Yet, there is some validity in this phrase for most of us. Truly, we rarely know what others, even those we love, are carrying as their "story". Unfortunately, family and life-experiences can color our worlds in a way quite opposite to "wearing rose colored glasses". From my perspective, when we get enmeshed in our story/stories we stop questioning, listening, and seeing our choices ... thinking: Things are "set in stone." "Things will never change." "He/she is incapable of providing what I need, so why should I even ask?" "I have to suck it up." etc., etc., etc.
Sometimes we aren't even aware of the story carrying us along, like a riptide. A riptide is a strong current that runs in a narrow band perpendicular to the shore. It is a rare occurrence, but it can be deadly. If people are stuck in the riptide, they can be carried off to sea. If they fight the riptide, they will most often fatigue before reaching shore, lose the struggle and drown. One can, however, escape a riptide, by swimming parallel to the shore ... escaping out the side of the tidal pull.
Living in our stories can be equally as fatiguing and can drown us in sorrow. Escaping our story can be as easy as stepping out of the story ... the secret lies in taking the time to recognize and heal the pain beneath the story ... "the root".
For much of my childhood and early adulthood, I was stuck in a story. That story was that my dad was an alcoholic. Understand that that was not a topic of conversation, that was my judgment. Dad was a self-employed architect. He was talented and hard working. He would also start drinking before Noon. Although he provided fully for me, my mom-by-marriage (Jean) and my brothers, his drinking seemed to be the center of my focus when we were together. Even though I didn't want this to be true ... I wished I could just enjoy his company as his friends and even other relatives did. After all, he was a wonderful man. I NEVER heard him speak badly of any other person in my entire life. Yet when we were together, I would be monitoring how much he was drinking, how he was acting, etc. Sure I saw his intelligence, ingenuity, fun, love of nature, etc. ... but my eagle vision was narrowly focused on the drinking. It certainly clouded our relationship.
Fast forward to Kristi at age 36. My husband and I had a two year old and a six month old. As was true for most years 15 years I had lived in Maine (I was born and raised in RI), Dad and Jean would come visit me on or around my birthday. During the visit when I turned 36, Dad wasn't feeling well. He had some chest congestion and, consequently was not drinking scotch during the visit, electing to drink water instead.
We had the most amazing visit together. We played on the floor with the children. I took him to my office and showed him some of the graphics work I was doing. He told me how proud he was of me. I cannot tell you the number of deeply touching moments we had on that visit ... connecting as we had when I was a mere child. As my folks left, I hugged and kissed them both and told them how much I loved them, getting the same in return.
A couple of hours after they had left, I said to my husband "Well, that was an amazing visit. I am so grateful that Dad wasn't drinking, and I could just relax and enjoy him."
"What do you mean he wasn't drinking?" Joe said.
"I mean that because he wasn't feeling well, Dad wasn't drinking alcohol."
"Actually," Joe said "he was drinking straight vodka, He thought the vodka would be more effective than scotch in 'breaking up the mucus' he was feeling in his chest"
I was astonished. Yet, this new information didn't diminish the memory of what we had shared. At that moment, I didn't truly see what had happened (how his choice of vodka over scotch had been my temporary lifeguard, pulling me out of my riptide) and what a gift this had been for both of us.
Later that week, I received a heart-breaking call that my dad had just passed away of a massive heart attack. He had died quietly, working at his drafting table in his own home ... something he had wished for aloud as his dream way to pass.
Almost immediately I realized what a Divine gift that last visit had been ... and I thanked God then and have done so many times since. What struck me most deeply is that my dad wasn't any different on that visit. He was still drinking. I was the one who had shifted ... my focus, my perception. I was open, accepting and living in the moment, possibly for the first time in years!
So, where had this story come from? Why the vigilance/monitoring/inability to relax? First, let me say that I was devastated as were the other members of my family. We had no preparation for this loss. I felt the physical loss of my dad very deeply; I was much less spiritually aware then, not recognizing my eternal heart-based connection with my dad. But as I grieved in the days following my dad's passing, the story that had clouded our relationship for so many years came more clearly into view. I saw the root.
When I was about 9, my dad moved into our finished basement. I remember eating dinner with him many nights (we seemed to have a shared taste for Campbell's canned chili). Then one day ... seemingly out of nowhere for me .. he was moving out of the house. Perhaps an adult thinks that moving into the basement is warning for a child that one foot is out the door, but for me it wasn't. Also, "back in the day" not too many people were divorcing. I can remember asking him where he was going. He merely said "I have to leave", comforting me as best he could, and promising me I'd see him on weekends ... something he was faithful about. But I was crushed!
This "abandoned" child-self, still inside, was running the show ... she was on alert every time we were together. She was at the heart the story. She was afraid of losing her daddy again. She felt she had barely survived the first separation, how could she physically "lose" him. I also recognized there was part of my mom's story ("he drinks too much") that I had adopted as my own. I now see an additional "chapter" in my story with my dad ... that child self who had been told to "never do that [healing] again" in order to protect her. Perhaps this part of me recognized my dad held a key to a huge part of me I had consciously forgotten existed!
The story was easy to escape when all of the wounded aspects of me thought Dad wasn't drinking. What a shame that so many moments spent together had been ruled by this unconscious fear of losing my daddy. Although painful, losing my dad as a 36-year-old with a husband and two children was not nearly as devastating as the child-self imagined/remembered. Her perception was warped, yet it had nonetheless powerfully clouded my vision, perceptions and living. Fears lie to us like that too ... if/when that which we fear actually befalls us, we typically realize how strong we actually are!
What if we aren't gifted with a lifeline that pulls us out one or the other side of the story ... out of the riptide? How can we dare to even hope that we can escape? The escape route is Conscious Awareness ... realizing we have a choice of whether or not to stay in a story or to swim parallel to the shore and release that which no longer serves us. Remember, even you think the story is fantastic (e.g., you become rich and famous) getting stuck in that story can also pull you away from your SELF and start to define/run your life unless you are conscious of that pull.
Invite curiosity into your life. Take a look ... really look ... at where you are putting your attention in the relationships that are most dear to you. What are the things that trigger you? Take the time to look for and question the stories that are running you. Ask yourself, is there a part of me that's hurt/wounded and being somewhat irrational in my perception of the situation? Am I living in the moment or living some past-tense script? Is there an easy way for me to shift that perception? Is there a part of me that needs to heal? Can I do that on my own, or should I get support from someone else?
When we take the time to ask ourselves why something is bothering us, we have also taken the first step in claiming our own power and mastery. When we notice our stories and ask ourselves from whence they came, we can sit with that answer. Then we can dive deeper still. Why do we feel this way? The goal is to keep asking these questions until we find the root of the story. Maybe it isn't even OUR story. Perhaps it's one we inherited! With this knowledge and inner understanding, we can then choose whether or not we still want to live in and/or own the story. Your power of choice is in this moment right now ... THE PRESENT.
Helping others escape their story and/or see around their blind spots is at the heart of the work that I am doing. I provide lifelines ... the escape route and then let the client swim himself or herself to safety. It's about clarity, empowerment, and connecting with one's higher joy! Asking for help may truly be the hardest part of the healing process. Yet, please understand that whoever told you you need to "suck it up", "no one will ever love you/help you/want you", "you have to fend for yourself", etc, etc., etc, was surely stuck in their own riptide of pain and just pushed some of that pain, consciously or unconsciously, onto you. And they were wrong. I love you. I see you. I want to help you. I see you as powerful enough to choose whether or not you want to stay living in that story!
Love and light,
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