My dear friend and mentor, Debra, asked me, "What's going on?" when I called, crying, upset and totally not able to function. I replied, "I am out of work and Neil left and my rent is due and my mom won't help and..." My mind had lined up this huge list of events that had gone wrong, and I was just winding up!! Debra, however, stopped me in my tracks. Grrrrr. She asked the same question again. Impatiently, I started my list of complaints up only to be interrupted after the word "work."

Gently but firmly, she said, "You are unemployed. That is what's so. The rest is all stories you want to play with."

Debra might have had to repeat this, say, a dozen times, a dozen ways before I got it. I still thank my lucky stars that I did get it, and for Debra, too. There are no coincidences.

Unemployed is WHAT was really going on. We all knew the WHY I was unemployed (I was fired from my first job for being tardy, but, hey, I was young) so at least I didn't have to fight not going there. After what is really going on, what's so, the rest of my issues or complaints were simply games, garbage, stories. Deal with what's so and the rest fixes itself naturally. It really works.

True, Neil leaving was another dilemma, as was the discord my mother and I were experiencing, but both of those were problems dealing with other people, issues I had little to no control over. I could deal with what had to do with just me, being out of work. That led to accepting the fact, not fighting it, and another article. How can I possibly get myself out of a hole if I refuse to believe or accept I am in a hole?

Some wise person wrote that we mess up our lives with stories in order to have something to play with. My tiny logical brain thought this was really quite silly, right up to the day I could clearly see, not only was this true, I was a champion at stories. I still call Debra from time to time. She and I laugh and clear up my predicament in record time now.

On my frigerator is another note that just says "WHAT? I know it means "Look at WHAT, not WHY." If someone visiting my home asks me about it, and are truly interested in more after the short explanation, then they are given the long version over coffee in one of my favorite sitting and talking spaces.

Let's say I do not like 'avocado' green stoves. Don't ask me why, but I shiver, get nervous and just want to run. A green stove will stir something very deep and angry inside of me, and can easily change my mood to a disaster.

This is called a tape. Somewhere, I have a taped recording of some ugly, painful, unpleasant event that included a green stove.  Only God knows why someone even invented that colour. When I see  an avocado stove, naturally my brain goes back in to storage, finds that tape, molded and partially ruined, and plays the fragments of memory that remain. It's cloudy, incomplete, the information is corroded but the emotion is still in tact, the pain remains. And it still hurts.

There are two schools of thought here. I can spend a small fortune and limitless hours going through regression in order to find out exactly why I do not like avocado green stoves. We can also find out what year that icky color was introduced for appliances and not waste time going past that year, lol! Let's say we do this, spend hours and hours wandering through the recesses of my mind, creating countless hurts dipping into other memories, and miles later, endless tears later, I might be very lucky to uncover the memory of the green stove. Maybe my parents had a horrific fight while she carried me in her womb over the money she spent to buy that stove. Maybe my first experience with 'hot' as a tiny child was regarding a green stove in the kitchen. Who knows?

They say, supposedly, that if I am able to recall the first memory, the event that created the tape, I should become suddenly free of the fear and influence a green stove has in my life. I can say from the regressions I have done, it doesn't work quite that magically. Granted, I now know the source of the fear, as well as the tape.  But, doggone it, the tape is still there, and sure enough, it still plays. I may have more understanding, but it still plays and it still influences me enough to cause problems in my life.

Regression's next step is to buy a green stove, or walk by one over and over and over and over until the tape has little or no affect on me. I agree with this maneuver, as I believe the more we open a hurt or share a difficulty, the less power it has over us. Besides, Sears frowns on my daily appearance, especially after hours.

I had a tremendous fear of red lights from fire truck or the like, to the point where I would freeze on the spot. Nasty little problem when you are driving! The smell of a burning building would empty my stomach on the spot. Off to regression we go, and I uncloak the memory of the house burning down in the middle of the night. Ye gads and little fishes. Armed with all this new input, red flashing lights still spun me into suspension. Another mentor, Jeff, would discover a building fire, and head straightway to get me. We would not only stand and watch the building burn, red lights saturating my world, he would walk me through the building the next day, over and over. Then, once more.

Bottom line, while I had always known about the house burning down, I was not openly aware of the astounding affect it had on me. The knowledge did not erase the tape, but the repeated exposure to the red lights and the odor did dull it tremendously. Now, the local police department is part of my every day world, with ease. Passing by a burnt building still warms up the tape, but it is no longer a crippling experience. Score one for Anne.

Let's head back to step one. To regress or not to regress.

We already know WHAT is the problem, but we might not have the luxury of knowing WHY.  Read more about that here. It is strictly your choice to decide if you can live without knowing the why. And, without the 'why', you can still deal with the 'what.' We just have to learn to let go of our need of the 'why.'

'Need' is not healthy, either, I much prefer a 'want' to a 'need,' but then, that is another story.

Written by Sharry Anne Stevens 1996, all right reserved

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