A journal of healing

Archive for the ‘vunerablility’ Category

Fearless….again

  I am reblogging one of my own posts that someone recently sent back to me to remind me of my own words. I am struggling with so much lately. My health is not great as it seems that the PsA has done a lot of damage to my kidneys and guts. This past three years and especially this winter, was particularly bad for me. But, as the doctor said on  this past Friday, well at least it did not decline anymore according to my recent labs. As I sat in the garden this morning, I searched for words to console me. Then, in an attempt to clean up my email, I came across this:

Fearless

Posted on June 4, 2013

Once you step free from the limiting, linear straight jacket that narrowed the understanding of the vastness of your consciousness, everything seems to fall into place, (because it was always exactly as it was intended to be anyway, you just didn’t see it that way). There will be nothing to worry about, and no sadness to embrace; at the very least, you will be much less inclined to engage in that sort of thinking. – Rising Hawk

These words written by my friend are the key to living longer and happier. It is not the first time I have read or heard similar messages, but sometimes you can look at something and feel nothing. Other times it pulls you by the collar and slaps you soundly. This is how this hit me.

To release control, to allow your life to happen…such basic concepts and yet, not easily done for people who are frightened. I paused as I wrote the word frightened because it is word that evokes pity or distain, but it is the word I choose but not my intent. I have to advocate for those who are in or come from surroundings that to the outsider seem safe or harmless. These souls present to the world a false bravado while under their skins pulses the sense of fear. It is the walk of many, including me.

I am one who struggles daily with fear of what might be construed as silly to some. But that is what this is all about. Fear is as individual as the person containing it. I fight mightily to allow the control of my life to flow without my choking grip on it. It was making me sick and my body was tired from holding on so tight. For those who may seek some comfort in my writing, it is possibly to let go even if it is an inch at a time. Each forward release allows for more room to breathe and the body to function as it should.

How does one get to be enclosed in a box? It comes from so many sources. It is life. For some people, much like me, it comes from a dysfunctional and abusive life. I was sitting in a car this weekend listening to a school psychologist talking to another friend about children she has helped whose parents were abusive alcoholics. I sat and listened while my friend was so amazed and horrified with the stories as if they were just that, fiction. I wanted to chime in and share my personal story, but instead sat back and just listened. It was difficult and I actually felt some anger as the two of them talked about the children as statistical information.  I also felt some relief to know that this is not WHAT I am as this person in the car, but only my story. I had a sense of relief if nothing else.

I see and hear every day the barrage of negativity thrust upon us daily to keep us reigned in. We see and hear all the things we need to buy or obtain in order to be something that sadly we are lacking. It takes a strong will to turn away and not succumb to the temptation to secure a better car, house, body, clothes, and on and on. We force this standardization on our children to make them fit in and behave in an approved manner. Why is that we allow this fear and perpetuate this environment of control? This is a question that has been around forever. See the Allegory of the Cave by Socrates. We have survived as pack animals.

“No sadness to embrace…” I held those words in my thoughts all night. Embrace; what a strange concept to think we enjoy sadness. But we do. We love drama. We pay to see actors portraying life struggles because we can empathize and feel  our own sadness as a bonding emotion. Pathos. It what drama is all about. I have friends whose whole life is based on a miniseries of dramas. It is food for their lives. I am not exempt from this either and that is why those words struck me. I work in an environment where the drama level is fed daily. Most is simple confusion of an unorganized work flow. But they have been this way forever and I realize it is a culture that is embraced. They live for the confusion because it is an opportunity to emote and wring hands. They bond with each other in their complaining and strife. I see the same culture in my in-laws. They are passionate about the anguish produced from the simplest situation. It produces a slew of emails and phone calls until the event is secured or past. Then it stirs up the discussion and critic of the players involved, which is often another go around of scorn.

