Arbour therapists recognize that we have as much to learn from our clients as they do from us. In this article, one of our clients shares their insight about the stories we generate, edit, and publish, in ways that are similar to a newspaper.
Are you aware that your waking mind is constantly generating stories? If so, it’s helpful to remember that this is the job of your mind: to try to explain and rationalize events that are occurring in your life. The mind hates a vacuum and seeks to fill the abyss with stories. These stories are often generated by struggles, wounds and memories.
For example, you might find this coming up: “Why does this keep happening to me?” “I’m not good at managing people in the workplace,” “I always screw up when someone questions and doubts me.” Sometimes stories are much darker than that - or annoyingly trivial. Perhaps there are new stories arising, such as “This guy just doesn’t like me” or “I think I need to make a massive change in my life because this isn’t working.”
How do we know what to do with these stories?
Perhaps you have taken up meditation in the hopes of quieting those stories, but you may be frustrated to realize that the mind continues dreaming up its stories. The job of the meditator, and indeed the practice of meditation is to notice the stories and pull your mind back, as you would with a rambunctious puppy, to the focal point - your breath or an external object. But the stories keep coming.
There can be a pause, while an Editor (a Higher Self or a Wise Adult) evaluates those humming stories and decides whether or not to let some go.
If you have noticed this, perhaps you can relate to this image. Think of a reporter from a 1950’s film - eager to jump onto a lead, and run with it? Perhaps they have a slightly dishevelled look from slaving over a hot typewriter (generating stories is hard work!) or the reporter is standing in the doorway of the office of the Editor with a pen and notebook in hand. This reporter is keen to advance their career and is hyper-alert to anything resembling a story.
You might then imagine The Editor, looking over the top of her glasses with some openness and some degree of skepticism. They have to consider whether or not there is evidence that this story is true, and whether or not this story lines up with the message of that particular publication. Is this story going to feed negativity and fear, or is there something positive and potentially fruitful about this story? Is there value in this story?
Going a little deeper. think of the mind as a massive newspaper publication with hierarchies consisting of reporters, an editor and a publisher. The old stories generated by the reporter are humming along in the background and some of them may have been present for a very long time. For our purposes, it’s probably best to concentrate on thinking of one reporter. They are a dogged, persistent, hard worker.
To further develop the analogy, a newspaper business has a well-developed hierarchy: the Publisher or owner of the newspaper decides the overall colour of all aspects of the business. For instance, does this newspaper have a gossip column? Am I that kind of newspaper? Is there a Classified ad section where I can clearly state my wants and needs or release, get rid of, or sell the “stuff” I no longer want? “Stuff” can be material goods or just old baggage that can be let go of.
What about editorials, which may appear separately from my news stories? Is there value in recognizing that what I’m thinking is just an opinion and not necessarily cold hard fact? Would there be a Letters to the Editor section where others can express their thoughts and opinions and am I open to feedback from others? Is my mind a cheap rag or a distinguished journalistic venture, seeking the truth?
Possibly, this system might appeal to you and could be used as a guide for your actions. The investigative reporter is merely doing his job, but those stories can be looked at and questioned. Maybe those stories kept us safe for a while, but we don’t need to run with all the stories that are generated. There can be a pause, while an Editor (a Higher Self or a Wise Adult) evaluates those humming stories and decides whether or not to let some go.