Reflecting on Life’s Chapters and the Power of Re-Writing the Ending

Categories: Elite Writes

By: Kara Frahm

I have recently moved to a new residence. As anyone knows who moves, it’s never a physically easy challenge.  However, that was not my biggest battle during this move.  I found myself feeling a weird kind of anxious.  And a deep level of sadness.  Might have been some good old-fashioned fear mixed in there too.  Suffice it to say, I felt very off, and I just couldn’t pinpoint what was the core of my problem.  The way I was feeling was deep and surprising to me.  On the surface, I was excited.  I generally love a new, fresh start.  I was going to be closer to work and closer to my daughter.  And my new complex has a pool for Pete’s sakes!  What the heck is not to love and be excited about?  But underneath all the true stuff, I was feeling a heaviness I couldn’t shake.

I am a big believer in surrounding myself with core people who understand me and can be a go-to in these situations.  I am lucky I have many, but the people who know my whole history and my spirit the best are my sisters. They have lived through it all right alongside me. They are the ones who truly know me!  I call them often to unpack these weird times in life so I can gain better understanding and find a sense of resolution.  I called my older sister on this occasion and broke down in tears.  I explained to her my deep sadness and my confusion about it.  As we started talking about why I thought I was feeling sad about a move I should be excited about, she hit the nail on the head.  She said to me (and this isn’t a perfect quote, but you get the point) “Kara, you have not had a move in your life that hasn’t been because of survival and surrounded with fear”.  That was it!  My last 2 moves especially were because of fleeing an abusive husband which ended my first marriage and then because of infidelity and a bunch of other awful stuff, including my messy climb into recovery, that ended that marriage. It’s not a surprise that another move would trigger great anxiety and sadness.  I felt exactly how I felt those last 2 moves, even though this time I was just moving for fun and out of choice and because I wanted to move.  This time was different, I knew that logically.  But my body and my brain-pathways and my spirit defaulted to the idea that moving equals sad.

Being triggered in the present and reacting as if it was a past event is not uncommon.  It happens to us all the time.  And usually, we don’t even recognize that it is happening.  It’s pure survival skill in action. What I know and how I feel about life events is shaped by my experiences.  My actions to surviving those experiences is valid.  If my experience from the past, is one wrought with pain, then a similar experience in the present is sure to fire up some good old feelings.  And those good old feelings will automatically bring on good old reactions.  The problem is those good old reactions may no longer be useful or beneficial in my current day situations.  They worked for a time because that time was based on pure survival.  I am not in survival mode anymore so now the solution may need to change.  My new life no longer matches my old coping skills.  And to be fully transparent, most of my old coping skills are detrimental to my health and well-being.

Think of my moving example the same as if you are in a new relationship or starting a new job or grieving the loss of someone or whatever event is going on in your life.  Your reaction to these things is shaped by past experiences.  If we don’t recognize this and reshape the ending, then we get stuck repeating the same result over and over.  The problem is the same result wouldn’t be repeating if it actually worked and brought benefits to life.  We speak of this often in the addiction recovery world when trying to break down relapses and why they happen over and over and over again even when the pain of relapse is so horrendous. It is because relapse in the form of using substances is a response to coping with and surviving an event.  A way to calm that event, numb that event, numb the pain or the fear of that event.  If it’s the only way we have known to calm the storm, it makes sense that a person struggling with addiction would keep solving the same type of problem with that same solution of using.

UNTIL!!!  Until we recognize what experiences set us up for what pain.  The feelings we develop in pain determine a need to release pain.  What we chose for solution to release the pain may change as we grow. Our old solutions may stop solving our future similar pain.  Until we catch that pattern and figure out how to change the pattern, we will keep subconsciously slipping into the same old painful solution.

So, sometimes we need to re-write the ending of the story.  And that is exactly what I did when I moved.  I caught the moment because I recognized the feeling attached to the event and I questioned it.  I talked it out with someone I trusted and then I made a simple choice to change the ending to my story this time and re-create the experience.  I shopped for a few lovely new things for my new place, I picked a home that spoke to me and spoiled me, I threw out and gave away a lot of old junk I didn’t need to drag with me.  In other words, I got rid of the baggage surrounding this kind of event.  I re-wrote the ending of the story and in turn I found more healing from my past! I broke that cycle!  How wonderful is that?  How beautiful is this kind of growth?  I cherish my sister for talking me through it because I deserved to have a lovely new transition.  My people and all the hard spiritual work over the years continue to pay off.

So what will you do next time you find yourself in a state of great anxiety or grief or sadness or fear?  I challenge you to ask yourself if this is a story that needs a new ending and then I applaud for you when you are brave enough to create it! You hold the power to healing in these moments.  Change course, you won’t regret it!  I don’t! Flip the table and change the script. You can!!  It’s your life!!  Make it a stunning and brilliant new chapter!  One page and experience at a time!

Related Post