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The Stories We Tell Ourselves

By Suzanne Ludekens

Paul Seling

In my recent past as a journalist and editor of Atencion San Miguel, it was deeply impressed upon me the influence of telling a story, how it could impact so many people — as individuals and as community. For many in San Miguel choosing to live here is the new chapter, the new story in our unfolding life. It is the liberating choice of claiming and creating a new identity. When I chose to leave the job, I began the process that many San Miguel transplants are familiar with, releasing myself from my history and an old identity. Thankfully, this town is blessed with many wonderful people who, in their vocation and very being, are wonderful teachers. The books of Paul Selig formed part of my “recreation of self” curriculum, along with gardening, poetry, art journaling, sound meditation, qi gong, and ceremony.

In Selig’s books the principal affirmation of “I know who I am, I know what I am, I know how I serve” was both a comfort and a challenge. I checked the list, yes I know how I serve, that’s community work; I know who I am, that’s the many selves of me; yes I get that. But the “I know what I am” was uncomfortable to say the least. The “Guides” are talking about us as aspects of the Divine, I thought, the interconnectedness of life, the “we are one” concept. Mmm, can I really accept that, not just believe it, but know it as truth? Time to stop being a spiritual fence sitter. Time to allow a new story, a mysterious story to unfold.

Last week I witnessed an energy healing. One of the things that was so striking to me was the change in the woman’s face ⎯ as if a mask of pain and suffering had been lifted. She was instructed during the treatment to release an old story she was telling herself, but I saw that I too was released of an assumption I had made about her from just looking at her. Released from a judgment, a story, I had made about her. For me it was an affirmation of Selig and the Guides’ teachings: when we accept we are not our history and the stories we tell about ourselves, when we accept that others are not the stories we assign to them, we really can see ourselves and others in a very different caring, tender, and luminous light. These are the eyes that I choose to have as I look at myself, others, and the world around me. Eyes that can see the beauty within and around us. That’s part of my new story.

Paul Selig will be in San Miguel March 16-20 teaching the “Claim of Mastery” workshop. For more information, contact Suzanne at 415 151 0855/415 101 6003 or email


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