The Stories We Tell Ourselves

We were walking by our favorite pond that features many wonderful birds when we noticed one of the two purple gallinules (one of our favorites!) was limping and the other one was nowhere in sight. It appeared that the limping bird had broken her leg and the other one must have been taken by a predator. We were very upset! The worst part of it was thinking that the injured one was left all alone and couldn’t possibly make it.

The next day, we visited again and neither bird could be found. Both were now dead. Most certainly. We felt sad but relieved that they were no longer suffering. The following day, we found one of them! No limp! Perfectly fine! We felt happy.

Do you see how it works? We created a story about the birds. We felt bad with our first story, sad and relieved with our second story, and happy with our third story. We’ll feel bad or happy with our next story. The situation itself never changed! The situation simply is what it is. What changed was our story about the situation.

This is how we walk through the world. We are constantly experiencing situations, circumstances, and life through our thinking. Most of us are constantly spinning stories about what is happening around us. Depending on the story we create, we will feel happy or sad or any number of other emotions. Do you see this at work in your own life?

I’ve been waiting for some news recently. It’s news that will have a big impact on me no matter what turn it takes. Each day, I spin a different story about it. Each day I experience different emotions depending upon the story I spin. Some days, I feel relief when I imagine nothing comes of it. Other days, I feel relief when I imagine something does come of it. The scenarios I create in my mind are made up and yet I experience them in the moment as if they are real. The situation isn't changing but my stories about the situation are.

This is how our psychological system works. We create our lives via thought and consciousness. You could think of thoughts like the painter’s palette and consciousness as the painter. The painter has an array of colors available to her. She chooses which she wants to create with and she leaves the others on the palette. She creates with the colors she chooses, creating form from the formless colors. Thoughts are similar. They are energy moving through us but once we start painting with them, whether they are stressful or peaceful, we create our unique experiences, we create our lives. That’s why you and I and every other person can react or respond to the same situation differently. We are painting with different colors.

If we don’t understand this, then we are at the mercy of the stories we spin. If we have some understanding of this, then we can wake up to what is happening. We can remind ourselves that we are spinning this or that particular story. We can bring ourselves back to the present moment.  When we get caught up in the past or future, we can obscure our wisdom and become confused about how to handle what's before us. Waking up to the stories we are spinning and returning to the present moment brings us back to clarity and wellbeing.

Notice the stories that you are spinning today. What do you see? Just noticing can make a difference in returning to your clarity and wellbeing.

 I welcome and appreciate your comments. The comment box is below.


Schedule a Taster Session to learn more about coaching and how you could benefit. Carla's commitment is to help her clients overcome self-doubt and anxiety and return to confidence and peace in their everyday lives.

How to Deal with Stressful Thoughts

Nature inspires me. I can see how Life is living all of it, including you and me. I don’t always trust Life. I can worry. I can get caught up in thought storms, believing that the sun of my wellbeing will never rise again, believing that the turbulent waves of my stressful thoughts and emotions are permanent.

I forget the true nature of the ocean. It is constant, still in its vast depths, and unmoved by surface waves. I forget that the sun never sets, the earth simply turns. Our true nature is the same. Our essence is whole, good, and constant. The waves of life crash on the surface and have no impact upon our essence. Our wellbeing may be obscured but the light is always there.

I caught myself right before turning from the sun of my wellbeing the other day. I was happily basking in the joy of the day when I received a text message. Stressful thinking began moving through me immediately. Interestingly, I could see it for what it was. It’s unusual for me to catch it so quickly. More often, I find myself well into stressful thinking before I see it for what it is.

On this occasion, however, I watched the stressful thoughts move in and try to convince me to take them seriously. They were quite compelling! They were telling me why I should be upset, take it personally, and get angry. But I wasn’t! I could see so clearly that I wasn’t upset or angry. The stressful thoughts kept coming at me, presenting persuasive evidence. I laughed!

The stressful thoughts began to ease and move through me. Then they took another go at me and another. I found myself considering buying into them. After all, I had a right to be upset! I could feel myself beginning to spin a story, all from a simple text message. My stories can be quite compelling and dramatic. I can find all sorts of evidence to back them up. Can't you?

In this instance, I didn’t take the stressful thoughts personally and they moved through fairly quickly. That’s how it works. When we don’t take the continuous stream of thoughts personally and seriously, they are able to move through us, without the need to fight, change, or resist them. They will move. If not today, another day. That’s what thoughts do.

I could see it so clearly. I could see how thoughts can trick us into buying into them. Yet, that is the beauty of this human system. We create our experiences, our lives, through our thinking. It is powerful! We are boundlessly creative! “The mind is its own place and in itself, can make a Heaven of Hell, a Hell of Heaven.” John Milton

Thoughts move through us continuously. Some we take seriously and some we don’t. Once we see how it works, we can wake up to it, even in the middle of a story we’ve spun.

If you can't see how it works in this moment, that's OK. I don't know of anyone who can see it all the time and many don't see it all. I’m in the throes of a stressful story right now. In this case, I didn’t see it coming and now I’m living it, even though I know it’s just a story (such a relief!). I keep the story alive by reliving the past and worrying about the future. Sometimes I get caught up despite having some understanding of how our psychological functioning works.

Sadhguru said, “You cannot suffer the past or the future because they do not exist. What you are suffering is your memory and imagination.” Yes, I’m caught up in the turbulent, surface waves of my imagination for the moment. Even though I didn’t catch myself before spinning such a compelling story that feels oh-so-real, I know it's a story. It's like a truly good film. I’m totally engrossed in it. I do know, like all films, that it will end even if I can't wake up to it right now.

Your essence is untouchable, whole, and good despite what terrible storm may be raging. It will pass and you will fly once again. As much as possible, come back to the present moment for that is where you can meet yourself and see, once again, the sun of your wellbeing. It always has been and always will be shining.

I always welcome and appreciate your comments. The comment box is below.


Schedule a Taster Session to learn more about coaching and how you could benefit. Carla's commitment is to help her clients overcome self-doubt and anxiety and return to confidence and peace in their everyday lives.