But the sadness I am referring to is the self-inflicted kind which I am truly guilty of. I have seen pictures of me where the sadness is evident in my eyes. People have commented on it as I do not hide my feelings well. NO, in truth, they cloak me like a neon sign. I have become aware of the origin of my sadness and I know in my head, that I cannot change what has happened. This is where I have come to the fork in the road so to speak. I can choose to “not engage in that sort of thinking…”

Can it be that simple? This is one of the life lessons that does not come with great directions on how to do something. I read, listen, and participate in learning as much as any seeker does. Is this not what we all really want, to not be sad and to be free from control? I figured out that no, actually not everyone does want that and will take you with them down the hole if you allow. And then there are some who see a secure and happy person and will go to great lengths to sap the life out of them. They are like a mosquito sucking the life blood of other’s because it is easier than obtaining it on their own. It takes great strength to disallow these creatures their feast. Our own minds can be a foe and a little fear can spiral out to become a monster of our own making. Fear is a companion that has been with me a long time. I am not going to sever the relationship overnight, but to travel on I must begin. This will be a long climb but one I must make……. alone.

Obsolete

Getting older is a natural pathway we all cannot fight. It happens. I am turning 63 on Thursday. This year has been one of a lot of changes with me. I have not accepted them graciously. It has nothing to do with how I look as I don’t see a lot of change in the mirror. I think it is partially the fading of some of my vision. My physical condition has deteriorated a lot but there is little outside appearance of that other than a limp.

I have become obsolete at my job. It is very difficult for me to handle. I used to be enmeshed in every project, every improvement plan, and in charge of at least one major strategic initiative for the agency for the past five years. I felt needed. I thrive on multiple assignments. Now I am obsolete.

We became a Lean organization and it was my job to get Lean embedded in the organization. I was initially in charge of the whole Lean reorganization until the Medical Center decided to put someone from there who was much more experienced in Lean in charge. I was fine with that. But she took over everything. I will call her WtF. WtF was so dominating and controlling that many people struggled working with her, not just me. She got several people fired who had been with the company many years. All the time WtF was there, there was this undercurrent of fear that people had and rightly so. She had the CEO’s ear. She had her minions and she had her enemies. I was needed by her so I was neither. I know she permanently wanted to come into the agency but that was not part of her contract with the Med Center.

I was on the board that over saw all the projects. I was on about five other projects as a team member. The first project done was the changeover to a new capture system for billing for the aides. it was an ugly power struggle through out the project. The Director of the Aides (31 years with the agency) and the Director of IT (12 years) were the co-captains. They both ended up getting fired afterwards because of fighting or not getting along with WtF.

There was so much turmoil and change. Our financials were terrible. People were very unhappy, scared and some were just angry. It has been an unpleasant place to work for a long time.

About a year later, WtF was going to be leaving according to her contract and we needed a governing body to continue the Lean initiative. A small board was formed and I was not asked to sit on it. I was devastated. I knew it was because of WtF. They announced the group of five and they were all the minions of WtF. One of them had no Lean experience at all and was not on any committees. The next day after they announced the group, the CEO came over to my office and asked me to join the group. I was crushed and it showed completely. I did say yes, but by then, I was trashed. The damage was done. I was insulted that I was an afterthought. I look back now and I see that was the turning point in my career.

I was a captain of  the Culture of Improvement initiative and earning my certification to be a Lean Practitioner.I did complete my project and it took over a year. I would have been the first but  I had to fight with WtF  to get certified. She was in charge of saying who was getting certified. There were other people who were winding up their projects and those she liked got through easily. Those she did not, she fought with and had a harder time to get certified. It was so apparent and so unfair but the Administration was so blinded by WtF they allowed her. After she left, we certified five more people.

It will be two years this August when we first met for Lean. We won a huge award for the work done in the agency for Lean. The proposal for the award included a huge portion of the work I did in getting Lean imbedded the organization. The minions all went to the dinner and ceremony, even though they really had little to do with the initial projects that the award was based on. I did not go to the ceremony.

Meanwhile, these new younger folks are now the stars of the agency.  At first it was a slow progression of responsibilities. But now they are in charge of a lot. The one who had the least amount of Lean experience was made the Director of our Lean initiative. (Really, I know). I already see a slipping in the progress we made and projects stalling or failing.

