Saturday, January 2, 2010

Releasing Your Negative Story

Perhaps you've noticed people love to tell their "stories." By a story I mean a “litany of sorrows.” Perhaps you've even done this yourself.

They'll list their current problems or history of hurts. They may label or identify themselves by one of these injuries: "I am a recovering Catholic." "My husband left me." "I am an abuse survivor." And on the litany goes. It seems very important that we (as the listener) understand all the pain and suffering they’ve been subjected to throughout their lives.

By witnessing this (and observing myself doing it on occasion), I've come to the awareness that this may be nothing more than our ego self desiring to be acknowledged, to be heard. The ego likes attention, even thrives on pity. It sends out broadcast after broadcast, urging us to speak our litany of sorrows aloud to whomever we need to bring closer to us. By speaking our litany, we receive a payoff of some kind.  Perhaps it’s an, “I’m so sorry you had to go through that,” a hug, or perceived acceptance.

Granted, an initial expression of our litany can foster healing when we've been hurt; understanding, even compassion on the part of others. But to repeat our negative stories again and again may not. Instead, we create a prison of our own making. By continually reliving our negative stories, we may disempower ourselves. We stay small, trapped in hurt, unable to embody a bright, new version of ourselves.

Reliving our negative stories also causes low vibration feelings to predominate. As we re-experience the bad feelings associated with our history, our vibration may spiral downward. If we focus on these feelings we have no energy to think higher, or to move ahead. Low-vibration thoughts and feelings take us nowhere. Again, we find ourselves stuck.

I have come to identify this process as “running your tape.”  Running our tape, telling the same pain-filled story over and over again, is nothing more than an Ego Broadcast. Nothing more than a blast from a noisy inner radio station that wants your attention, and the attention (and sympathy) of others. There must come a time when each of us begins to choose differently. We can say to our ego and its broadcast, “No thanks. I’m choosing something better for myself!”

Making a new choice such as this is a profound moment of awakening. Now, we can begin to choose our happiness, our inner peace, our joy. We de-select being a victim, listening to the tape, reciting the litany of sorrows, and by doing so, we choose LIFE. We are now choosing who we want to be in the next moment, instead of it being chosen for us.

For our healing and growth in the Spirit, we must choose to let go of anything that keeps us disconnected from our spirit selves, especially our litany of sorrows. Our spirit’s (and the Divine's) greatest desire is for us to be physically and emotionally free to be all that we can be. Perhaps, for you, dear reader, that time has come.  So here are the steps for letting go, very simply put:

Become the Observer
Begin to notice the thoughts that you’re thinking. Pay attention to the tape that is running in your mind, the one that causes you to relive your story of hurt and pain. Notice how bad you feel when you listen to that story. Notice how the low vibration of remembering and repeating the story affects the quality of your daily life. Is it keeping you angry, bitter or drained?

Uncover Why You Are Running Your Tape
Be honest with yourself and ask: What is it I’m hoping to gain by telling my story again? What is the payoff for me? Do I want someone to like me, to feel sorry for me, or give me affection?  Hold yourself in compassion while you are discerning this. This is a very big step toward disconnecting from the ego and its power over you.

Make a New Choice
Acknowledge the tape that is running about your story, then choose to release it. Admit that holding onto it might be keeping you from moving forward. Then, let it go. Continue to notice when the tape is running (anytime you have a strong urge to speak your litany to someone), then make a conscious decision not to speak it in that moment. Again, let it go.

In time, this process will get easier.  The temptation to speak your woundedness will come less and less often as you keep your vibration infused with positive new thoughts and feelings, focusing on the good choices you are making for yourself.

It requires a strong commitment to live as our truest selves, especially when we have been governed (up until now) by our human operating system, by the ego and its negative orientation. Personal happiness, meaningful work, success, true love, are latent within each of us, housed in our Spirit identity. The key to bringing them up to the surface of our being so they are more prominent in our everyday lives requires vigilance.  We must continually become the observer of our own thoughts and feelings, then make appropriate choices to reorient ourselves toward thoughts, feelings, and actions that align us with our highest selves, the Divine, and others. We must choose Spirit again and again.  

