Blue panda is my name for god these days. We constantly converse, the blue panda and I. For real. My brain observes, questions, interprets, and judges things, and I imagine this giant, beautifully animated, panda-god responding. Usually he just laughs, sometimes with me, sometimes at me. His big panda tummy shakes up and down. Sometimes he stops laughing and he whispers insights and understandings and helpful ways of thinking about things. In the last few months I've passed along some of this blue panda wisdom and some people have found it so helpful that they forwarded it on throughout the interwebs!
Book of Blue Panda
Chapter 1, Verses 1-5
1. Our human brains and our broken hearts have a strong need to make sense of things. We are desperate to understand everything that happens, especially when we are in a lot of pain. And so we create stories about the past. We label ourselves and we label other humans. There is nothing wrong with being human and many of our interpretations and stories and labels are valid. But it helps to be aware of our tendency to interpret the past and then believe that our interpretations and our stories are what "really" happened.
2. In the past, some stuff happened. Maybe your partner had an affair or maybe you lost custody of your children. But watch how fast and how much like a strong reflex you turn those factual events into huge, significant stories. "If only we had gone to counseling." "If only I had been someone different." "She never loved me and doesn't know how much I loved her." "I was an awful parent." And then we give everyone, including ourselves labels, like "broken" and "unlovable" and "not good enough" and "ex-rat-bastard-jerk-face."
3. Set all of these beliefs and stories and labels on this imaginary kitchen table right here. All of these stories are NOT TRUE. They are your extremely biased and completely self-serving interpretations of the past. All together they form an epic piece of historical fiction, starring you, the tragic martyr, the lonely super-hero, and the dark super-villain. Pure fiction. Yes, some stuff happened, but in attempting to understand it and in order to feel that you can exercise control of things in the future, you have made up some stories and you have come to believe many things (about yourself, about other individuals, and about humankind in general) that are pure hogwash.
4. Don't try to stop yourself from interpreting and understanding things. Just be aware that you're doing it and be aware that there is a large distance between all of the random, benign, infinitely complex and incomprehensible stuff that happens, and your deliciously alluring set of interpretations and beliefs. You have created stories that you use to understand your past and these are the stories that you will use to shape and limit your future.
5. Dust off your imagination and think about how it would feel to let any unkind or stressful stories, interpretations, and beliefs go. Imagine letting them float up off this kitchen table and disperse into nothing. What really happened? Nothing that means anything cruel or significant or even noteworthy about anyone or anything.