I can’t remember where I read this (probably in one of my healing books), but I read a great analogy about healing that I am beginning to experience firsthand. The resource shared about an experiment involving fish.
A large fish tank was subdivided into two parts separated by a pane of glass. The scientist released a fish on one side and the fish’s prey on the other side. The predator repeatedly hit the glass in pursuit of its prey and eventually gave up. A few months later, the scientist removed the glass. Even though the barrier was removed, the fish never again tried to pursue its prey on the other side of the tank.
I am finding that I have been living in artificial boundaries that have been removed, and the only impediment to me going to the other side of the fish tank is my own mistaken belief that a barrier still exists. This seems to be true in multiple areas of my life. I assume that because X triggered me in the past, I must always avoid X. The thing is … I am finding that this belief is frequently no longer true.
Let’s take the approach of Halloween, for example. In the past, Halloween has been triggering to me, and I would get triggered by the black robes in Halloween stores. I would take precautions before going into a Halloween store or just avoid it altogether. This year, I have taken my son into Halloween stores three times and been completely OK. Not only have I been OK – I have enjoyed myself!
I typically get worked up before I visit my hometown. As I shared last week, that did not happen this time. Instead of assuming that I was going to be all wigged out, I just went about my day and figured that I would deal with whatever emotions arose as I went. I only recall one short burst of anxiety, and that only happened when I started analyzing myself and how I have reacted in the past.
This is happening in other areas of my life as well, so I am trying to get out of my own way and stop assuming that I cannot do X because X has always been a problem in the past. Instead, I am experimenting with just going about my day and not worrying about if I get triggered. If I do get triggered, I know how to calm myself down – the world won’t end. I am surprised by how infrequently I am being triggered these days.
The holiday season is typically a difficult time of year for me, but I am going to wait and see. I’ll just go about my life without having preconceived notions and see what happens. Who knows? Perhaps they will be fine. And if I get triggered, I know I’ll be OK.
Photo credit: Lynda Bernhardt