Story defines our lives. We cling to it, allowing it to inform our sense of self. We use it as permission to suffer and to blame others for our current reality. To move beyond story means looking closely at our inner world and all that we believe, and hold, as truth. It means letting go of our grasp on things no longer relevant. It takes courage and honesty to do this work, but it's essential for cultivating the life we desire.
Each day we are born again. What we do today is what matters most.
Life follows a narrative arc - a trajectory that encompasses our lived experience, the beliefs we hold and the choices that we make. It is our story. We can choose to hold tightly, every aspect of our own fabled lore or we can decide instead, to look at it from a distance - like a rainbow on the horizon after a storm. From this vantage point, we gain perspective and begin to understand the lessons inherent in the journey. This is not an easy feat to achieve. It takes time and practice for we are conditioned to grasp. We hold near to us all the storylines that we think define us; all the things that bring us close to the person we have decided that we are. These may be things we are proud of. They may also be things that bring us pain. How we hold them determines their value.
When we find ourselves consumed by the suffering aspects of our storyline, we are not available to the present reality. We become blinded to the opportunities that may exist, training our vision instead, to external explanations for our misery. But the answers are not "out there". To move beyond the comfort of our known reality means moving into the kind of self-examination that cracks us open and lets the light seep in. In this place of vulnerability, we begin to see more clearly, what is true for us. We begin to connect with a deeper and forgotten part of ourselves. We give voice to our own inherent wisdom and a kind of truth that nourishes, heals, and at times, surprises. Here the potential for evolving into more enlightened versions of ourselves, exists. Doing so takes courage and a willingness to let go of outmoded parts of ourselves; aspects that restrict and limit the growth that we desire. Our flaws and tender points of "stuckness" are found here; so too is our shadow. And so, we come face to face with the personas that we have worn. Like a pair of old shoes, that which once served an important purpose in our lives, becomes worn out; no longer easy to wear.
Undoing the story is not about denying our past or the power that it holds in our lives, or in our memory. It means holding the past in a manner that does not suffocate us. Moving beyond the circumstances of our lived experience requires distance, space, and light. It means learning from all that we have lived so that we can create all that we desire. When we hold too closely, the difficult experiences of our past, they become the lens through which we view all of life's encounters. Our vision becomes clouded, narrowed. Darkness dominates the view. When
light is relegated to the periphery it becomes hard to see unless one turns their head in the direction of this new vantage point.
The Sufi tale "The Key and the Light", captures this understanding beautifully. Through this fable we learn that when we search outside of ourselves for the answers, we remain blind, unable to find the key to our own truth. We must look within; this where true wisdom exists.
Living in the past ensures that our present will map out with the same kind of energy that we know and understand. A quote from Albert Einstein epitomizes this understanding: "No problem can be solved from the same consciousness that created it." There is little room for growth in this type of restricted field, and so, a shift in awareness is required.
So, how is this kind of growth achieved? How does one shift from an external orientation to something internal; self-effacing?
In reflecting on the answer, the traditional modes and methods for cultivating inner awareness come to mind. Meditation, and mindfulness in particular, are the prime approaches that buzz in the consciousness of mainstream culture today. They are powerful, ancient and proven methods for bringing one into closer approximation with true self-knowing. Mindfulness practices exist today in a myriad form. Whatever approach is taken, calming the mind is essential; it helps one to navigate the chaos of the world with infinitely more grace than is possible amidst the din of mental chatter. In this space, there is no one else but the self. We come face to face with the all that we are, all that we believe, and the patterns woven through our lives as story. In this space humility is king; it has to be. To be truly honest with ourselves, we need to be willing to let down our guard and let go of the need to be right - about everything! We need to make room for other possibilities, other voices and be willing to release ourselves and others from blame.
Undoing the story, means exploring issues from a new vantage point. It requires fresh eyes and an open heart. It means listening differently, loving unconditionally, forgiving fully and honoring all that is. The approach taken is personal. The key is to find a way out of our own self-limiting myths and into the discovery and the gift of a life worth living.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Denise Neumann-Fuhr is a Certified Transformational Coach who specializes in mind-body-spirit approaches to healing and personal development. She utilizes a method of assisted self-study grounded in mindfulness and somatic awareness. Adding to this is a background in Transpersonal & Jungian Psychologies, Shadow Work and energy dynamics. Denise is located in Kingston, Ontario. For more information see www.in-sightconsulting.ca