I remember how I lived in college -- it was very much a continuing story for me. I constantly thought of where I'd been and where I was headed. I'd plan everything based on where I thought I should be in 6, 8, even 12 months from then. It was a hard way to live, and it took years to break myself of that habit.
Nowadays, I seldom think past current times, but I still find myself getting caught up in the story. Tolle describes it like a duck with a human mind: a duck is enjoying his pond when there's another duck who tries to share it. The duck doesn't like it, so he flaps his wings to scare the other duck away. The other duck moves to another part of the pond, and the two continue peacefully. But if he had a human mind, the duck would watch the other duck and seethe, perhaps planning on their next encounter and what he might do differently...and yeah, this is such a human thing to do.
Letting go is such a challenge, and sometimes I feel like I go into every situation with certain people with the history of every single meeting on my mind -- and worse, because I'll also include everything that could have happened. My MIL is one of those people who seems to bring this out in me. All I have to hear is that she's coming, and I feel every muscle in my body tense...and what I truly want is to be able to let all our past go (along with my worries about what could be coming) and just live in the moment.
I'm working on it. :) How do you 'let go' of your stories with challenging people in your life?