There are so many things that happen throughout our lives to enhance (or sabotage) destiny. While some are born with a silver spoon in their mouths, others may suffer at the hands of people they love. In either case, and those not mentioned, our stories start from the moment we take our first breath until the day we take our last. But what if you could rewrite history and change some things? Would you?
Have you ever caught yourself telling an elaborate tale without thinking: one that you have shared a thousand times, with emphasis in all the right places and a sprinkle of added drama? We all do it, but how do you speak the truth without getting sucked into the vortex of negativity? One word: Detach.
After sharing a small part of my story on Facebook, my mother "checked in on me" to make sure I was okay. In her mind, something terrible must have happened for me to share such a painful memory on social media. Her assumption, however, was 100% inaccurate. Besides addressing an awkward moment to shed light on a sensitive issue, I have never been happier. Why? Because that occurrence, along with many others like them, is no longer part of my narrative.
Disengaging from a story doesn't mean forgetting the past; it's merely a way to unfasten the pain. When we share unpleasant memories, we often assign negative affirmations to them. We tell ourselves we are not — kind, intelligent, witty, attractive, etc. --enough, and believe this to be true. But it is possible to relive the past without experiencing discomfort, and it's as simple as making a choice.
Long ago, sitting in a large room with hundreds of other lost souls, each of whom had just finished writing their story, we were directed to read aloud to the person sitting behind us — repeatedly — until we "got it." Without spoiling any details for someone who may be attending this workshop, I can tell you that I understood, almost immediately, what they meant. Though every one of my remarks was factual, none of them were real because they no longer existed. That part of my life was a story, with plot twists and colorful characters, and every time I told it, my heart grew heavy. Surprisingly, after reading my notes to a complete stranger, all of the weight from thirty-odd years of misery disappeared. My only regret is not saving the paper trail that led me to today.
We all need reminders to keep us in check. Regardless of what I have learned about detaching from the past, old habits die hard. I still find myself getting caught up in emotion, sharing cliff notes of things I wish I could forget with people who already know how it ends. The trick is to catch yourself before you forget the difference between past, present, future, and NOW. Acknowledging what happened in the past is fine, as long as you realize that it isn't happening in the moment.
While it may not be possible to bury emotional baggage, shaking the cobwebs off the shit we pack inside ourselves is a necessary step in healing. Doing so will lighten the load if you remove all the strings attached. My advice: Cut the cord to your story, stop making it personal, and learn to forgive. Bad things happen, but it does not make you less of a person when they do, so why tell yourself otherwise?
The only thing that matters is the moment in front of you. There is no point searching for inner peace if you're going to let the past distract you from experiencing it.