A good friend of mine described her tense unfortunate situation with her neighbours.

The impression she was left with was that something very mean and malicious happened intentionally, and my friend was suffering as a result.

My instinct was protective, and I was outraged and concerned about the toxic energy so close to her home.

When other mutual friends asked me how she was doing, I repeated the story in my outrage and worry.

Every time I told my friends story, I felt awful. All the original negative emotions came out at full volume. Five of our mutual friends heard the story from me.

A few days passed and during another phone call I discovered the information we spoke about was totally wrong.

What had transpired was now understood to be a matter of difference of opinion rather than any intentional meanness.

I was so relieved that this was the case. I was so glad I called.

Knowing my friend, this update would have been slow in coming because she’d already moved on and out of the hard place.

But I had still been stuck in the other conversation, the other energy. Up until I called her again.

When my parents used to have arguments in my presence, I left their home to go to my own with that conflict alive and kicking in my psyche.

Days would go by and I’d later tentatively call to see how the weather was in their house and was surprised to hear cheerful banter and no hint of conflict in the air. They’d moved on. And didn’t tell me.

You can imagine I felt more than a little resentful about being dragged into something that had nothing to do with me and yet affects my frame of mind. When I left them it became unfinished business and would remain so, collecting my energy in concern until I could update the status of their dynamic.

With my family background in mind, I reflected on the toxicity had spread, of the completely wrong information I’d polluted my friends within the retelling of the misunderstood tale.

Knowing how relieved I was to be updated with more harmonious current conditions, I decided to call each person and inform them of the correct information, and apologize for being the messenger of less than helpful and incidentally inaccurate information. I didn’t want anyone to suffer as I had for a moment longer than necessary.

Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor, a neuroanatomist, and author of My Stroke of Insight, succumbed to a massive stroke over a decade ago. She said something in an interview years after she recovered that has left a mark on me and I believe many others.

Her stroke blew out her rational side, and left her wide open in her right hemisphere, experiencing a sublime, profound connection to all and everything. She understood from first-hand experience what it felt like to be part of a collective consciousness.

Although she couldn’t talk, she could feel everything, including the mood each person brought with them as they entered her hospital room. That was the overwhelming vulnerability she felt, helpless in the face of the negative energy people recklessly and thoughtlessly brought into her space as she tried to recover.

“Take responsibility for the energy you bring.” was the sign she placed at the door when she was finally able to.

These seven words can change your life and those around you. Change the quality of your mood. Change the influence you may have on others. All for the good.

The story that I repeated about my friend and her troubles did nothing to enrich the lives of those I love.

The retelling did nothing to comfort me. It was a kind of gossip even though nothing I said couldn’t have been said in front of my friend. There was nothing constructive about it in the long run because knowing these details didn’t change anything.

We couldn’t help her by knowing. We just all jumped into the same pit, unhappily.

When the story changed for the better so quickly, that fact really started to bother me.

Why do I tell a harsh story, an unfinished tale in mid-flight? Why repeat bad news? Especially if it’s midway through a situation.

Had I simply waited in my inner place of knowing that everything is working out for the best- because that is the way it is in my philosophy- the information would have been updated without any need for undoing past drama.

It was simply an unfolding as are most stories until they’re totally done.

This doesn’t mean telling what happens to us should stop. However, in the telling, or the repeating, whether it happened to you or another, notice how you feel.

If you don’t feel good, why are you telling the story? Really, why are you telling a story that makes you feel lousy?

It’s simply another level of personal accountability. To you and to others.

You are the only one responsible for the way you are feeling.

So as is the saying- be careful what you spend your time thinking about. And be careful of the stories you tell.

Disciplining myself to stay a bit more neutral, a bit more grounded, a bit more objective and a LOT more trusting in the process while I listen to any kind of news can only end in a more pleasant journey in this life. Why wouldn’t I choose this way of being over the other more reactive and angry way?

Coming out of this experience humbled and enlightened helps me appreciate the evolutionary trajectory of growing up.

Maturing into a wisdom that reflects my ultimate wish, and that is to live as well as I can and positively impact those who cross my path.

I don’t expect to change my storytelling ways overnight, but certainly, I will take a moment to notice how I’m feeling while talking.

Perhaps before I repeat a bad story, I’ll remember to ask myself, what good can come of this telling?

If the answer is nothing, perhaps the weather might be a better choice of topic.

It leaves much less of a mess to clean up later.

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