What's The Story / by Dana Bergstrom

A couple of weeks ago, I had an entire day where I felt zero emotion.

I experienced what life must be like as an emotional flat-lined human.

When one of my favorite songs came on the car radio, I'd NORMALLY be like, "Ooooooh! Earth, Wind & Fire! Dance! Dance! Dance!" 

But that day, I felt nothing.

I even had my favorite food which is usually quite a high for me.

I mean, I adore avocados so much that I don't even try to contain the involuntary moans and loud declarations of undying devotion for this perfect fruit whenever I'm near one.

"CHIPOTLE! Yummy! I could eat this every single day! Oooooh! If I could ONLY SMEAR GUACAMOLE ALL OVER MY WHOLE BODY, I'd be in HEAVEN!"

But that day, I simply sat in Chipotle and ate my burrito bowl minus any talk of delicious green goop on my lady parts.

It was so weird.

Nothing moved me.

Nothing irked me either.

I did stuff that day; but it didn't MATTER to me if I did anything or not. It was a perfectly fine day, to be quite honest. It was just strange.

By evening, when my emotions started to appear again, I realized how much of an effect the stories I tell myself have on my daily experience.

My constant narration pulls information from my past and projects it into the future, swaying my emotions and convincing me to decide things in a particular way.

What lights me up? What turns me on? What excites me? That's how I like to move through life.

But when I don't have an emotional compass, like that day, then how do I make choices?

I certainly don't want to go back to how I used to decide stuff when I was DEPRESSED as hell.

Oy.

That's when I made all of my decisions based on "shoulds".

I SHOULD do this because this is what I SHOULD be doing as an "educated person", as a "spiritual person", as a "responsible person", as a "whatever-I've-been-conditioned-to-be person".

I now understand that a "should" indicates that I'm not listening to my inner being. I'm listening to an external authority instead.

Making decisions based on external authorities' stories sucks my ever lovin' will to live and I'm not going back there again.

But making decisions based on how things FEEL has always worked well for me.

For example, I fell crazy in love with my current house and that's how we ended up here. I saw it online, couldn't stop obsessing over it, driving by it, and constantly daydreaming about what we could do with it. Outwardly, it made little sense to go from a FINISHED three bedroom colonial to a one bedroom gross, little, nondescript dwelling. And even though Pauly did NOT want to live in this particular neighborhood and refused to even look at the house, I made an appointment with a realtor to see it on my own.

It was obvious to me the second I walked into this tiny, shithole, fixer upper that it was OURS! I called Pauly and told him to make his way here FAST. He did and the second he walked in, he knew it was ours too.

I designed the remodel with a 3D software program, creating an open living room with two massive windows looking out into the woods.

Potential!

Potential!

It's 2003 and I'm in my DOROTHY HAMILL LIVES IN A CRAPPY RUNDOWN HOUSE phase.

Every day since Pauly and his dad and brother put those windows in, I'd walk through the living room and experience AWE. The trees could not have been placed more perfectly around the house! All year long, it's like staring at a stunning postcard when I look at the nature surrounding us.

For years I've said that this view was the MAIN reason I could handle Duluth's harsh weather. The beauty of it all made living in the frozen North worthwhile.

But then one day last year, I walked through the living room with a basket of laundry and instead of looking outside and going "Ahhhhh!" as I always did, I saw the gorgeous view and went "Meh".

WHAT?!

I stopped in my tracks.

What just happened?

I didn't know.

But thanks to my recent emotional flat-line day, I now know exactly what happened.

I dropped my story.

My living room view is still just as lovely, but it no longer has a particular MEANING attached to it.

Pauly currently practices Jin Shin Jyutsu in our finished living room when we're not remodeling the house next door.

Pauly currently practices Jin Shin Jyutsu in our finished living room when we're not remodeling the house next door.

I don't "need" to stay in this house in order to live in Duluth. I don't require a story or strong emotion to know whether or not I want to still live in this house or not.

In fact, I now know that I can live ANYWHERE and do ANYTHING in the world and be happy.

Like becoming a naked guacamole wrestler in Sweden!

I can tell whatever story I want to or tell no story at all.

And that right there is pure and simple Freedom.