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Who You Really Are

There were so many things that I noticed this week. And, of all the things I noticed this week the thing that I think was the most important is that I noticed I was present, more than I can ever remember before. I also noticed that I continue to choose calm and stillness over stress and overwhelm, even when most would say stress and overwhelm are warranted. I feel those familiar feelings of stress and overwhelm and I just say to myself, " I don't have to have that experience." Did I always feel this way? Heck no! In fact, I think I can say that not too long ago most of my friends and family would have described me as a "stress case".

So, what changed? What changed is that I started to understand that joy was possible and something I was in charge of creating. It really began with a book I was reading. In this book the author explained that we are not our thoughts. I would take this even further and say that we are not only not our thoughts, but we are also not our emotions and for that matter we are not our story (you know the one with all the stuff that happened when you were a kid that didn't feel good). The book then went on to say that if you can have a thought and tell someone what that thought is then who is it that is telling the thought? The one who is expressing the thought, the emotion, and the story, that is who you really are.

When I learned that I wasn't my thoughts, emotions or story I began to create space between the emotional reactions that I was having and me, the spectator of those emotions. This changed my experience from being on a roller coaster ride of emotions all day long, because of my interactions with people, circumstances and my expectations, to the sense that I was watching a movie of this rich cast of characters and circumstances in which I didn't have to so whole-heartedly participate in the unpleasant emotional experiences.

Like most of the things I talk, write about and work on myself and with my clients, this did not happen overnight. It was a gradual unfolding that happened because I made a practice of recognizing that when I become the spectator of my thoughts and emotions it feels significantly better than the roller coaster ride of emotions I previously felt. I want to encourage you to try being the spectator in your life and see what happens. I would love to hear what you discover. Let's have a chat next week and we can compare notes.
Erin "recovered stress case" Mac

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