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".
A Powerful Story Comes to Light
For much of my childhood and early adulthood, I was stuck in stories. I wish to share one with you as an illustration of how these stories keep us from living in the present and in our self-mastery. My story, spoken only to myself is 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, yet he rarely seemed "drunk" to me.
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 my daughters were two and a six months old. As was true for most years 15 years I had lived in Maine (I was born and raised in RI), Dad and Jean came to visit me on or around my birthday. During this 36-year-old self visit, 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 still didn't truly see what had happened (how his choice of vodka over scotch had been my temporary lifeguard, pulling me out of my own 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 ... he had gotten is transition scenario "wish list".
Almost immediately I realized what a Divine gift that last visit had been ... and I thanked him, Source/All that Is/God and many elements for convening. I am so graeful to this day! 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 with him, 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 by his passing, as were the other members of my family. We had no preparation for this loss. He was a big man and he had a big part of everyone's heart. I felt the physical loss of my dad very deeply; I was much less spiritually and karmically aware then. 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.
Diggin' in the Dirt to Unearth Understanding
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.
His Share of the Pain
The story is fascinating with so many layers as I now dive under and above it. How much of his inner turmoil and drinking was rooted in having me as a daughter? You see, when I was just a toddler, I hurt myself and spontaneously healed that boo boo. As a parent I cannot imagine how I would react to this, especially when I think back to who I was when I was 36.
But here's the thing ... I forgot who I was in the process. Did he ever look back and question that? Or did his part in the story leave him forgetting the whole thing? Did he wonder what life would have been like if that moment had never happened? Or did I just make the whole thing up? I honestly think we can convince ourselves of anything if we are convinced and not open-minded. Moreover, I know it was supposed to happen exactly the way it did. It's part of my challenge. It's at the root of me ... not only in this lifetime, but also in another that I've remembered.
The beauty of that is, once we consciously see something, it no longer holds its illusion over us.
Lifeline Out of the Story
When the outer trappings were different (vodka which is clear and mildly scented versus scotch which is amber and pungent), the story became 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 and perhaps not finding my way back to mySelf ... all subconscious yet SO powerful!
Standing here now, reflecting upon this, I can also imagine that had my dad's alcohol of choice been vodka, I would have smelled it the moment he arrived at our home. My missing usual cues of the story and/or them not being there disoriented me within the story and allowed me to be present. So grateful to have had that gift, because I'm sure there was more than a little piece of Divinity before, during and after the experience.
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 which at least to some part steered my early adulthood, was warped. I had been living with clouded vision, tricked by my own perception and focus. Fears are similar to "stories" ... lie pull us away from what is present and real, too! Fears have their place in protecting us; otherwise, we'd have lost our "fight or flight" instinct. In most cases these are stories with a lot of negative emotion, and they prevent us from Self Mastery rather than promote it..
Finding Your Lifeline
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 when you think the story is fantastic (you become rich and famous, you get a once-in-a-lifetime break) getting stuck in that story can also pull you away from your SELF. Just look at what happens to most celebrities!
Awareness = The Power of Choice = The Power to Change
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 think we're out of our story, we have likely just stepped into other. It's part of the paradigm of duality and feeling separated. When you feel separated, come back toward The All.
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? I know how I feel when I go to that place of BEing ... do I want to go there?
Sometimes we may be surprised to find that the root of the story is not even OUR story. Perhaps it's one we inherited! Some type of family folk lore. 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. You make a choice even with your unconscious choice, and there are many more of those than conscious ones for most people.
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! It's about healing those parts of self that are pulling the strings and making us a mere marionette in our own lives. When we are in this duality it is sometimes hardest to see ourselves. Take that as a given and not as a criticism.
Free will is not a curse here on Earth. It is our ultimate path to Self Mastery. I love you. I see you as I see myself, and when I lose sight of my self you help me see, too. We are here to help one another. I see you as powerful enough to choose not to stay in a story that keeps you from being a happier more healthy YOU. You are here for an important reason.
Love and light,
release that which no longer serves you ...
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