I am really enjoying the 3rd quarter of my life – I have wisdom to draw on and I’m getting old enough to have learned not to take everything so personally.
I’ve explored my stories of my formative years, yadayadayada, let go of blame and now can get down to the fun stuff – rummaging around in my personal internal landscape, stumbling over buried beliefs rather than stories. I can dig these out and decide if it is a gem or a dehydrated dinosaur turd.
I can polish the gems and compost the manure.
One of these that I found lately that is definitely not a gem is a belief that I need to win a battle I’ve been having with life titled- ‘I will hurt me better than you can. I’ll choose my suffering, not you, and then I will be the boss of me’.
From my stories I know where this belief was birthed – it was a safety strategy for a helpless girl to find some source of power. Since emotional pain was the coin of the realm, it became a place to send my hidden warrior.
Ugh – it is totally a turd; what a tangled mess I am still unraveling from embracing this drama.
The battle can start with stories that begin with ‘he/she did…or didn’t.’
It has a script that includes sentences (or paragraphs) that contain ‘shoulda/coulda/if only’.
I win the skirmish when I worry about things I can’t influence, much less control.
One of my favorite strategies is to create dialogues with invisible people that I wish I could have with them but never will. In real-time I’m never that smart and even if I was, they wouldn’t appreciate it!
Base camp is where expectations are conceived so disappointment can follow.
It’s the place where my Eeyore can graze– ‘yes, it’s sunny today but tomorrow it will probably rain’.
Sometimes I can catch myself early because it creates the wrong kind of fire in my belly – the one that feels like it burns inward. But, usually, I miss the opening credits and have to wait for the movie to start rolling before I recognize that I’ve seen this one before. And then, I have to make a decision if I’m going to reach for the off-button or just ride the ride………yep, manure!
This is where the skill of not taking everything personally is so handy. It shortens the process; the end comes sooner. I can gently take off my armament and return to my land and family.
And old weapons become plowshares to continue digging.
As I bury the manure, I find the gem that is always present in everything I dig up –
Wow – look what I’ve learned. I like being me.
by Susan Beyler
Integrative Therapist, The Estuary