Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Look Ma! No Stories!

Over the last few years, I’ve done a lot of work on myself and figured out some really cool and simple truths. The one that is hitting me most right now is that the events in your life and your THOUGHTS about the events are two different things. I think this comes from my practice of doing The Work (from Byron Katie’s book and The whole idea of that practice is to teach yourself to step back from whatever is going on and sort out the difference between what is really happening (the event) and what you are thinking and believing about it (your stories).

Guess which one of those things makes your life miserable or ecstatic? Need help deciding? Here’s my current example: In two months, I am losing my job, again. My position is being eliminated because a new VP came in with a different vision than the person who hired me and I’m apparently not part of that vision. That’s an event set in the future that I was told about last week. However, right now as I look out my open window at the tree swaying in the breeze and listen to the birds chirping in the sun, what’s the problem? Right now, I have a job, a house, etc. The weather is gorgeous too. Right about now you ought to be reading this and thinking about a million bad things that can happen to me financially and otherwise after I’m cut loose. Me too! However, those are the stories. The layoff is the event. The stories in our heads about how I might lose my income and all that goes with that, and how I have no real goals or direction in my life anymore are just that, stories. They are not true right NOW. The sun still shines and the tree still sways in the breeze whether I’m thinking about those horrible things or whether I am just looking at the tree. That’s what is true.

Unfortunately, events are hard to change especially if they happened in the past. I still have time to alter the course of my employment with this company (which I like), and I am trying but I have no control over any of it. However, my emotions about this are also not something I can control. Emotions are like weather, and that’s a great thing because when was the last time you saw a thunderstorm last forever? The sun always comes eventually, and so does the rain. Neither of them stay for long.

There is a lot of freedom in that. Whatever I am feeling will pass. All I have to do is feel and understand. Questioning the stories that arise about the event also helps dissipate the negative feelings much more quickly. Neither the events nor the emotions can be avoided forever. Shit is always going to happen. It’s how you deal with it that matters.

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