Ezine Header

2005: Issue 7

What's Your Story?

Phil Cousineau, in his enlightening book, Once and Future Myths, writes about the differences between a good story's (or play's, or film's, or television series') overstory, which is the visible plot, and the understory, which is the invisible movement of the souls of the main characters. He further describes these stories as "Janus-faced": that is, one face turned to the ancient world of brilliantly colorful gods and goddesses (or in the case of Star Trek, that fantastical world of humanoid she-cuties and grotesque aliens from wildly exotic gene pools), the other face turned inward, personal, soulful.

Compelling stories have always been the most natural way for us to defy our isolation and boldly make connections with others as well as with our own souls. And while it remains important for us to keep telling the old stories, it is far more significant that we notice them unfolding in the narrative of our own lives. But this takes practice, much like a poet, or a painter, or a professional must commit to a life of deep attention and even reverence for the multitude of meaning around us.

Recently, a client of mine, in the midst of a hurtful marital separation, and worrisome career transition, began buying pair after pair of trendy shoes. Other than these purchases, she exhibited no outer manifestations of her inner turmoil. At first, we were both at a loss to explain the phenomenon. Reflecting further, however, we came up with the possibility that she was equipping herself, literally and symbolically, for the next legs of her arduous life journey. She had hired me, not as therapist, counselor, mentor, or fashion consultant, but rather as her coach, to accompany her, temporarily at least, on this perilous path to help her understand the understory of the next few chapters of her life.


Acclaimed coach Rachelle Disbennett-Lee notes that "people are hiring coaches in record numbers." She cites several reasons for this: 1) people are tired of just getting by in life and are ready to undertake something special and meaningful but lack the skills and experience to know what steps to take; 2) people are less willing to settle for less and are more willing to assume risks in order to realize their aspirations; and 3) in today's economic climate, more people possess the time and resources to invest in personal growth. In essence, people are hungry for a life of meaning.

The things that we have learned from our parents, teachers, and books are still happening today. The trick is to change our perspective to one of willingness and desire to see beyond Cousineau's overstory into the understory that surrounds us at all times.


  1. Begin writing your understory because transferring it from your mind to paper is very powerful. Capture your life experiences by decades, jotting down your memories and milestones from each.
  2. Identify the connecting nerve fibers – if they are good for you, strengthen them. If they are not, sever them with your laser knife.
  3. Treat your mortal wounds, which perhaps unconsciously have festered.
  4. Begin taking mental vitamins (saying mental affirmations) to nurture the good, restore mental peace, and have mental clarity.

ABOUT Extra Ordinary Living

Taking their learning from 20+ years in corporate healthcare, Janet Crawford and David Scheiderer, MD formed Extra Ordinary Living, Inc. in 2003 with an intention of helping physicians, other healthcare professionals and their organizations identify possibilities and opportunities, remove obstacles, and ultimately, optimize results.

Usually the first question we are asked, is why Tiberius? Our trivia friends usually can identify the references……yes, Tiberius was the 2nd Roman emperor, and yes, Tiberius is the middle name of James T. Kirk from Star Trek. One of our life mottos and business principles is “to learn from the past, look to the future but live in the present;” thus, Extra Ordinary Living.

As Executive and Professional Coaches, we are trained to listen, to observe and to customize our approach to our client's needs. We provide tools, support, structure and accountability to help our clients unleash their full potential and optimize results. There are so many reasons for physicians in particular to feel disenchanted with their chosen profession, their calling. Having a coach helps them get back in touch with their passion for being a healer.

The best thing about coaching is that it is all about you and what you want. We may share our opinions and give you advice, but it is up to you to pick and choose what you want to accept. We suspend judgment and will support you in your decisions.

As Professional Speakers, our messages are inspirational while imparting useful, practical and memorable information in a fun and dynamic way to help you in your pursuit of authentic happiness, and the enjoyment of deep life experiences.


April 8, 2005
David will be presenting The Pace that Kills to participants attending the International Society of Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurses annual conference. For more information, click here, www.ispn-psych.org.

April 11, 2005
David and Janet will be the headline presenters at the Virginia Medical Group Management Association’s spring conference. Come hear David speak on the HEART of Happiness and Janet on The HEART of Leadership. For more information, click here, www.vmgma.org.

April 13, 2005
David will present The Pace that Kills for staff of Danville-Pittsylvania County Community Services. For more information, click here, www.dpcs.org.

Tiberius Rx ... written by a physician for physicians and those who love them, work with them, or befriend them, and want to enjoy deep life experiences while more effectively pursuing a life of happiness.

"Not until we tell ourselves a story can we make sense of our experience."

- Jerome Bruner


Issue 8    
Creature of Habit

Issue 9  
The Horseshoe of Habit