Recently, I watched Brene Brown’s Call to Courage on Netfix. This one-hour talk was funny, insightful and inspiring in true Brene fashion. I absolutely recommend watching it. One of my greatest take-aways was this:
“When faced with uncertainty, we are hardwired to make up a story.” But, it is up to us what that story is. This is where being conscious of our thoughts is so powerful. Is the story we are creating clarifying and life-affirming or filled with worry and stress?
Recently, I was getting ready to drive with my daughter down to San Diego State University for her freshman orientation. The soft morning light was coming through the windows and I was sipping my coffee preparing myself for the drive. I glanced at the checklist on the table and decided to give it one more look to make sure we had everything we needed. While reading my heart sank. Somehow I had missed the part about bringing immunizations, which was not a big deal since she’s all caught up. BUT it also required proof of a TB test which she did not have. The warning on the paper read, “Failure to bring completed immunization records may result in a medical hold and delay in registering.” I felt like the worst mom in the world. The main reason we were attending freshman orientation was to get early registration and now that was in jeopardy!! I thought, “What if she can’t register today?” and instantly I started to problem solve the worst-case scenario.
I ran to the office to make a copy of the immunization records then got in the car. On the drive, I had time to calm my thoughts and think things through more consciously. I changed my story to…”We are not the first people in history to forget something. She could pick her classes and then register next week when we get the TB test done. She still has plenty of time before school starts. Let’s ask someone and see what they say. There are infinite possibilities to this situation, probably some I would never even think of on my own.”
We got down to SDSU and had to wait until lunch to talk to the health office representative. I explained our situation and showed him a copy of her immunization card. Then I confessed that we didn’t know that my daughter needed a TB test. He said, “Oh…it’s just a seven-question quiz you take online to determine if you need a TB test. If you haven’t been out of the country in the last 6 months, you probably won’t even need it.” I replied, just to confirm, “So she can register today?” and he replied, “Yes!”
Phew! Crisis averted. In reality, the only place this situation was a crisis was in my own head. I made up the story that we had a problem. I allowed my mind to trigger my body’s stress reaction. It can be so easy to get caught up in our own story, our own beliefs, and lose perspective of all that’s actually possible.
So here is my question to you…When faced with an uncertain outcome, what is the story you are telling yourself? Are you making up an empowering, life-affirming story or worrying and preparing for the worst-case scenario? Are you making space for miracles or only telling yourself stories about what you perceive as possible outcomes?
This month Dr. Heather will be exploring the topic, Encountering the Impossible as Possible, using Lewis Carroll’s story about Alice in Wonderland. We also have an opportunity to encounter our angels and guides during deep meditation and sound bath offered by Kelly Corsino. Let’s all use this as an opportunity to look at the stories we are telling ourselves and make space for the impossible.