Reimagining our story

I am really enjoying Stan Grant’s reading of his book Australia Day. As a deep thinker and journalist who seems to have a strong interest in philosophy and particularly, Carl Jung I find some of his insights into our human condition so interesting and they mirror a lot of my own. In the chapter I am currently listening too he mentions a quote by Salman Rushdie :

“Those who do not have power over the story that dominates their lives, power to retell it, to rethink it, deconstruct it, joke about it, and change it as times change, truly are powerless.”

I guess this is the power of therapy for those of us who have had painful lives and experiences. I also believe though that so much of what happens to us affects us on an organic level and at the level of our body, and the interconnection between the mind and the body is both a complex and powerful one, for it is how we relate to our reactions, triggered in a body that affects our fate and life and experience. And it is the sense that we are able to make of experiences, most especially painful ones which often affects our level of resilience, as well as our capacity to on some level transcend or transform the ‘sting’ or mark of that particular experience.

There are all kinds of ‘stories’ we can tell ourselves about ourselves, other people and what happened to them and us, and sometimes we don’t even take the time to explore or wonder about that, especially where other people are concerned.

I was also thinking today that being stuck in our experience or negatively slanted retelling of our life story on an unconscious level, is in many ways a lot like being held prisoner. Some of us can be held prisoner by ‘ghost stories’. I love the Coldplay album of that name which was released after Chris Martin and Gwenyth Paltrow separated, some of the songs which deal with separation and loss really cut to the heart of me when I first heard the album one Christmas, quiet a long time after it was released.

I think one of the most important powers and purposes of artistic expression lies in our capacity to retell of the impact of experiences and people that deeply affected, hurt or changed us in some way. Art gives us a field and medium of exploration within which to mull over these things, perhaps to release associated emotions as well as seeks ways to revision and reimagine or reconstitute the experience. Sometimes that retelling will be done with a negative slant, at other times with a positive one, at times our expression may give voice to how mired we feel in the weight of it all, it may speak of our longing for release, our wish for it to be different or of the longing such experiences negated or generated.

Our deep psyche is probably always seeking ways to relate to what has happened to us, our body may often be throwing up signals as memories are triggered. It is something Michael Signer talks about in his book The Untethered Soul and it is something I experience all the time.

Just this morning I was taken back to a very painful experience where my last partner drove off and left me in the middle of nowhere on the side of the road during a trip through Portsmouth in the south of Australia, after an argument. It was not the first time this happened as my first boyfriend did this too and curiously they were both Sun sign Capricorns, I was actually pregnant the first time. That experience for some reason was triggered this morning after Scott texted me and I was in a bit of a trauma/abandonment/accident ‘melange’ which I often experience on the borderline of sleeping and waking.

Lately it seems to me that meditation and breath work seem to be the most powerful tools to help me deal with my own experiences and the associated ‘stories’ that emerge when trigged. Validating where I am, too and linking it back to earlier experiences is something that was touched on in a post I shared yesterday from last year about emotional validation. Our capacity to recognise when past experiences associated with certain ‘schemas’ say of abandonment or helplessness are triggered and not to get ‘captured’ by a meaning that will limit our capacity to respond in the present rather than just ‘react’ out of old unconscious patterns also seems important.

We can also use empathy to imagine how the ‘stories’ or lives or experiences of others at times impact our own and this may help us to see that what happens interpersonally is not always personal or deliberate or intentionally caused by them or us. This kind of perspective may give us a kind of freedom to find new ways of relating to that experience which make us feel like we have more power in our lives, or at the very minimum over our responses and retelling of the abuse, trigger, trauma or event

I just went off to eat lunch and while I was eating I began re reading a chapter on Self Love in Louise Hay’s book, The Power Is Within You and in the chapter she speaks of how hurtful self criticism is to our soul and how painful it is for us to keep scaring ourselves over and over with the things we tell ourselves. I thought of it in connection with this blog that I am writing because the truth is that based on things that hurt us in the past, we can transfer all kinds of negative expectations on to the future and other people. I know in my own life the power I have to criticise and scare myself and how early in the morning this torturing self imposed ‘litany’ can start up. Louise claims that even if we want to change and know we have faults, criticising ourselves and scaring ourselves over and over with certain stories or dialogues will never lead to positive change and it will often keep us trapped to in lack of forgiveness.

In my own life lately I get inner messages more often telling me that in my life things, no matter how bad they often look all happened for a reason and purpose. I am not here to be punished and its not up to me to dole out punishment towards others if they fail or let me down, often it seems to me that so much hurt comes out of unconsciousness and unconsciousness can be helped by making or being on the receiving end of suffering or so called ‘mistakes’ which help to show me a better way to go. I see that even those people who hurt or irritated me or others were doing the best they could with their level of development or consciousness.

Telling myself the ‘story’ that at all times I can learn more, grow, change, see things from a renewed perspective seems to give me a greater sense of freedom and a less depressive take on things. When I am no longer ‘scaring’ myself so much I see that at any time even though I have no power to change the past or other people there is always a more helpful and peaceful way to look on life and experience, and that I do have the capacity to create a new story that does not have to dismiss any of the powerful and painful experiences of my past and that the poison or sting of such things can in time become a strong antidote or medicine that helps me make better choices next time.

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