I have watched several other projects that I was in charge of slowly slip out of my hands and into theirs. And of course, they don’t want my help. It is not their fault. And the truth is: I am not volunteering for anything anymore. I am not the first to raise my hands and say, “oh I will do it”. I am tired of working so hard for so long. So I am responsible for this change too. I do not trust anyone now. I do not want to fight and I do not want to get hurt. In truth, I want out.

I am the oldest Director in the whole agency now. I am older than everyone on the Administration team including the CEO. That’s scary. Four of the six administrators have less than three years with the agency. There were so many changes in the last three years. I guess it is a case of out with the old and in with the new.

I am hurt. I am wounded. I did so much for this agency for the last six years. And now I am being put out to pasture. I remember thinking that there were people who should retire when I first came there. There were many nurses and managers who had been with the company for over twenty five years. The Directors were my age or older with significant experience and education. (That’s another thing: Directors are supposed to have Masters and only three of the eight of us have a Masters.) Two of the original Administrators that were there when I started were older and have since retired or were made to retire. Only two of the directors who were there when I started are still there. Four directors were fired and one demoted.

How did I get to be one of the old fogies who need to retire?

It’s not like I all of a sudden became stupid. Yes, I walk slower but that’s because of my arthritis.  I see the committees I still sit on going through the same “stuff” that has been the issues forever there. It is like a hamster wheel and there are new hamsters. Life is a made up of circles and maybe now it is time for me to get off this one.

I want to either retire, or I want to find something that to do that will make a difference in the world. I prefer the second choice as I think I am still able to do something worthy. I think it is sinful how we treat our elders in this country. We remove them from being productive and then warehouse them until they die. I do not want to go that route.

Out of alignement

mattress

I am not sure if it is just the residual energy left over from the fall sleazy presidential campaign bull crap, but the New Year seems to be slimed. I do not know how else to explain the consistent nastiness and negative energy I feel everywhere. Even in my own home, things are off kilter. My computer is acting very strange and slow, our toilet is difficult to flush, our phone lines were filled with buzzing and the big bad thing is our bed. When you do not sleep, nothing goes well.

I think I have spent the last two weeks in the world of the worst con-artists and researching the worse scam propagated on the human raise. Mattress buying… it is worse than any experience I have had in purchasing a major household item.

I have not slept well in months. Even prior to that, for over two years, there would be mornings that both of us thought we had been run over. We would turn the mattress and it would be better. We figured the mattress we had was at least 6 years old and maybe it was time to do something about it.

Off we went to City Mattress. If this was a movie, the set would dim, music would get ominous, smoke would be billowing on the floor and the salesmen would all have red eyes. We had them look up when we bought the current mattress we have and it turns out to be only three years old. I was completely shocked. How could a $2500.00 mattress turn to a lumpy-dumpy sagging pile of fiber in that short amount of time?

The salesman said that there was an issue with the mattress and many were failing. They would come out and look at it, and give us a rebate towards a new mattress. “OK”, I thought. It would have to have indents of at least two inches. “No problem, they are deeper than that.”

When I got home, I started doing research only to find that a sagging broken mattress is so very common that there are devoted websites to the issue. I read through them. I look for solutions. I compare mattress types and pricing. I looked up store ratings. There is a whole world out there devoted to this plague of consumer rip off.

The situation of being  flim-flamed and  ripped off from creepy salesmen who feed bullshit about products they know nothing about has turned the consumers to buying mattress on line. People trust Amazon more than any other company to ship the right bed and honor their return agreements. There were stories of people buying one mattress at MetroMattress and getting a different inferior product delivered. And then they would not take it back. One person got the right model, but it was a used mattress. Ewww.

They rely on people thinking that the warrantee they offer is rock solid and protects the buyer. Hell no, it protects the company. They are very clear about the level of indentations required. You cannot have any stains on the mattress and the warranty is void if the bed “is not set up correctly.” And who sets up the bed???

So, our warranty was useless. He did not even measure. Our little brown dog has marked the bed several times and it went through the mattress pad and stained the mattress. And he said the bed was not set up correctly as it did not have a middle leg brace. They set it up for us…..AND when I was inspecting the bed, we do not have the foundation box springs that were supposed to be with that bed. They switched out the boxsprings and I never noticed until now.