When we do, life is no longer a frustrating game, but a Spirit-filled adventure in BECOMING.

As always, I welcome your thoughts ...

And in 2010, may you release any story that might be keeping you from living as YOUR truest self!


You're invited! Beginning Sunday, January 3 at my other blog, Awake Is Good, I'll be hosting a 28-Day Meditation Challenge. 

If you are someone who has struggled with meditation, or has difficulty staying faithful to the process, join our virtual sangha for tips, insights, and support. I"ll have special guest experts, book giveaways, a timely free teleconference, and more!

Stillness and greater inner peace can be yours. It's just a click away!


Sharmila said...

Jan- this is so beautiful what you shared and very impactful for the early days of 2010! Thank you for your honest courage to take the lead in this for all of us! ;) I have noticed this more and more lately and have started being more careful not to play out the old, while I'm recreating the new! Also I am being more observant to not be so quick to apologize when it is not necessary. Sometimes we don't give ourselves enough space to live without feeling bound to a routine that never suited us in the first place (like responding to email or even sometimes being a few days late for something that matters but can still come in natural unfolding, but it certainly is not the end of the world to reveal our flaws and to take time out for self-care) I'm determined to show myself a greater kindness and compassion this year so that I don't have to worry about telling a story to receive the payback of "what i'm not giving myself".. it seems silly actually, doesn't it? I'd rather cut to the chase and lavish on the love, then go out into the world without expectation and return to my cozy den at night to tuck my inner child in with loving approval that has never left me.
Blessings to you into this happy new year!
I love the part where you shared:
We must choose Spirit again and again,.. how true this is! constantly aligning is what I commit to doing more of this year.. Also I wanted to share that in your last post where you talked about 'morning infusion'.. oh my those words have stuck with me and I adore it! Now, I tell myself,I need my morning infusion and it entices me to wake up more delightfully rather than hide under the covers! so Thank-you! :)
hugs, Jen

Jan said...

Sharmila (Jenn),
Your words truly touch my heart. Your noticings about yourself and the stories you may be repeating (internally and externally) are powerful! It's amazing how quickly our lives can change when we let go of these ties that bind us, holding us back from living as our truest selves. Freedom truly is our destiny.

And so glad the morning infusion routine resonates with you. I love when that happens. Good luck with yours. May your mornings be blessed!

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Jan - I know I do go on sometimes about my Ma and before about my Uncle & the troubles I've had there - not just their illnesses ..but I also spend more time talking to others about their lives.

The running your tape scenario I can relate to and it's definitely something I try not to do.

A major personal hassle won't get much attention from me - I'm able to move on quite easily ..fortunately.

I have to say I hate running tape scenarios .. some people do it anyway - it's focussing on themselves and not relating to the person they are talking to .. I try and get away then!

Woundedness is a 'good' word - but one we definitely don't need to dwell on.

Thanks .. looking forward to the meditation 28 days .. - seems like you've got loads of supporters - excellent news ...
Hilary Melton-Butcher
Positive Letters Inspirational Stories

twila said...

Wonderful post. I've been noticing my thought patterns for several years now and it has been very liberating to be released from so many negative stories!! Plus, I've been so happy to identify what I call Aunt Gertrude...the negative, berating voice that is so hard on me.

Another thing that helps me is to do a body-scan. Am I holding tension anywhere? If I am, it is almost always because of negative inner conversation. I seem to hold a lot of tension in my gets knotted up and I notice this more and more quickly and can stop the negative inner talking that is causing it.

Jan Lundy said...

Dearest Hilary,
Let me say this. I do not think you go on at all about your Ma. What I perceive you doing is attending to your current life very well. You are awake and aware and mindful. That is an awesome place to be.

