My life is literally an open book, and for those who have read it, you most certainly know that the last few years have been challenging, to say the least. But, I would actually say that the things that have happened and that I experienced during that time were not the most difficult things I had to deal with. Even more challenging than the events themselves were my responses to them and how I decided to tell the stories of those events.
Our stories are what shape our reality. All of who we are is narrative, the stories we tell ourselves and others about who we are and how we came to be that person. How we tell the stories will most certainly shape our memory. And, our memory, has a lot to do with who we become as a result of those experiences. Many times we don’t have any control over the things that happen to us, but we do have control over how we respond to them, how we story them, and how we remember them. We decide when our stories begin and when and how they end. Where we begin and end our stories, how them are punctuated in our memory, where we place the period, makes a profound difference.
The period, the end of the story, gives it finality in our memory. This is what happened, we tell ourselves or our listener. This is what happened, this is how I responded. Period. And when we retell the story, we repeatedly stop at the same wall, the same spot. The end, we say or think, and by doing so stunt our growth. We stop ourselves dead in our tracks.
Removing the period and letting our experiences flow past their original ending, allows us to remove their finality. If we add a comma, instead of a period, we can actually learn from our experiences. The impact they have can become a positive part of who we become. Letting go allows us to grow. It provides us the opportunity to add meaning, to discover a lesson, to admire our courage and strength, to forgive. Letting go allows for profound possibility.
It is a challenge to do this, though, because our challenges and our injuries often define who they are. Not because that is simply what they do, but because that is what we allow them to do. We feel justified in our hurt and in our hard feelings, as if the callous we allow to develop will protect us from the next hurt. But that callous or shell that protects our heart from pain, also shields our heart from the many positive feelings coming its way.
Letting go keep our heart open and soft, and as fragile and vulnerable as that makes us, there is simply no other way to be alive in this.