I have called Charleston hOMe for almost nine years now. I’m familiar with the city;  the general way of life here. My mind doesn’t tend to create stories about the way people look at me as I walk to yoga, ride my bike to work or sit in my favorite coffee shop.

This past weekend I had the privilege of being able to escape to the Gulf Coast for a mini vacation. Oh how glorious it was. However, as amazing as it felt to get away from Charleston there was something that caught my attention throughout my hiatus. No matter where I was, walking down the street with dad, in a restaurant, on the beach, my mind began to create stories about how everyone would look at me. And I mean everyone.

Everything was a story. My mind constantly created these stories about how one person walked by laughing because they saw me and thought I ‘looked funny,’ or she smiled at me because I’m different, and they are whispering about my stature and so on. You better believe that I let what what my mind was telling me instill sadness and fear within my heart. Sad right?

Now I don’t know about you but every time I’m stressed out or fearful, I begin to believe what my mind is telling me. This is more likely to happen when I am in a new or stressful environment; when I feel vulnerable.

What I am working on is discovering what is true and what is not true for me, the difference between reality and imagination. Truly, I have no idea what anyone whispers about or why they laugh as they walk by me, maybe they are making eye contact because they are a genuinely nice person.

Once I ended up safe and sound on my home turf in Charleston, I took note immediately on how my stories changed. Even getting gas here – I’m not as concerned at how people view me and I shouldn’t be – neither should you.

So now what? Well, I am becoming more aware of when a situation is real and when my mind is just creating a story. If a story arises, my job is to stay present – notice the little things; the way my clothes feel against my skin, the wind against my face, the sunshine, feel my feet connected to the ground beneath me, and just breathe.

Stop the stories.

Love and be loved.

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