If you listen closely, what wish do you hear?
The wish I hear is that I would own my story, my truth, hold it and believe it and protect it, not allowing anyone to convince me to deny it ever again.
Owning our story can be hard but not nearly as difficult as spending our lives running from it. Embracing our vulnerabilities is risky but not nearly as dangerous as giving up on love and belonging and joy—the experiences that make us the most vulnerable. Only when we are brave enough to explore the darkness will we discover the infinite power of our light. ~Brene’ Brown
Three things converged to inform this post: Jamie’s Wishcasting prompt, week three of A Year With Myself (“Self-Portraiture: Rewriting Your Beautiful Story“), and a Sacred Mountain Reading gifted to me by Daniel Collinsworth, (author of one of my favorite blogs, Metta Drum).
This week in A Year With Myself, the focus is your core story. C.A. (project instigator, “the creative alchemist and project midwife“), describes it this way: “one’s personal narrative that is based on the unfiltered ideas she collects and internalizes about herself and the world around her. Some of these ideas are positive and empowering, but some of them…turn into invisible obstacles.”
Your core story includes your core values and core beliefs, the narrative that tells you what to do, what you’ve done, why you do it, who you are, “your personal fable. Your personal mythology.” Working my way through the reading, I was thinking about my core story. I started writing, and this is what came out:
It makes me sad to think about my core story. There is a lot there that is still that old self-hate: you aren’t good enough, you have to be perfect to earn love, you have to perform and change in order to be loved, who you truly are is unloveable, flawed, broken, wrong, you aren’t really an artist, you are just self-centered and self-absorbed and confused. You are too boring, don’t have enough talent to make art anyone will care about. You are fat, too old, not pretty enough, not strong enough. Your intuition, your knowing is wrong, a lie. You can’t be trusted.
What I realized, trying to write it, is that my core story is fundamentally all the things I KNOW are true being denied by people I trust, people I want to accept and love me, and when they deny my truth, they deny me, so to stave off that rejection, I agree with their denial and thus deny myself. It’s not “their” fault. I don’t mean that. I am the one who gave up, gave in and accepted their story as my own. What I wrote, what I collected and saved and carried around, probably wasn’t even their version, but rather one I’d cobbled together from various hints and clues, snippets of conversation and remembered pain, and in the end, an utter misreading, misinterpretation of reality, but sticky and heavy and solid.
DENIED. My truth denied. My self denied. My light, my gift, my joy, my medicine–all denied. Rejected. Refused. Refuted. Disallowed. Disbelieved. Forsaken. Doubted. Negated. Opposed. Discarded. Restrained. Discouraged. Hindered. Limited. Frustrated. It started outside myself, was an external issue, but I internalized it and became my own abuser, dug my own hole, spun my own cocoon, built my own prison–and called it my story, called it “me.” In that way, I am a liar.
Listen to the mustn’ts, child. Listen to the don’ts. Listen to the shouldn’ts, the impossibles, the won’ts. Listen to the never haves, then listen close to me…Anything can happen, child. Anything can be. ~Shel Silverstein
Here’s the truth: I have a generous spirit, a big and wide open heart. I am wise and intuitive. I can see the motivation, the truth that is hidden underneath, the place where we are stuck and the way out. I remember my truth, my experience, and the stories I tell about it are accurate. My power, my medicine is my ability to be honest, to share, to touch and transform. It’s simple. Gentleness is my superpower. I am a source of ease and comfort. I am funny in a way that invites joy and release. I am kind. I am brave. I believe in magic and love. I am an oracle, a warrior. I am curious and creative, interested and interesting. I am capable of being fully in and open to reality, just as it is. I use the words just and so too much, have to look up the difference between lay and lie, and still don’t use them correctly. I love too much, but it makes me a really good teacher and friend, as long as I take care not to lose myself in it. I love my dogs, all dogs, beyond reason. I am utterly monogamous, which is lucky because I married the right one. I am too hard on myself, but I’m working on it. I find comfort in food, take that practice beyond healthy limits, but I’m working on that too. I am a seeker. I am a compassionate visionary, a knower of the way love goes. I am a wholeheARTed and embodied practitioner of yoga, meditation, writing, and dog. I am a thousand shades of gray. THIS is what feeds me, what I am called to do, called to be. This is my core story.
There comes a time in every life when the world gets quiet and the only thing left is your heart. ~Sarah Dessen
Daniel Collinsworth‘s Sacred Mountain reading reinforced much of this for me. There are five cards, each representing a lesson. Sacred Mountain is “a place of balance that exists within the Sacred Space of each individual. To reach this place of wisdom and enlightenment balanced with faith, trust, innocence, and courage, you must climb the mountains and hills of your own limitations and conquer the fears that keep you from flowing.”
My first card (the lesson needed to remove any present limitation) is Self-Expression, and counsels “Don’t deny how you feel, what you think, or what you can offer the world.” As I made clear earlier, I have always been too ready to do this, if I thought it would get me the acceptance and love I longed for. I do it still, even as I move towards not doing it.
My second card (the lesson to restore your trust, where you need to heal the hurt of being betrayed after you trusted) is Self-Sacrifice, “what needs to be sacrificed so that they sacredness of our lives may be restored.” This self-sacrifice card counsels “if some bad habit has limited our capability, that habit needs to be conquered…overindulgence can thwart the abundant life we seek.” Gulp. This one is pretty obviously about my food issues. Part of the difficulty is even though I see the danger this behavior poses to my health, the destructive outcome, the negative aftermath, the despair and desperation it causes, I don’t want to give up the comfort it provides.
My third card (the lesson needed to find your personal truth, a limitation you have put on yourself regarding your ability to know what is right for you) is Truth as Protection. This is about finding personal truth, owning my core story–“It does not matter what others think of you. You know the truth. When you honor that truth, you cannot be hurt by the lies of others” and “Drop those who would no longer honor your path or truth.” In the past, I’ve thought I could find safety in denying my truth, in hiding. If I didn’t allow people in, didn’t let them really see me, they couldn’t hurt or reject me. It turns out, the opposite is true.
My fourth card (the lesson that will assist you in acknowledging your personal talents or gifts) is Viewpoints/Options. Listen to the wisdom imparted by those you trust, those who know, and consider other options or ways of doing and being. Don’t stay stuck in your same old approach.
My fifth and final card (the lesson needed to find personal freedom) is Release. Relief through release, freedom, ease, letting go, trusting, relaxing, sharing, dropping the fear. Let go of needing to be liked or accepted, to be seen as good or even perfect. “Don’t get stuck holding on to anything that no longer serves you.”
Life will break you. Nobody can protect you from that, and living alone won’t either, for solitude will also break you with its yearning. You have to love. You have to feel. It is the reason you are here on earth. You are here to risk your heart. You are here to be swallowed up. And when it happens that you are broken, or betrayed, or left, or hurt, or death brushes near, let yourself sit by an apple tree and listen to the apples falling all around you in heaps, wasting their sweetness. Tell yourself you tasted as many as you could. ~Louise Erdrich
Do you see, kind and gentle reader, how all three of these conspired to remind me of my calling, my medicine, my true story, my true self, my truth?
The wish I hear, if I listen closely, is that I would own my story, my truth, hold it and believe it and protect it, not allowing anyone to convince me to deny it ever again.