diamonds and trust nuggets
To Tell or Not to Tell:
When the Story Heals,
When the Story Hinders
Talking about the hard things that have happened to you can function as a clearing and bring healing … or not. Stories need to be told, and it's important to tell them. It's also important to notice when you're done telling the story, or when telling it no longer serves your healing but instead reinforces what you want to dispel.
Years ago, Caroline Myss (pronounced Carolyn Mace) made a strong impression on me when she addressed the power of telling and being done telling stories in her rich and substantial audio program called Energy Anatomy. (A Sounds True production, it was arguably the far superior—certainly more entertaining—companion to her book Anatomy of the Spirit.) She describes a tribe that would gather around someone in distress and, to support their healing, listen to them tell the story. Three nights in a row, they gathered again to listen. On the fourth gathering, when the person began to tell the story, everyone got up and walked away—still and entirely in full support of the storyteller's healing. Just as you must tell the story to heal, you cannot fully heal if you must keep telling the story.
So when does telling it move you toward healing and clearing, and when does it create more mental/spiritual/emotional clutter?
If you need to say the story out loud to lay all the pieces out in front of a witness, good. You probably don't need to keep doing this once it's done, though you may need to do it more than once. There's something useful about having the whole picture in view. In my childhood home, my eldest sister used to piece together complicated jigsaw puzzles on a card table. Once the image was satisfyingly laid out whole on the tabletop, it didn't stay there long before it got broken back into pieces and put away, and the table folded up and removed. Lay it all out, then you'll want to move toward dismantling it: there's nothing useful about keeping it in view.
If you need to get some basic validation that this happened to you and that it was truly painful, good. We all need validation. There was an era when people got precious little of it, or they were lucky when they did, as the idea of validation hadn't yet struck soil or taken root in the cultural mindset. That was some time ago, and there's a jungle of validation thriving in our current reality. Validation isn't the end of the line. Once you've been validated, the next stage is to open to new perceptions. (And I'm not saying you have to rush to that stage, or that anyone else has the right to tell you it's time.)
If you've been in denial of what happened or you've never really taken in its full impact, good. Tell it and hold nothing back. I'm all about feeling fully whatever you feel, looking fully into the face of whatever life presents to you. Again, once you've accomplished this, you're no longer in denial: don't get stuck in the stage of letting it in, or you'll never let it back out!
Here are some bad (as in, not useful to your healing) reasons to tell the story:
Perhaps more than anything, it's detrimental to your healing to hold onto the story because you can't be fully present; you can't inhabit NOW, which is the only arena for reality, the place where potential resides, the point from which evolution ensues.
As you keep reviewing a past, you keep yourself from coming fully into the present. Your life unfolds in the present. Your capacity to live a life that's healed, love-based, self-honoring, and in aligned service to others or the world can only reveal itself and be applied and expanded in the present. The past is over, and you get to create something entirely new as you release what came before and stop identifying with it and limiting who you are and who you can come be based on the parameters the story lays out for you.
To move beyond the story, harness your power of interpretation.
I've said and written these words before, and often follow them with, “Sometimes it's the only power you've got.” You don't have the power to undo what's been done. But once a story's been told, and the full extent of its impact on you and other relevant characters has been acknowledged, you do get to locate and benefit from your power to reinterpret some things. I'm not advocating that you sugar-coat it or go back into denial. I mean that you get to take what happened and spin it to your advantage instead of seeing it as responsible for your being damaged, undesirable, or unable to locate and fulfill your potential.
Here's a great (but not exhaustive) list of excellent questions to ask yourself in service of positive reinterpretation:
Here are some ways you can support yourself to quit telling the story once you're done:
Don't judge yourself for telling it.
Besides being enamored of telling it and committing to telling it forevermore, I can't think of much that would get you more thoroughly stuck in the story than judging yourself for telling it again. This will create shame, and shame creates stuckness. Instead, welcome yourself to the human race and proceed to the next bullet point.
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For Facebook types, I post most days with an aim to support your growth and healing, inspire you, remind you of what you already know, keep you in touch with the magic, propose that you think big, and cast my vote for you to keep being ever kinder to yourself. Some popular posts from October and November:
The same source that gives you your preferences (and also your particular gifts and talents and personality style) is able to meet them and provide you with matches and partners in all realms of life. Alignment—feeling we're right where we're supposed to be—is supposed to be accessible and available to all, with no question of merit: if you're here, there's a place (person, job, home, area of service, ...) for you that actually fits. Don't think of it as beyond your reach, even if you haven't gotten to it yet. See if you can drop any straining around what you want that hasn't yet landed, and get curious about the adventure that's getting you there (already underway!).
When you notice sad, or angry, or confused, notice that it's okay. There's room for sad, angry, confused in the Universe. You can let it register fully and you can let it move on. When you notice brilliant, fun, easy, notice that it's okay. There's room for brilliant, fun, easy in the Universe. You can let it register fully and you can let it move on. When you notice amazing, mutual, unconditional love, notice that it's okay. There's room for amazing, mutual, unconditional love in the Universe. You can let it register fully and you can let it move on by all appearances. But love can never leave you because love is who you are.
I listen to people all the time as they tell me what's going to happen next based on what they see happening now and what they've had happen before. This is not reality. This is simply a typical working of the mind: connect dots from past through present and project more of the same into the future. It's like a graphing method you were taught in math class. I invite you to unlearn it. Let life show you what happens next. Harness intention to do something different. Show up differently to see what else can happen. Show up now in what's happening now, instead of mentally going to a future you don't even want. Show up in the most authentic and truthful way, and in the way most suited to what you want to happen next. And then let life show you what happens next, and show up for that.
I love to invite people to a grand experiment of living in a friendly Universe. For me, this means living in nonresistance, trusting my needs are met. It means looking for & finding all that supports me. It means letting go of anything that drops away; whatever I need to replace it will show up in a form that's better for me. It means not fearing competition; as long as I'm here, there's a place for me that's mine to fill, and if someone ever ousts me from my spot, there must be a better place for me to be—I'll find it. It means any no or shut door is just as clearly & kindly directing me as a yes or an open door. It means things I don't like (discomfort!) are good to get present to, not avoid, and presence means gift, every time.
Visit me on Facebook anytime. I invite you to LIKE my page and respond to individual posts that speak to you. Facebook will serve you more posts if you like, comment on, or share them--plus it brings me joy to experience the page as dialogue, not monologue.
p.s. I so value feedback. If you have anything to tell me about what you've gained from this, write to let me know! Write me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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