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As a child, I loved to hear and read stories. Mythical creatures with magical powers, Kings and Queens and their children (of course I was the Princess!) and the Knights of the Round Table.  How I loved to read about King Arthur and his Camelot.  But for some reason, I always identified with the person who was betrayed, the victim of the story, never the victor.

As an adult, I fell away from fairy tales and into “reality.” School, work, marriage, family and aging parents took all of my attention and energy.  Little did I realize that I still lived in stories, except now they were my very own creation, instead of tales from ages past.

My “stories” were the judgments I passed on the events of my life. Based on past experience and beliefs that had not seen the light of day in quite some time, the decisions I made about the meaning of difficult situations determined my future.  Hurt, anger or resentment soured many a moment.

Little did I realize how much my thoughts about what someone said or did colored my world and my reaction. I played the role of victim well, always ready to leap to a martyr’s death at a moment’s notice. Swooning was also part of my repertoire (just kidding). Dramatic scenes of anger, rage and resentment played consistently on my stage.  And behind the curtain, I always felt that someone else was pulling my strings, the puppeteer always just out of sight.

It was not until I stumbled upon the concept that things happen for you, not to you, that my world began to shift on its axis. When I discovered that I had the power to change my thoughts, which directly impacted my world, I felt like I had been given the keys to a wonderful kingdom.  Out with the dragons! Gone are the lions and tigers and bears! Destroy the goblins of fear, the worry warts and the sad sack of chips on my shoulder that forever stood in the way of my relationships.  I was free!

Until the moment they returned again. And again.

How disheartening to think that a magic wand can make it all go away…and it all came back, stronger than before.  What was wrong with me?  That question plagued me for some time, until I discovered that I had asked the wrong question, which was guaranteed to lead always to the wrong answer (or the right answer to the wrong question, if that makes any sense).

The right question (no judgment intended) is to ask, “What am I supposed to learn from this?” Or put another way, “Who Am I in Relation to That?”  Either question is guaranteed to direct your attention away from the problem and back to you, defining your place in relation to the event or circumstance.

In a very real sense, you step out of your story for a brief moment and decide who you want to be (given those circumstances before you). Then, you step back into your story with that decision firmly in your mind.  While you cannot control the final outcome, you gain a much richer understanding of yourself as you move through that particular set of circumstances.

You will discover, as I did, that in the end, you retain your power to define who you are.  The “puppet on a string” syndrome is gone forever. The victim mentality no longer works for you, because you realize you are never a victim unless you allow it.  In fact, you discover that you are the choreographer, producer and star of your own “Dancing with the Stars.”

And you have a new partner in your dance with life.  The Divine.

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