There are a lot of products out there to fix sagging mattress and they too are a rip off. The best fix is $70.00 each and they do not last very long either, according to the reviews. People had all sorts of hacks. One was pillows. Others placed foam. I thought the foam was a great idea and so off we went to purchase some. I did research on the density and size needed. Turns out it would cost me $130.00 to buy the right foam to fix the issue.

Frustrated, sore and tired, I told my hubby lets go to one more store and look at mattresses. This store, Sleep City, had great reviews, but a very limited stock. Short story: we bought a new mattress. He threw in a new frame and a waterproof mattress cover. Set up and delivery was free and the price was fair. I did not buy the top of the line mattress but one that the research said was fair. Even so, the price was close to 2K. It is coming next weekend.

Back home, we had torn the existing bed apart in the hopes of getting foam and fixing the issue cheaply. I decided to put pillows under the mattress where the bed sagged. This was a common fix. It did fill in the holes and the indent was gone. But who knew I was such a princess and the pea kind of sleeper. Yes, the sag was totally gone, but now the bed was uncomfortable in a different way. I woke up this morning at 3am with my back and hips flaring like someone had put hot coals there.

If you have not bought a mattress in a while, be prepared. The cost is ridiculous. There are many factors in making your purchase such as materials, durability, what type of sleeper you are and how big you are. The ideal mattress for us would have been a latex foam which ran about 5-6K and we would have had to have it shipped and it would be extremely heavy. We would have had to drag our old mattress out and bring the new one upstairs ourselves. No can do. As it is, just moving the existing one hurt both of us yesterday.

The days of having one mattress for life are over. This crappy mattress is only the third one in my adult life. The last mattress was over 20 years old and we only replaced it with the shitty one we have because it came from my first marriage. My parents had the same mattress for over thirty years.

Until consumers are well armed and stand up to the lies and poor quality, this is an area of scamming that will continue. You have to sleep. It is just one more corner of the world where people blindly walk in unassuming and believing they are going to be treated fairly. Buyer beware.

PS: Last week I posted something from the Ace blog site. I am formulating a blog with my own experience and message as a Trauma Informed Specialist.

Merry Christmas, Blessed Yule

creche

I am wishing everyone a bright a cheerful holiday season. So far, this has been one of the bleakest I remember. And I am not speaking just about me. The weather has been horrible. Usually we slide into the heavy snows and treacherous roads in January and February. We have already had school snow days. But I think it is more a residual feeling people have after the election. People are just miserable.

I know I am not feeling the holiday spirit. By now, the house would be decorated and the tree would be jam packed with ornaments. This year, the tree is up but I have not put the ornaments on and I am not sure I am.

This pre-holiday week has offered dinners and parties for us to attend. The feeling is more that it is an imposition than something people are looking forward to. My dinner for my team and human resources got downsized to a luncheon during work this Monday. It changes the feeling completely as we will not be able to have a leisurely meal or for those who do, cocktails.  No one seems to care.

The other day, my office became a refuge for people to come and speak of their worries and troubles. One friend  came into my office and sat down with a heavy sigh. She is one of the most positive people I know. Even she said she felt like she was wearing a heavy shroud of worry and negativity. I explained to her that we all need to go to the dark side once in a while. It is part of the energy swing we all do. We talked for a while and I could feel her energy.  I realized that I too had been wearing the same coat and so have others.

Its all going to be ok. But I think we are going to be experiencing a period of darkness for a while. Without being political, I believe it is residual energy from the election. I think it is similar to the period just before World War II. I hope we do not have the same outcome of a war. I know this is not just in my little corner of the world.

I truly believe that the earth has a population of light workers who are here to get us through this. I also think we will come out of it a better world. For now, I wish everyone a blessed holiday, however you celebrate it. Take time to recharge and refill your oil so you can shine brightly again in the New Year.

 

Autumn Challenges

pumpkins

This has been an amazing week.

