“I came to love my life.” I read this sentence in Natalie Goldberg‘s Old Friend from Far Away. The words jumped off the page and went straight into my heart. Knowing I don’t always love my life as I want to, I wonder what keeps me from fulfilling this desire.
Everything that has happened in my life has contributed to where I am and who I am. I can’t pick what was bad and what was good because it was all just a part of the whole.
I’ve experienced many traumas in my life, made a lot of stupid choices, have had a few failed relationships, a lot of self-deprecation, and different kinds and levels of abuse. I’ve suffered rape at gunpoint, shame, scapegoating, rejection, abandonment, and intense insecurity. But it was all part of my experience.
My life has been a series of experiences. It’s been what has made up my narrative, my story-how I think and feel about people, places, things, and myself. To make any of it wrong or right is to make my life wrong or right.
Holding the thought, “I came to love my life,” helps me see life differently. What will it take for me to love my life every minute of every day? What will it take for me to quit creating little compartments to put what’s good and what isn’t into?
How do I get past the story that runs in my head about my experiences? How do I remember to practice mindfulness and to bring awareness to all of life? How do I continuously practice stepping back so I can have a clearer view, then leaning into whatever is there? How do I see each experience as an opportunity to be present without judgment.
It is easy for me to sink into a place of feeling not good enough. I know too well the feeling of being inadequate and somehow trying to find a place to hide that shame.
As I cried the above questions to Spirit, the answers began to form within me.
Stay mindful and aware. Continue to bring presence to your moments.
Pay attention to your story and be willing to rewrite your script.
Remove all judgment from your life and see that everything just is what it is.
As I pay close attention to the narrative that runs through my head, I see how my life runs by what I tell myself. My story dominates me and pushes and pulls me from highs to lows, from joy to sorrow, from peace to anger, and from power to victim.
The truth is, “I am not my story.” The more I practice paying attention to the thoughts that create the lows, sorrow, anger, and victimhood, the clearer I see the challenge that is before me.
Whatever I say life is drives my feelings. I see this and know this but like an addict hooked on heroin I keep getting caught up in my story. I fall into it like a blind woman falling into a well. Before I know it I’m spiraling down and confusion and fear are waiting for me on the periphery. It’s like being captured and held within a small space.
I had an experience last week that crystallized what I am talking about. For the second time in three weeks my husband was let go from another job due to lack of work. His last two jobs have been through a temp agency. If he is kept on the job for 500 hours he will be hired by the company.
The first job came to an end 20 hours before he reached his being hired status. They ran out of work so the last three men brought into the company were let go. Four days later, he was sent to another company with the same deal. For almost three weeks he worked mandatory overtime because the work load was so heavy. Then out of the blue they called and told him the job was over because they were caught up and they did not need him now.
I felt panic, which is not like me. I went to bed that night and fell asleep easily, but woke up at 3:30 and could not go back to sleep. I was filled with fear. My thoughts were running through my head like a runaway horse. There were no more jobs available and we were going to wind up on the street with nowhere to go. One thought led to another and I finally had to get out of bed.
I made myself a cup of Sleepytime tea and settled myself on the couch so I could take some deep breaths. After a short while I started writing and the more I wrote the clearer I saw that I’d been hooked again. I brought awareness to the situation and noticed my attachment to feeling safe, having enough money to meet our needs, and being surrounded by my things.
These “things” make me feel secure in my world. There is nothing wrong with any of this except my attachment to it. Thinking my life would be over without my security blanket is what was driving my fear.
I knew I needed to be present to my sense of helplessness and panic. Once I let go of right and wrong and opt out of the narrative that was running through my mind, I was back in a place of peace.
I am clear on the importance of reminding myself that I am not my story. My commitment and desire is to continue to make a conscious choice to love my life. It is what I came here to do.
How about you? Is there anything keeping you from loving your life? What is your story? Can you take a step back and see that what you tell yourself is just the narrative you have created from your life experiences? We can rewrite our script and reframe life.
- Self-Narrative (Those Voices In Your Head) (rrsahm.com)