From Alice Walker’s novel, Now is the Time to Open your Heart-“And then he would return to his house and freshly see his clutter….Bundles of clothes almost on their way to Goodwill. Chipped dishes. He did not use these things anymore, and yet, the thought of letting them go made him sad. He felt they represented times in his life he could not recall without their presence. They represented stories.”
Many practitioners of the healing arts tell us to release our story- let it go. It is an illusion that we see and feel now. Our story is made up of events in the past. Let it go. It doesn’t exist.
The present moment is where we live, where we are alive, where we can change something and where our choices manifest. Now, this moment, this is the only thing that is real. It is the only present we have. There is no time and no value in focusing on our story if we are living our present. We’ll miss the current happenings if we do.
Current neurochemical research substantiates this. Neurons fire in patterns. These patterns when embedded from repeated use become automatic responses. Responses, including memories and feelings, are triggered quickly when a pattern is embedded.
Embedded responses are good and desirable when they provide us a safer existence. Patterns related to driving are an example. We can drive without paying much attention to the mechanics of it.after we’ve been drivers for a few months. We drove with our full attention when we were learning to drive, and it soon became second nature. The pattern of responses became embedded and the triggers, such as red lights, brake lights, turn signals, fire their associated response which shows up in our taking action that is appropriate.
The mechanics seen in the car analogy pertain to our personal story in the same way. Our history can be recent or past, it doesn’t matter because each time we talk about it or think about it, we are strengthening the pattern of responses, emotional, behavioral such as tension, or anxiety and the pattern of neurons firing in this responsive way becomes more embedded each time. Finally our story will be triggered easily and effortlessly in our thoughts, feelings and physically just like a red light brings us to a stop. Much of these automatic responses take place in our subconscious. The responses happen quickly.
The energy we use to keep the story alive and in storage is then unavailable to experience the present and its sensations and impressions. Our story being triggered even on an unconscious level absolutely limits us and imprisons us from experiencing current feelings, thoughts, behaviors and sensations. Our creative process is inhibited.
It’s a matter of focus and where we are conciously putting it. It’s not a matter of positive vs. negative thinking. It’s an awareness of what is so now. Our focus can be outside of us, like on a tree or on the brake light of a car in front of us at a stop light. It can be inside of us like a sensation in our mouth when eating, or an image in our mind. Even a one minute duration will bring our mind into the present moment, the only momet that is alive. Taking time for mindful moments calms the background noise or overload of emotions and prevents the firing pattern of our story.
Donating, selling or tossing our unused things frees us up, frees our space up and frees us from our stories that are interfering on our present moment experience. Not that you needed another reason to clear your clutter.
My intention is to embrace life without the encumbrance of my stories.