I started this blog post with a vastly different message than what it has now become. My initial inspiration was to compare the therapy/ Newtonian model and the quantum paradigm as it relates to personal evolution (some may call it healing). As I was trying writing but it wouldn’t flow, I realized my body had already changed trajectories — the post has now become about “story”.
Stories have been essential to the passing down of cultural truths worldwide. As a collective, we have stories of creation and other culture-affirming traditions. On an individual level, stories about our family history and about our own selves growing up shape us into who we know ourselves to be. As adults, we hang on to those stories and perpetuate new life experiences based on what we have been told is true about ourselves. Few of us actually stop, take a life-affirming breath, and question our Truth behind those stories and their significance in our life in this unfolding moment.
In my own life, I have come to discover that the more I let go of stories about myself, the more I discover who I AM rather than who I have been led to believe I am (based on who I have always been, and apparently, will always be). After all, I am not fixed, nor made of concrete. The essence of who I AM manifests through my body — a brilliant, living, organic, breathing instrument that restructures itself with every single breath. It is through the body that my Signal from Soul communicates with me, in hopes of getting my attention. Am I listening?
The latest story about myself I have been invited to let go of is that of the role pertaining to an “older, more responsible sister”. As the eldest child in my family, I have been told, time and time again, to this day, that I have to take care of / be an example for / lead my younger siblings. Without my awareness, I have internalized this role as true my entire life, because it was presented to me as such. In my 33 years on this planet, I had never stopped to question the validity of this belief. I always, on some level, upheld it as true and carried it with me wherever I went.
How can anyone possibly claim responsibility over the lives of other adults?
How can I know better what each person requires to become a full expression of themselves, as they choose, moment by moment?
How can I ever be right about the choices of another godForce, living the best life they know how?
I know I manifest my own reality — I get to create the life that I am living — the good, the bad, and ugly. I claim all of it.
What I do not claim is the life of other people, capable of living their own lives, responsible for creating the life they choose (consciously or otherwise).
Hanging on to the story of “I am the eldest” and all the presuppositions that come attached to that statement, instilled in me simply by virtue of birth order, has created a chaos within my body for decades. Obliged to be exemplary. Every time someone would, inevitably, mess up, I felt this internal surge of responsibility over them and their actions. It’s like, because I knew better, they should have, too. Oh, all the fucking “shoulds”. They only lead to a dead-end road. No wonder emotions like resentment and rage are so well recognized within my nervous system! There was never any room in the story about the undeniable fact that both my siblings, who are now adults, have the right to live the lives of their own creation. It is not my responsibility to swoop in and “save them” from themselves.
So, I wonder within myself, how many places and spaces within my body are all these presuppositions of the beliefs, values and attitudes instilled in me from before I could speak still alive and well? In what ways do they creep up into my daily life and I barely even notice? How are the judgments that come from believing the story serving me?
Well, they are simply not.
So, my best option is to let the stories go, not intellectually, but viscerally.
My Truth about it is this: Story lives in the past; the only way it becomes relevant to my NOW is if I allow it. The question is only, am I paying enough attention? I know my body tells me the truth of my experience, in the moment. I cannot escape that, nor would I want to. Whenever there is a flood of information flooding my body, I choose to stop whatever I am doing and simply bear witness, pay attention. Being fully present with what’s presenting within my body, I know THAT is the Truth, for me, in that moment. THAT is the Signal from Self that is illuminating my body with information in order for me to simply pay attention. THAT is my “Alert!” alarm letting me know that I am operating from an old, outdated story. Often the content of that story doesn’t become obvious to me until many moons later, but that isn’t necessarily the point. The point is to stop, soften my body, allow the information to move in whichever direction it chooses. Basically, have the experience as it is presenting, without stopping it / changing it / judging it / storytelling it / justifying it… There is something magical that happens in the moment I wholeheartedly trust my body to let go of the story and BE with the experience, simply as myself. I believe the magic arises from the conscious choice to stay present, in the moment, without trying to escape the experience through storytelling about the past or the future.
From my own experience, whenever I abandon myself in the moment chaos is presenting, I remain stagnated in whatever “truth” I have internalized up until now, cheating myself of the opportunity to grow increasingly more into the “me” that I AM. This is true no matter what I label my experience — anxiety, depression, apathy, addiction, low self esteem — pick a thing; It isn’t about the thing itself, it’s about the process, the context in which the thing is presenting. The label is really quite irrelevant in the process of healing.
I also believe that what I choose to pay attention to outside of me is a reflection of what is going on inside of me. So when I notice whatever I notice external to me, it becomes an invitation to stay with what is presenting and find the energetic frameworks (triggers) of that thing as it lives inside of my own Being. For instance, if I notice a mindlessness act out there, I pay attention within myself to notice what it triggers within me. Once I find that energetic framework, it helps me uncover more of my own Truth, so I take note of what I value, for myself, for my own emerging future — in this case, that is, conscious choice.
The ability to be in the moment and make mindful choices from that space without the “shoulds” of the past, for me, is an empowered place to be!
I will end this post with the powerful words of my dear friend, Louise LeBrun, as they resonate deeply for this particular post. In her blog post, “A Storied Existence”, which I highly recommend you read, she writes:
“I need to make choices based on my direct experience and not on the stories that I’m being told by others or telling myself; based on my direct experience of my own calibrations of what’s going on around me and choose from that. I need to notice how what is going on around me is a reflection of what is going on inside me. And perhaps most of all, I need to stop relying on the stories that others tell no matter what supposed authority they might represent.
Imagine a life without any story, at all! Imagine a life lived fully in each passing moment…. from one breath to the next… allowing what presents to lead. For that, we would have to develop capacity for welcoming the unknown; develop comfort in chaos; and trust in the genius of our own body to take the lead. I have lost my desire to calibrate and interpret the illusions/stories of others. Those are for them to recognize — or not; and to either learn from and discover the greater ‘me’ that awaits — or not.”