© 2015 Kebba Buckley Button, MS, OM. World Rights Reserved.
These days, most of us have plenty of stress without looking around for more. Many of us are caring for kids and/or elders and trying to get everyone everywhere they need to be on time, with the right gear. Many of us work in organizations with personality and philosophy conflicts. The national and international news carry many stories of plane crashes, kidnappings, mass shootings, stock market drops and rises. So do we need to dig around to find more things to be concerned, uncertain, worried, sad, mad, or depressed about?
As a stress management expert, I say no! To live a joyful, satisfying, effective life, each of us needs to be as clear in mind and heart as we can be. We need to be as healthy in our bodies and brains as we can be. Spiritual people need to be as connected as they/we can be. Today has enough to concern us without borrowing from the future or past. Even Jesus said, “[T]oday has enough troubles of its own (Matt 6:34).”
So why do so many cling to their unhappy backstory? I understand celebrating memories of happy childhoods, great schools, fine friends, loving pets, thrilling cities we’ve lived in, and gorgeous countryside we’ve enjoyed. This will actually raise your DHEA and make your metabolism happier. But some have bad memories they keep recounting. Whenever you hold a negative thought for a few minutes, it depresses your parasympathetic nervous system and you literally become weaker. If you sustain negative thoughts, you become more likely to get sick. But some people cling to their horror, pain, and negative imaginings as though their life depends on it. And actually, their life depends on the opposite.
Leave the past in the past. Tomorrow’s not promised. Today’s a gift. I guess that’s why it’s called The Present.
~ Joe Budden, Hip-Hop Artist
Years ago, I took a self-realization seminar that lasted 5 days. Each morning the 70 participants were invited to “tell their story”, and we heard amazing tales of fabulous and horrific formative experiences. One woman said she had had an incestuous relationship with her father for a number of years (shock number one) and she said actually it had been the most supportive relationship of her life (shock number two). Another woman said her father had been a fiend and that’s why she was heavy; she was in her 50’s. Later, I realized she was running her narrative about her childhood, in her heart and mind, every hour of every day. It was creating huge mental interference and general stress.
On the last day, it was time for those of us who had not told Our Story to share. On the way to the seminar, it washed over me: IT DOESN’T MATTER. Since I wanted to live life forward, and actually there is no other way to live it, no aspect of stress from the past was relevant to how I lived today. For the time, when Getting It All Out was a cultural value, I was taking a radical position. It changed my life. I now mainly live my life in the present moment with an eye to the future God and I are cocreating together.
People have a hard time letting go of their suffering. Out of a fear of the unknown, they prefer suffering that is familiar.
~ Thich Nhat Hanh
When someone asks you how you are, are you tempted to tell them you’re depressed or frustrated? Then you have some items to take care of. A balanced person does not dump their stuff at the “Hello”. Write down what you’re feeling and what needs to be addressed. Healthy people want to reach some degree of Peace Within, and peaceful people never reply to “how are you?” with negative statements.
Do you believe that some negative factor from your past is holding you back? If so, and if you say you want a happy and fulfilled life, it’s time to bust your backstory and get some professional help. Get some counseling, journal through the process, read any recommended books, and do any exercises the counselor recommends. If you suspect you need a prescription for anxiety or depression, start with your doctor. When you have achieved a new balance, you may want to work on your life skills with a coach, read some books on relationships, and keep journaling. Get your eyes opened to some visions of your positive potentials and future!
It’s natural for people to want to improve: their health, their communications skills, their workplace talents, even their hair control. Don’t let stress from your backstory hold you back. Don’t let old stories keep you from having a satisfying day, career, and relationships. You are the only person who can put your right foot in front of your left and step forward. Create your great new life. Are you in?
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- Kebba Buckley Button is a stress management expert. She also has a natural healing practice and is an ordained minister. She is the author of the award-winning book, Discover The Secret Energized You (http://tinyurl.com/b44v3br), plus the 2013 book, Peace Within: Your Peaceful Inner Core, Second Edition(http://tinyurl.com/mqg3uvc ). Her newest book is Sacred Meditation: Embracing the Divine, available through her office. Just email SacredMeditation@kebba.com.
- For an appointment or to ask Kebba to speak for your group: firstname.lastname@example.org .