The Stories We Tell

In this episode of Shades of Intimacy, Jason and Jennie discuss how a health scare for Jennie reminded the couple of the importance of “The Stack.” The stories we tell ourselves in moments of crisis can be turned and viewed from a different angle, giving a fresh perspective on the situation.

Topic #1

In Case of Crisis: Pickles

  • The episode begins with Jennie telling of an incident that happened to her in the previous week. She had noticed something going on with her eye while working on the computer. She felt as if her brain was compensating for whatever was going on and trying to fix it. Jennie stood up and told Jason that something was wrong. Jason responded by jumping up and running to the refrigerator, returning with a jar of pickles and asking,”What is this?” Jennie looked at him and answered,” A fucking jar of pickles!” The couple explains that Jason experienced a similar situation with his mother when she didn’t know what a jar of pickles was and she was having a stroke. This was his stroke test for Jennie.
  • Jennie ultimately called her father as he is a doctor and told him the symptoms she was having. He directed her to have an MRI the next day. The couple goes through the whole day in anticipation of the test. Jennie decided to wait at her parents home because they lived near the hospital, and they wanted to go with her. Thankfully everything was fine, but during the process of waiting for the MRI, Jennie shares how she could have launched herself into a panicked state. She chose to just stay present at the moment and she had an enjoyable evening with her parents. She could have missed out on everything if she had let worry take over.
“I was able to achieve peace because I was surrounded by calm people who I wanted to stay in the present with, and weren’t running for a jar of pickles.”- Jennie

Topic #2   

The Stack

  • Jason shares how he teaches a group of men through “Modern Day Warrior,” on the principles of “The Stack.” He explains that one piece of the stack is that you start to look at what is happening to you from different angles. You drop it into the stack and simply turn it, which gives you an ability to see things from a different angle.
  • Jennie encourages that the listeners don’t attach too firmly to what is originally thought, the original story in your head; the what-ifs. To have a recognition that the first story may not be true and then peel your way back and look at the different perspectives. Although, Jennie ultimately stayed calm because she surrounded herself with calm people who were supportive. Jason reminds her that she had a moment of panic. She tripped a bit, had a trigger into fear. Jennie went into the MRI machine and thought she would be fine. Panic started to rise, so she closed her eyes and counted her breaths. She was playing out scenarios of being trapped in the tube.
  • Jason shares that he has a neurotic moment which causes him to never want to get on an elevator if he has to go to the bathroom, in fear he will be trapped. He wishes that Jennie could bottle up how she got through her stressful event and teach how to remain in a calm state. Their daughter is younger and gets caught up in drama. Jason tells her in a 100 years that the issue won’t matter. His daughter hates that response from him.
“Because Jennie stayed in the vulnerability of the moment she was able to remain calm.”- Jason

Topic #3

The Soup Pot

  • Jason states that the second part of the stack is, what did Jennie learn from her experience? What was her revelation after going into the darkness? Jennie answered that she looks at times when we launch into anxiety, stress, and overwhelm, in regards to the stories in your head. It paralyzes us and keeps us from enjoying each other; from being present in our relationships. Jason saw a simple gratitude for it. There was no heaviness after, just a gratitude that she was fine. Sometimes we feed off of drama, we want to dwell on it. But that didn’t happen.
  • Jason compares it to being in a soup pot with the boiling potatoes and dumplings, when you’re in it you can’t see anything. The couple admits when they first feared something was wrong, they broke out the computers and researched it, but at the end, it was very vague. They still have no answer. Jason shares that the most stressful part was after the MRI and the waiting game started for the results. All of the bad things result in the interpretation of what’s going on in your Body, Being, Balance, and Business. We go through all the loops. Our narrative is to panic when we hear bad news. But those narratives can change. Changing the programs in our head.
  • Jason shares how he and his daughter were not getting along for a time, but then she got really sick. They changed the narrative in that situation; they went to work. It was similar to when Jennie and Jason were in a rut; neutralization and sedation with 12 hours of Battlestar Galactica. A fog of thick, self-loathing was not just about changing behavior or doing something different but about changing the narrative. Jennie shares how the skin around that narrative had become so tight that there was no escaping it because they were believing it.
“ When you are able to loosen the skin around the narrative, you are able to create possibilities and you can start to change your relationships. You have choices.”- Jennie

Closing Thoughts

  • Jennie shares that when you return back to who you really are you recreate the charge. It takes energy to do it though. A body at rest stays at rest, a body in motion stays in motion. Jason adds that it woke him up, the depth of feeling that it activated. His son told him that if Jennie goes down, they are all fucking done. Game over, give it up. His son went into his own story in his head. They came out of it with some gratitude to re-engage life, a little bit of challenge and fire. There was a moment of relief. Moments of inhaling and holding your breath and then returning to the game, returning to life.
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