Have you ever had someone tell you the same story over and over again because they're not conscious of the fact they’ve already told it to you? It's as if their story is on auto-play for anyone who will listen.
We all know those people. Perhaps you're one of them, or have been one of them. I was certainly one of them for a long period of my life.
Pain needs an outlet. It needs a listener, and the way we most commonly share our pain is through our language, and our 'story'.
When you talk about why you are the way you are, or why your life is the way it is, you're essentially telling a story about yourself.
The thing is, stories and the way we tell them have power. They have the ability to make us feel strong and empowered, or weak and hopeless.
Have you caught yourself telling the same old 'pain' story about who did you wrong, or how your childhood messed you up?
Perhaps you might have stopped verbalizing the story, but still hold onto some threads of it in your body, and now you're suddenly experiencing unexplainable aches and pains that seem to have come out of nowhere.
Pain seeks a listener.
Stopping verbalizing our story doesn't take away its need for attention. If our pain doesn't get attention outwardly, it will seek it inwardly within our body. It will begin to manifest 'dis-ease' in an effect to grab our attention and make us 'listen' to it.
Pain wants to be healed.
If we try to shut down emotional pain by blocking out the events, circumstances or people that caused it rather than actually doing the hard work required to heal it, our pain will remain and it will find an outlet in our physical body. It wants attention because it wants to be healed. I honestly believe that at the root of many physical ailments lie emotional wounds waiting to be healed.
Until the 'pain' of your story has been healed, you will feel it in your mind, body and soul.
Emotional pain is not something you can forget. It has to be dealt with - resolved, sorted, processed and healed. It begins with examining your life in a new way, and looking at the circumstances that caused the pain in a different way.
Telling yourself to toughen up, or to suck it up, or to just think positive and get on with your life is not going to change or erase your 'pain' story.
Becoming more aware of how you view and share your own life as a story can be the first step in healing your pain. Reshaping how you perceive your story and how you share it with others has the power to transform your life.
As a member of the AMMO Artworks' community, I'm extending an invitation to join me in a weekly writing challenge of self-discovery.
I'm initiating this challenge as a way to explore and become more mindful about your own life. If you wish to heal parts of your story and in doing so, become more fully alive, then I encourage you to participate in this weekly writing challenge. Your time commitment and level of participation is totally up to you. This is your process. I'm simply here as a guide or conduit to help you in any way I can.
Each week we will dive a little deeper into a self-awareness topic. How much or how little you choose to do is up to you. You are accountable only to yourself. As for me, I promise to be here each Wednesday with a new #writingprompt. Your thoughts/writings remain yours and remain private. They will be created by you for your own personal development. Period.
I hope you join me on this journey of self-discovery through writing. I can personally attest to the power within the art of writing. It has literally saved my life more times than I can count.
Week #1: Writing Exercise
Turn off all devices so you're not interrupted. Try to carve out at least 15 minutes (more if you wish) to spend alone with your thoughts, pen and parer, or your laptop if you're more comfortable with that. I like to type into a word doc because I can get my thoughts out quicker without slowing down..... slowing down causes me to go back and edit... don't do that. Don't correct yourself or try to make it sound better. No one else will read this only you. Ready? Let's begin.
1. Freestyle write for 10 mins or however long you wish about an incident or life circumstance that has caused you pain. Write as if you're telling a stranger about it for the first time.
Tip: Freestyle writing is writing without editing, without reading back over your written words, and without censoring your thoughts - just let them free-flow onto the page Don't stop and edit, just write. We will use this type of writing frequently during the challenge because it helps to get our thoughts and feeling out in an uncensored way.
2. Read outloud what you have just written. View and hear the circumstances of your life from a non-emotional place - as if it's a friend's story, or just a list of facts. Don't get pulled into the emotion of what you've written (even if it brought tears or anger while writing). Try to view it objectively as a kind and compassionate stranger would.
3. Examine your choice of words - not in a critical way, but as an observer trying to read between the lines or see what's underneath the words.How are you telling or sharing your story? Do you see the victim? Is he/she hiding within your words? Within the tone of your words?
4. Change the Narrative. When you spot the victim, try to see if there may be a way you can turn around that sentence or tone of the words so that it would suit/fit the speech of a warrior. Rather than: "this/that life circumstance hurt, wounded, scarred, made me angry; etc".... try to rephrase it as: "I learned, I gained, I can understand... how this/that has made me a ______. It is important to acknowledge our pain, but it is even more important to recognize how we shape the narrative around it.
5. Moments of Insight. Spend another few minutes writing about how this journaling exercise has made you feel. Have you gained some insight? Can you see a way to reshape your story so that it serves you rather than impairs you?
Bravo YOU! You've started down a new road of self-discovery through writing.
From this point forward, you'll become more aware of how you think, feel about, and share your story. This is what being mindful is all about. This is self-awareness in action. This is YOU taking responsibility for your own life. This is inspired action that leads to personal transformation.
Never forget that YOU have the power to heal your own life. I believe in you, and all you are capable of achieving.
If you'd like to share your insights, or how this writing exercise made you feel, pop me an email: firstname.lastname@example.org. I'd love to hear from you.