REWRITE: Changing the Stories in Our Minds

Do I have to be feeling the way I am feeling right now?  Are the assumptions and stories making me feel this way necessary and true?

I’ve been asking myself these and similar questions a lot lately, especially during some times of heavy duty transition.  Triggering not so charming but attention-getting physical symptoms of stress, and the accompanying pals of impatience, anxiety, anger, rigidity, inadequacy….

What I notice is with heightened awareness and  practice, I have been able, at times 🙂 to turn things around and upside down after examining what’s going on. Letting go of the groundless or unhelpful garbage/stories and creating new tales that foster a sense of ease, acceptance, positivity.

Synchronistically, I came across an article by the redoubtable Dr. Brene Brown (“The Unreliable Narrator,” O, The Oprah Magazine, September 2015, p. 215) about just this “unconscious storytelling that leaves us stuck.”  And I would say a whole lot less grounded, contented, hopeful.

Brown sets forth a practice of checking in with the body (ah, yes!  the oh-so-wise body: parenthetical comment-mine);  exploring the underlying tales causing our reactions; writing down our “stories,” and digging more deeply into those tales, including about what we are really experiencing…and masking.  Vulnerability, anyone?

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Is it hard work?  Heck, yeah! But so fruitful and freeing if we do the heavy lifting…something you no doubt already know.

Also synchronistically, I had a conversation with a sweet acquaintance of mine, in which I offered feedback about a joint endeavor.  My comments were lavishly positive about the acquaintance, but identified how other parts of the project might be boosted. Sadly, she repeatedly and severely disparaged her own performance, even though I repeatedly and enthusiastically complimented her on all of her contributions.

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Finally, after the fifth or sixth go round, she said she understood that I wasn’t criticizing her. But, boy, did she do a number on herself in the meantime.  Reminding me of the innumerable times I have done something similar, usually based on a myth I’ve told myself so relentlessly, I’ve become unaware of its existence let alone its potency.

Funny how the rewriting and editing phase is the one so many of us writers and artists pay too short shrift.  Just like all people creating the art that is their lives: The revisiting and rewriting are key…and so dang difficult!  Requiring insight, honesty and courage.

Here’s to that infuriating, agonizing, essential process of rewriting our flawed, unhelpful fictions.  And here’s to the brand spanking new epics we can create to set sail on spacious seas!

“Perhaps all the dragons in our lives are princesses who are only waiting to see us act, just once, with beauty and courage. Perhaps everything that frightens us is, in its deepest essence, something helpless that wants our love.”~Rainer Maria Rilke

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Photo credit: Top-Essennelle Studios

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16 Responses to REWRITE: Changing the Stories in Our Minds

  1. Beautiful, sensitive, insightful post. The Rilke quotation is revealing, especially if we apply it to our inner selves. It is, indeed, difficult to revise and edit,not only our written work,but ourselves.

  2. SirenaTales says:

    …brought a lump **to**my throat

  3. Thoughful. Helpful. Again.

  4. Heartafire says:

    Lovely , lovely…thank you for the beautiful quote by Rilke, a favorite of mine.

  5. Luggage Lady says:

    My Dearest Chloe, this resonated so deeply…Indeed, as we create the art that IS our lives, we must turn our hearts and souls inside-out (or so it feels) to do it justice. YET the constant banter of those internal dragons and external critics (many of whom I invent!) can be the gravest threat to productivity. I struggle constantly…Thank you for this insightful, courage-boosting, & inspiring post!! xo

  6. SirenaTales says:

    “…as we create the art that IS our lives, we must turn our hearts and souls inside out (or so it feels) to do it justice…..” What an eloquent and spot on description, LL! Thank you so, so much for all of the honesty and courage you practice so valiantly, my beautiful friend, as well as your amazinh kindness to me.

    Here’s to the lessening of the struggles and the burgeoning of our possibilities….Love and hugs to you….

  7. SirenaTales says:

    Reblogged this on Sirena Tales and commented:

    Time for some major rewriting…of antiquated tales…so cozily familiar… and lulling, encumbering. REWRITE! REWRITE!

  8. Rachael says:

    Lovely moving piece, Chloe. And that Rilke quote? Magical xxx

  9. Lorien says:

    LOVED THIS! And I love Brené Brown. I stumbled across her work when I was browsing Audible titles and have listened to her Sounds True recording of The Power of Vulnerability several times. And as far as rewriting, hear hear! It’s crazy to note the number of times I have replayed the same sickening memory and felt the same sickening sensation in my body. What a waste of life energy. I need an on the spot practice for dealing with the painful memories. I love writing stuff down, and have been an avid journal writer for decades–but I often don’t have the moment organized in such a way that I could drop everything and write. Maybe I can keep a list of recurring awful stories and then bring the list to my journal when I have more time. Or do a voice recording? Hmmmm. How about this nice little factoid that I came across a while ago: Scientists estimate we all have around 60,000 thoughts every day, 95% of which are recycled. Of those, 80% are negative, which amounts to 45,000 negative thoughts every day. YIKES! So yes, for most of us, a great deal of rewriting is in order. Ready, set, GO!

    • SirenaTales says:

      YES: Here’s to no more replaying of the same sickening memories! That “nice little factoid” is chilling…thanks so much for such inspiration to get going more seriously on the rewriting part. I also appreciate your musings about how better to implement a rewriting practice–very helpful. As always, my friend, so lovely to hear from with you, and with such insight and light. xoxo

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