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January 2, 2015

How Changing the Story in My Head Changed My Life.

Photo: Courtesy of author.

We tell ourselves a story
with the voices in our head.
This dialogue is loud
to drown out it is misread.
Because it is not reality,
but told from fear instead.

“There is nothing so dark that we cannot put it on paper, question it, and set ourselves free.”
~ Byron Katie

Near the Winter Solstice and the New Year, we stand at the edge of an opportunity to rewrite our stories.

Not because it’s the perfect time to make ourselves “better,” but because we have already been amazingly shiny and beautiful without even realizing it. It’s time to peel away the layers, pull back the veils, remove the tarnish we have covered ourselves in for years. Decades. Lifetimes.

When I came to yoga, I was a shattered human being. After years of practice and peeling off the layers (upon layers, upon layers) I began to recover my wholeness. After all of that work and all of that time, my life has changed…but the highlight reel, the story in my head has not.

In my old story, I am not good enough.

I have no right to be bright, or shiny, or beautiful.

I should not stand out.

I should blend in and not make myself seen.

I deserve to be alone.

Life will always be hard.

It is my job to sacrifice myself for the benefit of others.

Recently, I found myself at a crossroads in basically every aspect of my life.

As things began to unfold and I could see the path stretching out in front of me, I had what I thought was the “voice of reason” speaking to me. It was as simple as a studio not being interested in my teaching a six-week series, or a former love interest moving on, or coworkers from a new job expressing excitement for our return to work in a few months.

I thought they were all signs that I still had to work, that it wasn’t quite my time yet.

But I was wrong.

These signs had little to do with the capabilities or opportunities available to me; they were the limitations I had self-prescribed.

I was trying to move forward in this new and wonderful life that I had worked hard to create, but all the while narrating the old stories in my head.

They had been very cleverly toned down from the former, full-on self-hate versions I once repeated to myself, so I didn’t recognize them at first.

Then one day I saw the words “rewrite the story in your head.

Something clicked.

I started to pay close attention to the things that were happening in my life.

An argument came up with an old foe. Over the last few years our exchanges have changed as we have grown, but automatic response was, “Here we go. Here’s the attack. You need to defend yourself.”

But as I took a deep breath, I realized that there was nothing to defend, this didn’t have to be my story anymore.

Next, a new love interest came on the scene. Queue the streaming list of reasons this was a potential disaster and wasn’t going to work.

Breath…not my story.

I found myself relishing the time spent taking my children back and forth to school and being involved in their classrooms. My head started telling the story of how I should enjoy it now because I have to go back to work and kill myself for six months to earn this again so our time together would only last for so long…

Breath. Wait. It doesn’t have to end.

Everything opened up. As it turns out, my old stories were getting in my way, still keeping me small.

I wasn’t aiming high enough. When sitting with the idea of starting with an open book and writing my story authentically, from my heart, with all of those layers and sludge removed, a very simple theme poured out.

I want a balanced and blissful life.

I am good enough, more than good enough.

I am already brilliant and bright and have every right to be.

I am unique and it’s important to take what I have to offer into the world.

I deserve love.

Life is wonderful.

I don’t have to sacrifice myself for anyone or anything.

 As I sit here writing, I am not just planning a six-week series, but an entire new class. I am also working on a full-time graduate school application. And I am doing all of this while spending quality time with my children and being supported by a loving and wonderful man.

So as you set those solstice intentions, or make those New Years resolutions, take a minute to listen to the story you are telling yourself.

Is this story loving and kind, or is it filled with negative limitations?

What pieces of this story could use a re-vamp?

Breathe into whatever you uncover. And remember, you have a brilliant light inside of you.

Happy (re)writing.

 

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Author: Sara Witzler

Volunteer Editor: Kim Haas / Editor: Emma Ruffin

Photo: Courtesy of author.

 

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