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?
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.
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
Photo credit: Top-Essennelle Studios