I’ve noticed a theme with myself and clients around discontent with stories we have created about how our lives are supposed to be and with the reality of how they actually are. Our mind writes stories about what is going to happen, how the plan is going to play out, and how we are going to feel. At the end of the day, or the weekend or the vacation, (insert your end here) we look back and it didn’t turn out the way we imagined it. This can trigger sadness, anger, trauma, some other form of discomfort or discontent which can result in chronic pain. I’m guessing that it’s pretty rare that our story about how it’s going to be mirrors how it really turns out to be.
A few weeks ago I wrote about being a slave to the to-list and then being upset about things I wasn’t getting done. This is a good example of having formed a story of the day, in the form of the to-do list, and the disconnection at the end of the day when lots of the “to-dos” didn’t get done. It’s the same as having a story of the perfect life and then comparing the real life with the perfect life story and finding fault. This results in unpleasant feelings and dissatisfaction which if we resist creates pain. Wouldn’t it be cool to consciously reconcile the story (fantasy) of our lives with the reality of our lives, just like we reconcile our checkbook with the bank statement but without the emotional component?
My cue that it’s time to “reconcile” my story with real life is when I feel upset, sad, defeated, angry, I’m going too fast, pushing myself, disappointed or somehow dissatisfied. This is when it’s time to review what actually happened and recognize the value of it, rather than what it was not. There’s always going to be something it was not. The jewels are the unexpected experiences which bring their own pleasure or lessons rather than the false pleasure of having the story be the same as what really happened. Because, really, the story leaves out much of the joys of the moment. The “story” is a decoy or way to dissociate from actually experiencing what is and being present in the moment. Just that disconnect from this moment creates discomfort.
Reconciliation starts with being aware of what is (accepting and being present with reality) then moves to letting go of what might have been, to flipping the focus to the true value of the experience. Because even when the experience is unpleasant there is always something to be learned or appreciated from it. In summary, notice the disconnect from reality, feel the loss and let go of what might have been and claim the value of what is.