Something you might not know about me is I’ve been working through a GIANT fear of reading out loud since I was in elementary school, so recording podcasts is me literally pushing past my fears. It is a rare thing that I’m able to record an episode in just one take. Not knowing how to do all the fancy editing stuff, when I mess up, I have to start over from the beginning. As you can imagine after so many takes, I just have to accept a certain amount of imperfections and move on.
Another thing you might not know about me is that I believe that everything happens for a reason. That’s why when I made a few mistakes on the recording of Ep.04 of the Listening with Love Series and a friend was concerned about the possible pushback on one of them, I KNEW there was a teachable moment.
In the episode, I finally recorded all the way through; I made a few mistakes and just decided it was good enough. I was tired, and honestly I just didn’t have it in me to make another attempt, because if I messed it up, I would have to start all over again and who knows how long it would take, ESPECIALLY being tired.
My big mistake was when I stumbled over the words “sex trafficking.” My response to myself when I trip over words is to laugh at myself. It’s my way of saying; it’s okay, you’re human. You are not going to be perfect. At the time, I was choosing perspectives that helped me to move past my fears of reading aloud.
Now, because I was ONLY viewing the situation from my perspectives, I didn’t see how me tripping over the words “sex trafficking” and laughing about my fumble could trigger someone to attack. I also didn’t consider how my slip up could trigger someone’s feelings about sex trafficking in general. Then to take it even deeper, not knowing about the overturning of Roe v. Wade at the time of the recording, I couldn’t even consider how people might be triggered over that and want to take it out on someone. Me slipping up might make me an easy target for someone else’s misdirected anger.
As I thought about how to respond, I realized that everything happens for a reason. I not only asked listeners in the beginning of the podcast to pay attention to the feelings that came up for them, but then I stumbled over words that can be emotionally charged for people. Now, I could have taken the podcast down and tried to record it again, but something inside me said, “NO.” My mistake created a great opportunity to talk about the work that keeps us from being in the prison of our perspectives.
Part of how we become prisoners of our perspectives is when we are in the pattern of REACTING to others from our own neglected emotional pains. When we haven’t done the work of processing and integrating our past pains, we are drawn to stories of villains and heroes. We THINK this will help us lessen the pain we are feeling inside of us, but really it just makes it a lot worse. In our misguided attempt to be the hero, we try to make other people villains and punish them for it. That villain could be someone just like me who innocently stumbled over their words. I’m not saying I was attacked by anyone, but this kind of stuff happens a lot on social media, especially when people are emotionally charged.
When our emotional pains have been processed and integrated, we get the opportunity to respond to what happens inside of us. We also are able to respond to the world around us in a productive and healthy way. We are at peace within, so we project peace through our thoughts, words, beliefs, stories, actions, and responses. This is how our perspectives become our power.
Now, I want you to think of anytime you have taken offense to what someone has said or the way they have said it. I’m going to use the words that the brilliant Bryon Katie and ask you, “Is that true?” Do you know that the story you are playing in your head is true? Do you REALLY know it’s true that the person should have said what they did differently? Quoting Katie again, “How do you feel when you believe that thought?” That’s the prison we create for ourselves. It’s not about the words, actions, or inactions of the other person, it’s about the stories we are keeping alive inside of us and how that is affecting us.
Have you ever played out what you would say to a person in your head over and over to the point you are physically and emotionally depleted? I know I have, and it feels awful. I also know all that energy I’m putting into the story is keeping me from reaching a resolution that I really want. When I can go inward and bring attention to my feelings without story, I get the opportunity to take care of myself.
I’ve learned to love when I have a reaction to someone else’s actions or inactions. Not always in the moment, but when I give myself the chance to question my thinking, I get my power back. I start focusing my energy on what I CAN do and what I CAN change; because I know I’m not going to be changing that other person.
Ep. 04 of Listening with Love was all about naming our feelings. When we name the feelings that come up for us without a story, we give them the power to move and work through us in a healthy way. But, we also get the choice to stay in our story and suffer if that is what we choose.
One of my favorite quotes about accepting reality is from Byron Katie. She said, “I realized that it’s insane to oppose it. When I argue with reality, I lose—but only 100% of the time. How do I know that the wind should blow? It’s blowing!” How do we know someone was meant to say something the way they did? They said it that way. Now, what can I get from it? That’s the question I ask myself. That’s what I do so that I don’t take what other people do and say personally. How I react or respond to what they do is about me. I’m accountable and responsible for my thoughts, beliefs, feelings, stories, actions, reactions, and responses.
Choosing to respond instead of react is a conscious choice. When our own pain drives us, we are unavailable to make that choice. The reason being is that we have to be present in the moment to make it. If we can claim our feelings, nurture them, and then respond, we not only help ourselves, but we are more equipped to serve others.
We each get the choice in every moment to react or respond. The problem with reactions is we don’t always know the story behind whatever we are reacting to. My mom taught me, “It’s none of your business what people think of you.” How people judge us is about their journeys. If you choose to react or respond to what I say, how I say it, you are responsible and accountable for whatever energy you are projecting. I’m responsible and accountable for the energy I’m projecting.
I got a hard lesson on that after watching a YouTube video of a woman who was directing traffic who looked to be drunk. The person videotaping was laughing. My reaction was anger. I was triggered by my past experiences with alcoholics. I thought about the accidents that person might cause. I could feel myself condemning her in every story that was playing in my head. I was so consumed by my stories; I started digging to see if anyone called the cops. I found out that that woman was having a heat stroke and had just been through a traumatic event. Even after finding out the truth about the woman, the person who posted the video kept the video going because it had gone viral. Some comments were HORRIBLE and the majority of them were aimed at the woman.
I am responsible and accountable for my reactions. This was a teachable moment and it taught me to be a lot more conscious of my reactions to other people’s actions and inactions. It’s nobody else’s fault that I reacted the way I did. The experience made me want to work through my past pains so that I didn’t take them out on innocent bystanders.
Every time we are emotionally affected by something, it offers us teachable moments. We get a chance to become empowered or imprisoned by our perspectives. The choice we make will steer our thoughts, beliefs, feelings, stories, actions, reactions, and responses. We are accountable and responsible for our choices. Whatever we choose, we project that energy to the world. What comes back to us is the reflection of what we are projecting. If we don’t want more of the energy of fear, lack, and separation coming back at us, we have to consciously choose to work on what we are projecting. Those teachable moments show us where we are.
The overturning of Roe v. Wade happened. That’s the reality. How do you feel? No story, just how do you feel? Be with your feelings. What do you need to do to take care of yourself? Put YOUR oxygen mask on first. Cry if you need to, tap, write, punch pillows, shake, dance, scream, shower, or swim, do whatever you need to do to take care of those feelings. Take deep breaths in and out. Then, if you feel guided to serve ask yourself: How do I show up for all the people this ruling will affect? Where and how you are divinely guided is your journey. All I know is that when I’m operating from the energy of love, abundance, and peace, I feel unstoppable.
I know that if this message is meant to get through to you, it will. I know if it’s not, it won’t. I’m writing this because it’s my way of remembering to stay conscious of my responses. Thanks for listening.
With Love and Gratitude,
©Rachael Wolff 2022