by Penny Hill, owner and Trail Guide at CalmHealthEase.com
We love stories, don’t we?
Humans have told stories since we could draw pictures. We love adventure stories and romance stories. There is the ever popular Hero’s Journey, which highlights triumph and tribulation, and demonstrates the heroism of overcoming seemingly insurmountable obstacles. We use stories to teach, connect, share, learn, and hand down knowledge to the next generation.
There is another kind of story I want to talk about: the story your brain tells you.
There are two levels to this story: the known and unknown, also known as the conscious and sub-conscious. There is a complex interaction between these two, which determines the story of your life: your successes, failures, joys, fears and phobias. The conflict in the two levels of your story plays out in the actions you will, and won’t, take, and shows up in the things you “consciously” want to do (like lose weight, manage your money well, or grow your business), versus the reality you keep living.
Where does our story originate? It comes from every thought and feeling we’ve ever had.
That sounds pretty huge, but in truth, most of our story was written before we were 10 years old. And we keep re-writing it. It is written literally as our body and our brain, and expressed in biological responses that have become so habitual and automatic we don’t even perceive them as such. We think “this is just how I am.”
But how did that story get written? Let me tell you a story to illustrate!
Let’s say you’re two years old, and your experience of your mother has been unalloyed love and support. You’re full of youthful bounciness, and in a fit of exuberance to show your mom how much you love her, you jump up on the couch to give her a hug and a kiss. Your mother reacts by screaming and pushing you away and scolding you.
You are shocked and shaken to your core! This is not the mother you know and love. Your little self wonders, Where has my mother gone?! You don’t know that your mother has hurt her back, and when you jumped up on the couch you landed on her stomach causing her a huge spasm of pain. No, all your young brain knows is “danger.” And overwhelm. Your unfiltered, conscious mind has no way to process this. The energy of danger is diverted to learning, and is stored in the subconscious.
This event, and it’s associated thoughts and feeling states, may become part of your story that tells you: Showing my love to someone can be dangerous and confusing. Better be careful. Forward 20 or 30 years, and part of your story is that you just can’t find the right love match, and each person you’ve chosen has ended up hurting you. Your nervous system is working to protect you from the hurt and confusion of opening yourself up and showing love. But it is no longer a mechanism that serves your highest good.
As our nervous system encounters life, it writes its experiences in our brain in neural pathways and in hormones (chemicals). Our brain has thoughts, and our body tells us how we feel. And many of these feelings we don’t understand because they were established so long ago we have no conscious memory of the events that generated them.
We struggle to be heard at work. We start a business, but are too afraid to be seen. We watch endless webinars and take more classes, not realizing we are avoiding the pain, fear, and feelings of inadequacy of stepping up into our biggest and boldest version of ourselves–the version that our conscious mind and heart is calling us to be. We don’t take the actions we “know” we need to take, and wonder what is wrong with us.
But I come bearing great news: our stories can be rewritten! You can release any stories from the past that are not in congruence with what you consciously wish to have, do and be. The stuck energy that has been protecting you by keeping you small, and affecting all areas of your life, can be transformed into the energy that propels you into greater health and success.
Penny Hill is owner and Trail Guide at CalmHealthEase.com. Penny has been in the business of helping people feel better, and de-stress, as a massage therapist since 1990. She is also an EFT Practitioner and presenter. EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique) is a set of techniques to quickly dispel stress, and rewire your brain for more success, more health, and more happiness.