In this post, I was hoping to create awareness about our dragging all our past hurts and wounds around with us and presenting them to others as "Who We Are." Then releasing some of that for greater freedom and growth.

When I hear you speak about your Ma and your current situation there is such love and kindness. Yes, somedays can be rough but you are aware of that and carry no resentment. You live in acceptance with grace and dignity. Truly, who could ask for more. You are a remarkable woman, Hilary. A blessing to know you. I hope someday we can meet...

Jan said...

I love how you have noticed and are attending to this inner voice. Amazing at how much freedom this has created within you. And I so appreciate the idea of a body scan. I often conduct one myself and "teach" this in programs. Isn't it wonderful how our body is such a powerful indicator of where we are emotionally? Our bodies do tell stories of their own, too. The more we notice the better. And, as you say, the more quickly we can release the "story" the better. xo

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Jan - THANK YOU .. I know I do sometimes .. not blogging perhaps (occasionally maybe) ..

Yes - I think I realised that - that some people just live in the depths of their own despair.

Thank you - I hope we meet up somewhere - at this moment in the warmth!!
Looking forward to starting the meditation with you & carrying on my journey - I told my Ma and she was very positive!

One Woman's Journey said...

Strange, that I have been thinking on this line for a number of weeks.
Seems I respond to someone and begin to share about me. Then living a full and long life - I can usually relate to their story - and want to encourage them.
It is so wonderful that when one of those old tapes start to play to turn it off and realize that little by little I became a new person with peace in her heart and a smile on her face.
A last note - the tapes hardly play anymore - unless triggered by something. I have the option once again of turning it off.

Carolynn said...

Ah...another non-coincidental moment. I've recently met a new potential love interest and my story has been lobbying to be told. I've consciously denied it a voice, feeling that it may not actually be necessary to retell it yet again. I've felt that it wouldn't really serve any real purpose and have chosen to release it and start from a New Point A, instead.

My past experiences are what have made me who I am today, so they have some relevance. Tidbits may be revealed over time, but I will do this sparingly and only after consideration to make sure the intent is pure.

I'm done with being a victim or playing small. I don't want anyone's pity, especially that of a life partner.

Thank you for this insightful post, Jan.


mermaid said...

Awareness is so key. When I notice the tape of the abandoned child I am running, I can be the one to offer the comfort, not someone else. It is so important to let go of our expectations of others, and learn to find that thing we are looking for inside.

Jan said...

You are welcome. May all beings be free of suffering. :-)
It sounds as if you are very blessed that your mother supports your journey, too!

One Woman,
Releasing the need to play the tape is so big! Congratulations to you on this one. And even if we are tempted, to notice, as you say and stop ourselves mid-stream, wonderful!. Like you, I find myself at a place where I feel like an entirely new person than 10 years ago so there is no need or "payoff" to be identified as a previous version of me. In fact, if I do makes me feel yucky. (Such a scientific explanation, LOL) Blessings!

Anonymous said...

Wow, funny that you mention this today. As I reread my essays and blog posts on my own site this week, it occurred to me that I have been stuck on a couple of the same themes or "stories" ... empty nesting, dealing with midlife, caring for aging mother. Those have become my stories, and it's to the point where my longtime editors (even editors of parenting mags) are contacting me when they need "empty nest and letting go" material. I am developing a rep as the Letting Go Lady. Not good.

Time for a new story! I kept this in mind while working on my new post for next week ... Reading your post today confirms that the Universe is sending me an important message. Thank you for that!

Jan Lundy said...

So insightful of you to notice that internal tape running, an old story of woundedness. It is one that you are obviously still feeling the effects of today but it is unraveling. Your profound awareness of it is actually quite thrilling (to me anyway). It indicates the power of our intentions to heal and move into greater wholeness--and how supported we may be by divine others as we do this, yes?

Another very good awareness! To see how we can find ourselves labelled, to make new choices, to accept the invitation of the Universe (God) to re-create ourselves--powerful. I have faith that you will (and are) answering this call in bold new ways as the time is right...