I used to love autumn. It was my favorite season. So much so I chose to be married the first time in October. I love the cooler temperatures and the colors of the trees and the crispness of the air. I loved going back to school as a kid. I have always thought of fall as the season of change.

But as things in my life happened, I noticed a pattern of not so nice things happening in the fall. It changed my favorite season to be late spring and early summer, with June being my favorite month.

I started the process of my divorce in November, I was diagnosed with Psoriatic Arthritis in October, I went through several seasons of terrible medical issues, including the possibility of Ovarian Cancer discovered in September but by January the next year was dismissed as just a dermoid tumor. The list goes on includes thyroid issues, severe kidney problems and pituitary tumors.

I dread fall now for those reasons. But I also hate the dying of all the plants. One morning, I will wake up and my garden will have been killed by a frost. It devastates me. All that work all summer to have it gone in one night. I fight it by covering things for a while but then I know I have to sacrifice all the flowering plants. I do bring in many and host them for the winter, but the impatiens won’t make it. Even the large maples will shed their canopy and the garden will be barren. The animals will disappear for the most part, even though I continue to feed them.

bear-display

Well true to form, I had an issue. Two weeks ago, I went for my annual mammogram. I am faithful about that test. My mother’s sister, my favorite aunt, had breast cancer and had a double mastectomy at a very early age.

I had a new kind of imaging done that I have never had before. They found something. I got a call back requesting I return for another diagnostic test and then would be required to wait for a consult with a doctor. I knew I had a crazy week and so I waited until the following Friday to return.

The week was worrisome. I finally convinced myself it was just an issue with the imaging as she said she had trouble and needed to take two of the right breast. I did not know that was not the reason, but I clung to the idea she messed up through the week. But true to someone who has PTSD, my body reacted with terrible flares of pain. By Friday, I could hardly walk.

The Elizabeth Wende Breast Center is a fabulous facility here in my town. They have satellite offices and I usually go to one of those. But for this recall, I had to go back to the main center. It was mobbed. You waited in line just to check in. I was told I was going to the other side of the facility and to wait in a separate area. It was smaller and calmer. Once you are in the actual  facility, it is run like a spa. There is soft music and no sound is emitted from the TVs in the waiting rooms. They have couches and soft colors and you feel like you are in someone’s living room. They offer chair messages and paraffin treatments, and you can shop for jewelry while you wait. It is so soothing that the lady next to me wrapped herself up in a blanket and fell asleep.

The technicians are very kind. She allowed me to see the images she took along with the ones from the previous test. Sure enough, there was a mass and there was no denying it. I was sent back to the waiting room and fought back tears. It was a long wait, it seemed.

After a hour and half wait, they brought me back to the doctor’s office and I had to have an ultrasound done. I walked around the room in anticipation of what was next and I noticed the doctor’s multiple diplomas. The doctor’s name was Posy Jane. How could someone with that name give me bad news? She was crisp yet nice and allowed me to watch as she honed in on the darkened spot. She declared it a cyst and said not to worry. I love Dr. Posy Jane S. It was the best news.

I have a real empathy for the women I know who have gone through breast cancer. It was terrifying even though I had a great outcome. And what if it was something? I was glad I had the opportunity to have such state of the art facilities. They have such great new technology out there that must be saving many women’s lives. Early detection is critical.

I am hoping this was my crisis for the year. The garden is still going great and I plan on sitting out there today and read. We will go to the farmer’s market and then I will create a fall dinner with many vegetables and celebrate the beauty of the season. I know I am blessed and dodged a bullet. I am grateful.

In the throes of PTSD

Bunnies 2

There are times in my life when I think why? Why do we as humans struggle so much just living. Was it like this since the beginning of time? Is there anyone out there who truly has no stress, no difficulties and breezes through live without conflict? Or is this what human nature means?

Being diagnosed with PTSD was the biggest ah-ha moment of my life. So much finally made sense in my world. Diagnosis means being aware and of all the medications and treatments, being aware the one thing that matters. Because I believe there is no cure. There is only living with it.

