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  • Writer's pictureDana Halle

Emotional Time Travel

I thought I'd share another WIL piece. The prompt was to share an experience (or pattern of behavior) as if you were sitting around the campfire with friends, injecting humor and lightheartedness to the extent you could. That is a paraphrase of the actual prompt, but captures its essence. This one was particularly fun to write.

I don't know about you, but it took me years to realize I preferred hopeful denial over facing hard facts or having difficult conversations. This piece reflected my realization that stuffing my emotions away didn't work. They always came back.

My story? Okay, here it is.

I am in emotional chaos, what else is new? So, I summon my guide, who shows up wearing jeans and a leather jacket, instead of her usual gown! She’s headed to a music festival to “soothe” her soul! I sit quietly while she reads my case file on her iPhone.

“I see you read through an old journal that stirred up some long suppressed memories. You know, time travel is risky, but emotional time travel is riskier.”

I’m thinking “Emotional time travel?”

Sensing my confusion, she explained "Emotional time travel exposes unresolved feelings and challenges your truth.“

"What?!?" I ask. "It was just an old journal.”

I have dealt with this before. I can help,” she says. She asks me to look around the room and tell her what I see.

My room is a mess. So, I say, “I see a mess.” But she isn’t amused.

“Look closer. Look in the corner.”

I look and see a box. So, I say “I see a box.” She is still not amused.

Using her parental voice, she says “That is not just any box. That is your Pandora’s box. Your emotional chaos won’t settle without action.”

I think, “Oh Crap! I know about Pandora’s box. Did I have a box?” I listen on.

She says “You have options, you can: 1. Ignore the box 2. Reinforce the lock on the box

or 3. Open the box

Option 1 never works. If you ignore the box, hide the box or repurpose the box, the chaos it contains remains. You have to take action.

Option 2 is better. Reinforcing the lock ensures that its contents are secure. You can proceed with your life. Your past stays put, and, in time, you once again forget about the box. There is no shame in picking this option. Most do. If this is your choice, congratulations! Go make yourself a cup of coffee and get lost in a good book. You are safe. My work here is done.”

At this point, Option 2 sounds great, and I could use coffee, but what is Option 3? I ask her to go on.

“Option 3 is best. But you will face hardship.” She takes a deep breath and hands me calming tea. “Open the box and let out your past. Chaos escalates. Everything changes, including what you know as your truth. Your past hands you lost memories that shake your core. It makes you face your fears and flaws. It invades your dreams and interrupts your sleep.

If you open the box, you must let your past run its course and feel ALL of it, the confusion, pain and sadness. And then, you work. You need to forgive yourself for packing and locking the box in the first place and for all the resulting loss. You need to ask for forgiveness from those you hurt, even if they can’t give it. And you must try to salvage what you can.

But there is a gift. Opening the box opens you. You awaken to all you denied or buried, to your truth, and to possibilities of tomorrow. You are simply and beautifully awake. And the future is yours to craft.”

I didn’t even get to ask questions. Off she ran. She didn’t want to miss the first band, The Lumineers.

Wow. I didn’t realize my story was so long. Sorry! Anyone want more wine?

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