right direction.

How about you? What is your story, and how has it affected the events in your life, and the way you perceive yourself? Looking at this may provide great insights on your life and the role you’ve played in events you thought you had no part in, just like it has provided me with these insights. Who knows, it may even help you find a story that is beyond your wildest dreams. That is rapidly becoming my story today, and I couldn’t be happier!


Posted by Scottage at 1:44 AM / | |  

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

The Radio Station Comes to Life: An Awesome Weekend!

On August 8th, having not heard from my co-owner in months, amidst serious technical issues that couldn’t be resolved without some passwords held by the co-owner, bleeding money and watching our streaming company shut their doors, BigDawgRadio shut its doors, and Caravan Radio was born. We didn’t have the name then, but we had a team, a theme, and a goal. And that was far more than we had before.

Caravan was based on the premise that we would be a team of equals, working together towards the creating of a truly unique station. The station would feature a variety of genres, with a variety of live DJs to engage the listener. And that is the key, as far as we were concerned; a radio station totally for the listeners and all about the listeners, with requests, dedications, chat rooms, interactions, and just a generally good time for all.

And this weekend, that is exactly what we had! Live DJs all day and evening all 3 days, double digit listeners the whole time, the chat rooms packed, and request after request after request. For me, it was totally a blast. I would go into the chat rooms, and all these people would welcome me, joke with me and make me feel welcome. For a person who has difficulty socializing and winds up as a loner most of the time, it was awesome!

Sure, it didn’t go perfectly. We had so many listeners that we exceeded our transfer quota at one point, and had to contact someone from our hosting company to get the stream working again. And there were slight slips along the way, like me finishing one show with the same song that the next DJ started with, or one of my fellow DJs calling the station by the old name, BigDawgRadio. But none of it mattered; it was a ton of fun.

Plus, this is just the beginning. We have more in the works, and it seems like every day is a new adventure. We have new DJs starting to enter into the mix. We’re talking about contests and games. And now we’re even putting together a technology that will allow users to call into a show and go on the air using a program called Skype. It’s free, and listeners can make their own dedications to other listeners.

So it’s exciting, exciting the way any brand new project should be. I love the new station, and all the people who are working with me to make it a reality. It’s an awesome environment, and I’m so glad to be a part of it. And it all really started to come to fruition this past weekend. Does it get any better than that?


Posted by Scottage at 12:25 AM / | |