I have done as much mindfulness and meditation as humanely possible. I have sought treatments from cognitive behavior therapy to AAT and other forms of energy work. I am not saying they do not “work” but they do not cure. There is no cure. There is acceptance and awareness.

Last week, something tripped me over the weekend. I have no clue what. That is one of the tricky parts of having PTSD. You do not need to know what trips you off, it just happens. By Tuesday, I was in a full blown attack. During the day, I am anxious about stupid things like driving and loud noises. I jump at the slightest provocation. I am bit short in patience. But the telling sign for me is I gain a few pounds that won’t come off. And I have not changed what I am eating. My body pain level is extremely high and I have sharp pain in certain spots like my neck and shoulders which were tight as a trampoline. I cannot take a deep breath even when I doing breathing exercise. But the most telling is I do not sleep. Tuesday night I had about two hours of sleep. The rest of the week my sleep was fitful and full of nightmares that stay with me during the day.

On Wednesday, I was asked to do a presentation for the whole management group on a project I am leading. I then have to drive 40 miles one way to deliver the same presentation to another group. Just as I seemed to becoming down a bit, or maybe just calmer because of lack of sleep, this set me off to an even higher level of anxiety. Just writing this made me catch my breath. It is not that I am nervous about presenting. I just hate presenting to this group. Hate it! It is like they are sitting there with bared teeth waiting for you to make a mistake or in total judgment (which they are). Driving is another big time stressor. By the end of the day on Wednesday, I was a mess. The rest of the week I was a walking nerve fretting about it.

On Friday, I sat down to finish the PowerPoint and having accomplished that helped to calm me. Later at home that night when I was somewhat at peace, I went into my work email. Big mistake. We have a Coach from the med center who is overseeing the program I am presenting on. I am supposed to be learning from her because when she leaves in a couple of months, I am supposed to fill in. She never likes anything anyone is doing. We have had people actually go to our CEO and complain about her. She always has something to correct me on. I think she is a terrible coach. Sure enough, she hated the PowerPoint and said that she thought that only three of the fourteen slides had value. I just burst into tears and sobbed for a while. I was exhausted from the week and then this.

I did something I usually do not do. I fought back. I forwarded the email to my boss who is aware of the situation with the coach. I also sent an email back to the coach and said that it seems I never seem to get things right with her and this was making me very anxious. My boss wrote me back and said the PowerPoint was exactly what the administrators wanted and she liked it. I have not heard anything from the coach. But I felt I stood up for myself and that in itself is powerful. Shame is often a big part of having PTSD and so to stand up for myself was a big deal.

My thoughts for this week included feeling trapped. That is a sensation I have lived with forever and it is not because of any one situation. It is from years of emotional and mental abuse. I felt feel trapped in a job that is frustrating and limiting and often does not bring much satisfaction to me. It does not make me feel like I am contributing to the world. I am trapped as I need to work and the thought of switching jobs is worse than living with it….which is why I stayed in a shitty marriage for 27 years. Fear.

I hate the thought of presenting to this group because of their critical judgment. This is all management including the ones who are clawing their way up the chain and would do whatever they could to push someone out of their way.  This group also has staff that have been there a while and like the way it was always done…. Change agents are not welcome.  Fortunately, there are less of them now. There is a woman who will be in the audience who looks and act so much like my mother and I have had a terrible time with her. Her reputation is that she looks for the holes or mistakes in presentations and will pounce on any weakness. She constantly interrupts to ask for “clarification” and asks a million questions. Everyone knows this about her and it is a big joke, but it is also terrifying when she is grilling you. It does not help me that I have her position which she held for 12 years and she feels I am inadequate because I am not a nurse. When I first started, she had a posy of peers who felt the same way and made my work life difficult. A few of them have left or retired but she perseveres on.

The thing is… I know this is only fifteen minutes max of my life. I know this will pass. I know I will be fine driving 80 miles as it is not snowing and I take back roads.  I know that by Wednesday night, all this will be over. I know all this. I fight to be in the present moment and not worry about the future. I know perseverating on this only adds and does not help. I am writing as another act of trying to cope. I am employing techniques that have I learned to calm. I am trying to think before I react, which is another sign of being in the throes of PTSD. My reactions are over the top and visceral. I am using all the techniques and skills I have been taught to cope. They are helping some.

