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The Power of our Stories
The Power of our Stories

KenK (technically my stepdad) and I have had a checkered past, one that (for various reasons I go into a deeper degree in my book Outlaw Protocol) - had locked us into an ongoing story of conflict.

From verbal to physical altercations, we had fought our way to a place where we were on the brink of never caring to see one another again.

The story that had its hooks in us went something like this:

- My stepdad/son is an @sshole who doesn't respect me.

- When I see him next he will act like an @sshole.

- I will then respond by acting in kind…

The story proved true time and time again. Until we realized that a story was writing itself in our minds. One who's truthfulness we had both become identified with to the point where being right had become more important than having a relationship with each other.

Had KenK been an @sshole in the past? Yes.

Had I been an @sshole in the past? Oh yeah.

But that it could be different in the present popped into my head one night (I had popped a few substances into my head – unknowingly breaking this constant, conflict creating stream of self-perpetuating story).

In that space grace was allowed to emerge in the form of a maybe. Just a maybe – and not anything close to a probably – “maybe the next time we met, things would be different” went the new line of story.

Written on a fresh page free of the stale prose of the past this new line, carefully and consciously crafted, was all it took to get the old hook out of my mind.

In the space of maybe a new narrative of possibility emerged. One in which KenK proved more patient, forgiving, and far more cool than he ever had before. He did this by being willing to step out of the suffocating story of our past and onto a new page in our present.

"Want to play music in yoga class with me Friday night?" I asked him in our new story.

He arched his eyebrows at me, shrugged, and finally nodded. "Sure, what the hell."

In that instant we reclaimed the unique responsibility for the authorship of our lives…

We spent three hours on a set list and then went in and brought the house down. The next week a hundred students showed up...the week after that another hundred.

Since that day over three years ago we have continued to put the power of our presence into writing a new story.


There’s still conflict – he won’t play Sweet Home Alabama no matter how often I ask – but we never fail to remind one another that the basis of our new story is our love and respect for one another, that we are committed to this new story, a story that evolves every day and does not fall prey to the tales of the past.

In that space we have forged a friendship that will last and a class experience that is unsurpassed (thanks largely to the fact that my ol' man is a helluva rock n' rolla' as evidenced in his new studio CD Everything So Beautiful). His new record features 10 original songs, some inspired directly by the yoga community that helped to community fund it and flows and grows to it across the country and, increasingly thanks to Yogadownload, around the world. It features several amazing yogi/musicians, boasts a grammy winning producer, and is available at outlawyoga.com.

Click here to check out the free 25 minute preview of The Power of Our Stories or take the full practice if you have the time, but either way feel free take a page out of our book and consider where a little maybe – just a maybe, not a probably – could help you craft a new story around someone in your life today.

At the end of the day, you might be wrong…you might actually be right about how awful your mom is, or how right you are about your boss being an @sshole.

But consideration costs us nothing...and its lack can cost us everything.

By Justin Kaliszewski

Justin Kaliszewski is a reformed meat-head and former amateur cage fighter. He brings a lifetime of travel and world's worth of experience in battling the ego to the mat. An avid student, artist, and treasure hunter, he infuses a creativity and perseverance into his teachings, along with a distinct blend of humor and wisdom that redefines what it means to be an Outlaw and a yogi...He teaches Outlaw Yoga across the country and is happy to call Denver home for now. Author of Outlaw Protocol: how to live as an outlaw without becoming a criminal, you can find him at www.outlawyoga.com. 


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