I do believe that we create our own reality, be it heaven or hell, from our thoughts and feelings. However, I do not believe that, if something gets screwed up in life, it’s our fault. Life events happen, good and bad, for a very complex set of reasons, so we surely are not responsible for the bad stuff that comes along at times in everyone’s life. Instead, we create our reality by interpreting the meaning of life events and then finding evidence to support our personal “story” about it, as though it was true.
If I am in a place of fear, my story doesn’t have a happy ending. In fact, it spreads, like a virus of doom, through my mind until soon everything seems pretty bad. The good news is that I don’t have to accept my brain’s natural tendency to look for the worst-case scenario as the gospel truth. Instead, I can look at what is actually here in the moment. I can have an intentional conversation with myself that goes something like this, “Wow, I don’t like this. This hurts. How can I be kind to myself right now? What else is true right now? ” Usually, the negative event is only part of the whole picture. Being kind to myself when I feel upset allows me to move to a place in my mind where I remember that there is more to life than the negative story I have created.
Recently, I was frantic upon discovering that I was half an hour late to catch my plane. My brain and body went into “danger" mode, complete with rapid heart rate and respiration, trembling hands, and a host of negative thoughts about what it would mean if I missed the flight. “How could I be so stupid?” “I am going to lose my job.” “I will have to pay back hundreds of dollars” "If I don’t lose my job, they will never pay for a flight for me again” “I won’t be able to get home”. My ability to reason had fled the country.
In my rush to the airport, I managed to lose my wallet and my phone in two different places. I could not call for help. I could not pay taxi fare. I had no ID to board my next flight the following morning. I was on a ship of hysteria that was sinking fast. In a daze, I started walking aimlessly, dragging my suitcase.
Suddenly, from somewhere deep inside, I remembered that I have the power to choose my focus. I stopped in the middle of the sidewalk and asked myself, “What do I really want right now?” The answer was clear, “I want to have both my wallet and my ID back again so I can go home.” At that very moment, my friend drove by. She stopped to check on me. I used her phone to track down my missing items which, miraculously, had ended up in the same place. I was able to retrieve them that same evening and be on my way.
Looking at this incident later, I realized that I had changed my story about what happened. Had I kept the original one, I might have been wandering the streets for hours until my husband called the police to look for me. Instead, the matter was taken care of within three hours of the event.
What negative story are you holding onto? It might be about the wrong someone did toward you or the wrong you did toward someone else. It might be a story that someone else made up about how limited or fragile or inadequate you are. You might be playing out your negative story this minute and feeling miserable.
But what if your original story was never true? What if the event was the result of causes beyond your control or a natural consequence of things you had learned and acted upon unknowingly?
You can avoid living out an unhappy story over and over again. What would you like to experience or believe or intend instead? Daydream about your new story until you can feel how good it feels. Then let it go. Don’t worry about how or when it will happen. Find something fun to do while the components of your new story come to you. And they will.
Our minds can create something out of nothing. We are expert at “making a mountain out of a mole hill”. The cool thing is that the opposite is also true. We can re-create our circumstances by visualizing and feeling the reality of a new series of events that will take us where we want to go, no matter where where we think we are right now.
My perspective is that we have nothing to lose and much to gain if we throw our wishes and dreams out into the world, along with a bit of faith and one small step of action, to see what comes out of the mix. I like happy-ending stories. I enjoy letting go of the fear that the world and I are hopelessly screwed up. It’s so much fun to see how the new story plays itself out.
Play around with this idea. Change your story and see what happens.