But sadly the truth is I just have to wait for it to pass. I can only hope that nothing else triggers me and I can deregulate down to a more homeostatic level. I know I will emerge once again out of the rabbit hole.

Bunny and Dove

 

 

 

 

The stories we tell ourselves

floers

We all have a constant dialogue running in our heads. It is our story teller. We are wired to do this. We actually reward ourselves when we tell ourselves a complete story by releasing the pleasure hormone, oxytocin. Much of this I learned from a course I am taking on Courage Works with Brene Brown (http://www.courageworks.com/classes/living-brave-semester/lessons. The issue is we automatically believe the story, whether it is true or not.

I find that I am a consummate story teller in my head. I react very quickly to situations and it can be as minute as a look. Off in my head will go a whole scenario with a beginning, middle and end. For example, a simple look from someone will trigger my automatic reaction to my lack of self-worth and I take the look to mean I have done something. Then I will concoct a reason such as there must be something wrong with my physical appearance that made them look at me that way. I will then come up with a defense mechanism, which may be a snotty look of my own. That will put that person off, because in their head, they will do the same thing. The end of the story is they don’t like me and we react negatively to each other which only reinforce the story. I accept this and feel satisfied because in my head it makes sense. The hormones rewards me and I take this as gospel. But the truth is, when I walked in, she was even thinking about me, she had gas. She looks up and sees me glowering at her, and reacts.

Not only do we tell stories but we also automatically go to the negative side of things. We are also programmed to do that. It is call negative bias. We are hardwired to look for the danger in things as a safety mechanism. When a person is repeatedly exposed to constant trauma such as mental and physical abuse, this negative bias is rooted so deeply that it can be insurmountable to overcome. Trust is non-existent. The story mechanism bases its content on the facts of history within the person. So if someone has had negative outcomes from interpersonal relationships, especially if they were intimate relationships, the foundation for negativity is huge. It is the go-to end to all stories.

Seems like that would make the person a distant and unfriendly soul, and that is what happens often. That feeds their story ending pool because it keeps the person safe. They know what to expect and so in their heads, their story has the expected outcome and there is no surprises. Being vulnerable is too overwhelming. To some extent, we all do this and it is very difficult to overcome. We have to learn to draw boundaries and we have to learn to pay attention to our stories.

This has been a huge revelation for me. I jump right in and write these stories in my head about situations and they are always so dramatic and crucial. Many times, I paint myself a victim and in fairness to me, it is based on experience. But since I have been learning about this, I find that I can now stop and say, “Whoa, this is a story I am writing.” Sometimes I find myself grinning at this thought because it means I am aware, which is good.

This is where all this goes. There are few things in the world we really can control. Story telling is one. We can actually change the ending of the story if we want. If we want is the hard part. It requires that you look beyond the experience and expectations we set for things. It means we have to be vulnerable and exposed because there is a lot of comfort in being able to say, “I told you so,” even if we are saying this to ourselves. We like to be right. “See I told you she didn’t like me.” When in truth, SHE never gave me any real indication of not liking me, she just had gas. But before any real interaction could occur, the wall was up, protection was in place and the story ended as expected. But it was not true.

Pam Grout (http://pamgrout.com/ wrote a series of books on setting expectations. In her work, she talks about expecting miracles. I tried doing her experiments and had some interesting outcomes. It is sort of the same principal of writing your story only it is more writing the beginning of our stories. She says that if you expect miracles, write it as a must fill expectation, you will discover miracles. Just like we write the ending, we can also write the beginning. How different would my experience been if I had walked into a room, and instead of narcissistically thinking it’s all about me, I just smiled at everyone and expected to be received. MY energy would have been positive, which would have caused an automatic reaction to my positive personal energy. The beginning of my story could have been expecting a positive outcome. The middle of my story would have included being more open and trusting and therefore easier to work with. Can you figure out the ending?