I'm gonna make this simple. I had a bit of an existential crisis on Christmas Day.
You see, I decided to spend the morning in a 4-hour mini-retreat with meditation and Reiki which was meant to be relaxing, but I ended up questioning all of my entire existence. These things happen.
I should've known things were going to go wonky when I was meditating and my college ex-boyfriend's face popped up. Let's just say we had a dramatic relationship and towards the end of our time together I probably suppressed a great desire to thwack him in the dangly bits.
Anyhow, person after person, connection after connection, emotion after emotion just began to arise in waves and I was given an opportunity to make peace with it all. So I did. And it felt GREAT as those relationships were let go and the energy was freed... but then the stories around them began to crumble. Well, let me tell you that I have apparently built a lot of my identity around those old stories because the next thing I know, I'm sitting there weirdly freaking out to "WTF is true in my life anymore? Who am I?"
Those are trippy questions to ask yourself. I highly recommend it, but also I absolutely do not recommend it at the same time. It's a lot.
In those questions, I saw how easy it is to unconsciously paint things in favorable ways to strengthen the core stories, especially ones wrapped around the identity. -- and that's rough. I started to see that my dramatic, a-hole of an ex-boyfriend was balancing my own neurotic behaviors. The stories that painted me as "right", "victim", "moral", or "underdog" were not true. I'm not saying that I was at fault for any of those failed relationships-- the truth is that no one was. We were all unconsciously responding to each other based on our own beliefs, expectations, and neuroses after we had wrapped them in our own pretty little stories.
My mind went to something from Deep Hope: Zen Guidance for Staying Steadfast When the World Seems Hopeless by Diane Eshin Rizzetto, page 21:
"We might be satisfied for a short while, admiring the pretty boxes under the tree, but it wears thin pretty quickly. Christmas morning eventually arrives, and we find out that there is no Santa Claus. Events in our life—getting laid off from our job, experiencing illness, suffering loss—will inevitably make us aware that the wrapping cannot serve as armor. So too on the larger scale of communities and societies—great towers toppling, hunger and disease running rampant, rage and terror spinning round and round in a world caught up in lots of different wrappings. We’re brought to the despair of ground zero—our empty boxes. Wrapping empty boxes, we never fully see the riches inside. We never taste the sweetness of what is. The only real gift is the one presented to us. It’s the gift of life as it is. It is a gift always being offered to us. How do we receive it?"
I had wrapped a lot of empty boxes from my past, but only I made them empty through the stories that I told about them. In truth, they all had some kind of beauty even if they were difficult moments. Life is a gift and it doesn't stop being a gift when we are heartbroken or betrayed. Somehow, if you look hard enough, you can see the gift peaking through even in the worst moments.
So, today, the day after Christmas, I encourage you to unwrap just one or two of your empty boxes by experiencing those past events differently. You don't need to go as far as I did, but you can consciously take an event from your past that still bothers you so that you can transform the pain behind it.
What would happen if instead of playing the same old story about that situation, you looked for the good that came from that experience? Or what if you saw it from a different perspective that you may never have considered before? How can you reframe the past so it may be easier to heal from? What would happen if you let go of even a little bit of that suffering?
If you don't want to touch the old story, you don't have to. What if you dropped the story altogether and just sat with the emotions so they could be released? Do you think the pain of the story would stay alive if the emotions behind them were resolved?
If you can let go of just a fraction of your old pain, you will have more energy available for raising your vibrations and creating a better world for yourself and those you love