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Monday, June 24, 2013

The Back Story

One of the most essential tasks facing the news reporter is the discovery of THE BACK STORY explaining why an event has occurred.  

Therein lies the impetus...the driving force...of the action.  And it's not always readily available or easy to discern. 

Sometimes, reporters have to switch hats, becoming the investigator, the detective or even the psychologist.

What is behind or in "back" of a person's actions is very instructive...even fascinating.  That is why reporters need to be open to discovering this "bigger" story.

But why should reporters have all the fun? 

Let us suppose that we decide to become the "journalist" as we go through our day encountering family, friends,  neighbors, sales persons, ińdividuals shopping alongside us, gas station attendants, the drivers on the road.

One thing we can be very sure of...everyone has a back story.  As we reflect on this concept, several considerations about this arise.


What joys have these individuals experienced?  What obstacles  have they encountered? What has broken their hearts?  Lifted them up?  What do they struggle with?  Blame themselves for?  Cry over (symbolically or literally)?

And, most importantly, what has transpired today...before we
encountered them?  What pain might they be feeling?  What happiness are they celebrating?  What affirmation from us could  bring Light or Joy to their hearts? 

Typically, people react to their experience of what a person says or does to them...or, perhaps, to the person's tone or body language.   In short, we react to how we "perceive" a person makes us feel.  And if it's an "ouch" that we feel, it's VERY easy to drop into annoyance, frustration...or even anger.

Two things about this. 

First...whatever reaction we choose to have to an encounter is exactly that...our CHOICE.  No one MAKES us do or feel anything.

Second, there is the question...HOW do we learn to offer a response that would be life enhancing for us (and for the other person) while we may be hearing uncomfortable things said to us?

THIS is the perfect place to put on our reporter's hat (or hats...whatever is called for in this circumstance) and go to work on finding the back story.

Unearthing this information will bring a new perspective to this moment.  And even though it might be impossible to unearth it right then,  I am betting that we can sense the emotional import of the back story and how it has affected the person with whom we are interacting. 

Now, as we sense this person's anxiety or distress or frustration, the tense tone in their voice doesn't feel personal and we move directly into a moment of concern for the person's situation.  That's a far cry from entering into the fray and making a heated moment grow even more intense.

And, while we are learning how to gracefully include this loving gesture into our personal repertoire, let's give ourselves special consideration for our own back story as it reveals itself in the moments of our life.

The effort to look beyond the obvious seems like a wise investment.

Whenever we are able to take into account the BIG PICTURE

 (that's present moment awareness AND the consideration of the many interweaving threads that make up a back story),

we are able to move effortlessly into the beauty of Compassion...a wonderful choice that is always available to us.

image from ifanboy.com

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