Behavior is the mirror in which everyone shows their image. ~Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe Stories…everyone has them. What is a story? I like to define stories as events that were big enough emotionally to create a pattern of thought and/or behavior. They can arise from something as simple as your mom not getting you a candy bar at the store to something as severe as abuse. How is this so, you may ask? Stories and symbols are how we first make sense of the world around us. As humans, we first think in symbol, and then we find the language or words to make sense of and communicate our experience. This is why baby sign language works so well at staving off the “terrible two’s.” For children that are taught sign language at an early age, they tend not to undergo some of the worst part of what have been deemed the “terrible two’s” because they don’t experience the frustration of being unable to communicate. Their language centers have not really developed yet, but they can understand far more than many people will give them credit for. In fact, we understand far more than we even give ourselves credit for. Think of how many experiences you have had that are really ineffable and how you struggled with the words to communicate them. Each experience we have is so full and rich with information. At all times there are millions of bits of information to be taken in, yet our brains and our awareness can only consciously process approximately 2000 bits of information at any given moment. If you can member back to being a child, think of how big everything looked. Most things are like that to children, including their emotions and their imaginations. An emotional event can seem huge to a child. What may not seem like much to us adults may indeed be something quite eventful for a child. It is these “wounds” or emotional traumas that we carry with us into adulthood. Most adults are really just wounded children walking around in adult bodies, living adult lives, and reliving those same stories that keep showing up in different forms. What I mean by this is that it does not matter what is taking place, so much as how it is taking place. The events in our lives that we emotionally react to remind us of similar events in childhood, that we have imbalanced perceptions around. Our emotions are one of the best barometers for showing us how far out of balance our thoughts or perceptions are. Many times, we react to an event/situation, it is simply reminding us of an earlier event in our lives where we made something up that wasn’t quite true. (There are number of other reasons we react to people and situations, but this is the primary one) This story that we made up in our minds, becomes a well-worn neural pathway by the time we become adults. It just turns into part of the background noise in our minds as adults, manifesting in such ways as anxiety, depression, consistent blaming, complaining, criticizing and making of excuses, physical dis-eases, and mental dis-orders. These are the resultant of years of running the same story in our minds without our even being aware. Awareness is the key word here. Awareness creates space to make a conscious choice. When we bring the light of our awareness to the stories, they no longer make our choices for us. We can recognize the feeling and understand the story behind it. For many, these stories are the secrets we keep from ourselves. When we find ourselves feeling the same way over and over again, in different situations, that is a clue that there is a story there. Emotion is just a reflection of mind in the body. When you feel something other than gratitude, balance, calm, or unconditional love, it is time to ask some questions: 1) What is the thought behind this feeling? (i.e.-What is the cause behind this effect?) 2) Have I ever felt this way before? When? 3) What is it I would like to feel instead? (With this question, seeking the opposite will just bring what you don’t like closer to you. What we run from, we run right into.) So, this would bring us back to gratitude, calm, or unconditional love as our answer. 4) What action can I take to change this? 5) If I cannot take an action, how can I change my perception? 6) What am I making up? What is true and not true? Some examples of stories I have heard from clients are as follows: “I don’t matter”, “I did something “wrong” and don’t deserve love”, “I failed”, “I’m stupid”, “I’m alone”, “No one can help me”, “It is not okay to be myself”. If you take notice, these are also many people’s deepest fears, so deep, that they don’t even notice them because they are the stories that have been running since we were little kids. When we bring our awareness to these stories, we can bring understanding and gratitude to them as well. When we are grateful for even the worst of stories, then we can transcend them and move forward. These stories never go away, but with our awareness, we get to consciously choose the thoughts that we want to feed. Whatever we give our attention to expands/grows. When we have awareness around a story, we can choose not to feed it and choose a better, more balanced thought and/or action. In doing this, the original story, or operating system, as I like to call it, has less and less of a hold on you. Doing this can get us out of feeling stuck in certain ways of doing, being, and feeling in this world. To do this however, one must be committed to some serious self-reflection and understanding. It means confronting your demons, fully feeling the thing you don’t want to feel or that scares you, and owning them through personal responsibility and gratitude. Many people have a challenging time arriving at this place on their own. That is why it would be advised to seek the assistance of a professional such as myself, or anyone else that is well-suited to guide you through the process of really knowing yourself and being grateful for your life. It is a process that anyone can learn, but it takes time and practice, just like any other discipline. Disciplining, quieting and being responsible for our minds, is probably one the single greatest tasks set before the human race. When we have peace within our minds, and our Beings, that is when we will see it flourish in the world around us. How we “see” the world is how we get it back. If we see it unconsciously through the filters of our many stories, that is what the world will give us back, until we learn to love them, until we learn to love what is. That is when we can get out of our own way, and allow life to flow through us; that is when we own our experience and reside in gratitude more and more; that is when we choose to grow up and reclaim our innocence and our open and loving hearts. We can only love it when we truly understand it. True understanding comes when we can see that there are just as many benefits as there are drawbacks to any situation. When we know the balance, we can understand and be grateful. Gratitude comes when you truly feel and understand that you would have never received the benefits of that situation if you hadn’t experienced it the way you had. That is why everything is as it should be. The universe seeks equilibrium, balance, and unconditional love. Our stories will continue to show up in our lives in different forms that cause us to react or feel the same way until we are able to love and be grateful for them. In combination with our awareness of the story we were making up, there becomes space to choose how you want to feel and what you want to think. If you do not consciously fill the space you have created with your awareness, the pattern/story will come rushing in to fill it; it wants to live too. Make time today to choose what you are going feed with your attention and awareness. To connect with your awareness, you can do this simple exercise. This exercise will connect you to that part of yourself that people refer to as the Observer. It is that part of yourself that is beyond the thinking mind. First, close your eyes and just silently watch or observe your mind. Observe your breathing. Then become aware of your thoughts. Now, become aware that you are aware. What part of you is aware that you are aware? That is the part of you that is beyond the thinking mind. You have just connected to your awareness. Others call it the Silent Witness, or the Observer. Play with this a bit. You can take it out several levels. For example, become aware that you are aware, that you are aware. Or just sit and take time to connect to your awareness and observe the thoughts that traverse your mindscape. See which one’s are serving your best self and those, which are not, and then choose the thoughts you want and cultivate more of them.]]>