She drew my attention to it, with tears in her eyes. My coffee shop acquaintance – one of the people that I would love to call a friend and hope we will be one day. She reads my stories, is probably reading this (and I hope you forgive me for being inspired and humbled by you…), and said to me, ‘that one last week was heavy one, and by the way, I don’t agree with you.’
I was intrigued. I had written the story about being okay, no matter what happens. (You can read it on the blog if you missed it). I know it can be a tough pill to swallow – our pain and suffering feels so real, and it is real while we experience it.
She had a story. She didn’t want to tell me it all,, making it clear that she wasn’t ready to break down in this place, in this moment. That there was ‘truth’ in her suffering and how, in that moment, she was definitely not okay.
It was her sister’s death, just one year ago. My heart ached to hear it. No one should have to lose a loved one so young and with such suffering.
When I asked her about that moment in the hospital, she said her sister wasn’t even there any more. That she was full of the question, who am I without my sister? What world can I live in without her?
This is so painful. And yes, it’s a story. A valid one, a story that demands respect – and yet ‘a story’, one that causes so much more pain.
I’m not suggesting that stories are not the truth. They are. For as long as we choose to believe them. For as long as we tell them and live by them.
I’m not suggesting that we should ridicule or ignore our painful stories. Somehow make them into something that they are not. Yet.
But what I am saying is that our stories can create massive suffering because reality is ALWAYS kinder than the story we tell about it.
Whether it’s about your family, your relationship, your business or you financial situation. The story that makes your scared, sad, guilty or regretful – it’s real as long as you tell it but if you’re willing to inquiry, you can transform the story.
When you transform the story, your reality literally shifts.
When my father passed away, very suddenly, a few short months before my wedding – I was devastated. We all were. I couldn’t imagine my life without my Dad, I certainly couldn’t imagine my wedding without him.
Over the next weeks and months I told myself incredibly painful stories. About how much he had suffered. And how he was all alone. About how much he missed. And it took a long time for me to realize that these stories are not true. I can’t possibly know if they are true or not. And all the stories serve to do is keep me in pain.
Now of course I still miss my Dad. Every day. And yet when I shifted the stories to the ones about him, in his life, his character, his foibles, his personality, the moments with him that I remember or that others tell me – then I remember him with joy. And I am happy to bring him back to life – and I am alive and celebrating him and life.
It’s a completely different story. And it literally shifts my reality.
Does this make sense? What story can you shift in order to ease out of pain and suffering? Leave a comment and share.