Puzzles, Choices, Truth and Story

This morning as I wrote in my journal a name flowed out onto the page along with the thought, “Which Truth is True?” I have many conflicting feelings about this person, whom I'll refer to as Heesh, because nothing about the identity of this person is important. On impulse I began listing “true statements” about Heesh.
  • I admire Heesh.
  • Heesh makes me nuts.
  • Heesh sometimes says hurtful things.
  • Heesh is a b... .
  • Sometimes I avoid contact with Heesh.
  • Heesh doesn't mean to be hurtful.
  • I learn a lot from Heesh.
  • Etc.
The list grew. Without conscious transition or intention, I began adding statements about my role in this relationship, the filters I perceive through. My filters subtly shifted as I realized the role they have been playing in my perceptions of this person. I became aware that I can choose filters. 

At some point my hand quit moving and I fell into a reverie, staring at the tiny lights on the small Christmas tree a few feet away. I became transfixed by the glow as it warmed the darkness of early morning. All thought ceased for a few delicious moments before I glanced at my list again. In those few moments it had been transformed. I no longer saw it as a list of paradoxes. I saw it as a picture with light and dark areas. All these things are Truth. It's possible to hold conflicting feelings, just not at the same time.

And … here was the payload: when one of those dark thoughts comes clouds the sky of awareness, I have the power to replace it with a neutralizing positive one. That does not make the dark one untrue. It simply makes me happier. I feel better. I feel strong. Making that list lit up my whole morning, and my view of Heesh.

I include details of this process to underscore the power of writing in a journal, but that wasn't the end of it. My thoughts moved on to stories. I've written a couple of short vignettes about Heesh in the past, each showing an isolated list element. Each is a scene showing behavior, without comment or reflection. I doubt that they'll ever be included in a volume for others to read, but writing them served the purpose of clearing my mind at the time. It felt good to get those stories nailed to the page. 

Now is a good time to follow through and write an expanded story that includes illustrations of each list item and some reflection on the evolution of my feelings toward and about Heesh. This story will deepen the narrative aspect of my morning's experience and perhaps solidify it to ensure a permanent shift in my filters to enhance the light rather than darkening it. This is in alignment with James Pennebaker's observation that research subjects who developed the strongest narrative and insight in their four days of writing showed the strongest indications of improved health. Such an involved story is more than I can dash off in thirty minutes, but it will be a good investment in my own growth and transformation.

By the way, this is not a co-dependent relationship. I might look at things differently if self-destructive behavior were involved.

Write now:
think of a puzzling person you have conflicting feelings about and make a list as I did. Be prepared to shed a few cleansing tears between fond chuckles. If you don't feel cleansed and filled with light when you finish, you may want to spend a couple of days writing about the troublesome list elements until you work them through.

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