What’s useful about past stories, in this moment today?
Did you ever connect with something so powerfully and you were not sure why? Did a powerful connection in a moment trigger a memory from your own story?
Sometimes there’s something extraordinarily useful in how moments like these can inform what is present for you today.
The stories of our lives shape how we show up today. The good news is that we have choices right now about the good and bad stuff we carry with us.
The good news continues with what we make today and what we create for ourselves tomorrow.
Our stories are actually only stories. Stories are the experiences that help to shape our understanding of our world and ourselves. While these stories and experiences are often tied strongly with the emotions and physical memories that accompany them — stories are not who we are or what we can decide to be, or what we decide to create next for ourselves.
What’s the lesson in the story that you are telling?
I noticed that when I watched auditions for shows like Britain’s Got Talent, America’s Got Talent, XFactor, or the like I was having hugely emotional responses. What was I connecting with?
I have a story to share with you; the lesson, and the leverage that’s useful for me today.
It’s a story about a very creative and sensitive boy, now a man. This story begins in a time and place that is so long and far away that it’s almost difficult to remember the specific details.
This memory has been buried so deeply it’s difficult for this man to connect with it. What he remembers is that at a very young age — every night at bedtime he would look to comfort himself by rocking his head back and forth, while singing songs to himself. It was what he needed to do then to fall asleep. Today, he remembers that he did this and wonders what was missing for him then.
Somewhere buried even deeper is an even more intimate memory. The place where the emotion and connection to the inner light of his soul lives. The place that glows and shines forth. The part of his essence that wants just one thing.
He tells me he remembers the feel of his small head on the pillow and the comfort he found as he rocked his head back and forth from one side of the pillow to the other.
Then there was a moment when his parents somehow connected with the parents of one of his friends and they talked about him. It was the first time he felt embarrassed and ashamed and different. Now, he began to rock his head and he would try to stifle his voice so that he could not be heard. It was not easy as struggled to comfort himself.
Years later, there was another devastating moment in front of nearly 300 people. In the moment he was to do a reading for his Bar Mitzvah. He panicked and froze. He took a breath focused and was about to begin again when he was told, “Go sit down.”
Forward a few more years and this boy discovered popular music and found his voice again. He experimented a bit here and there — mostly privately. He spontaneously began to sing in front of family members — not for them and not to perform — just to himself a little bit.
“Be quiet, stop singing,” a parent said.
Pulling together some gumption he went and privately auditioned for the high school choir and was mortified by the critical feedback. Let’s be honest that the feedback was fair — yet all he heard was criticism. Stage fright and a learned emotional response showed up. In that moment it was everything this young person could do to stand up and try this. The hurt and the fear from the past experiences was still too close to the surface and ran deeply.
He left the room quickly shutting down completely. There was a lot other stuff going on in his life at the moment and it seemed like this stretch was nearly ripping his own boundaries. Walking away he felt that he was disconnecting from himself and from his body with every step as he nearly ran from the school.
He fell back into a coping mechanism he learned long ago and stifled his voice.
Only when home alone and in the shower or where there wasn’t a chance to be heard he would sing — but still there was something strangling and constricting his throat.
Today it’s fine.
He’s come to terms with all of this. He understands the bits and pieces that built the walls around his inner light and how these experiences hardened that shell. Pile these experiences on top of any other expression of love and emotion and what are you putting out? To what end?
Remember that one thing he mentions early in the story? That one deep thing that was connected to his inner light of his soul? What did that inner light want and hope for?
The answer to that question is just one word, “Love.”
I ask now, what would be possible if you were allowed to and given the space to be fully expressed?
Here’s something that I have been telling clients today. It’s seems a bit of a secret or that they need to be reminded about this.
What I tell them is, “You get to be who you are.”
Even more than that — you can tell your inner child it’s safe now. It’s yours now. This life is yours now. What do you want to create next?
What’s The Useful Leverage Today?
The useful “leverage” we have today is that in this moment we get to create what’s next. We get to create and write our story.So, it’s not the past story that is actually powerful but rather what we do with the information that we have access to now.
The story is important in the way that stories get really intimate with our souls and with our light that’s inside us. Nobody wants to take that experience from you. It’s yours. What’s useful here is not dwelling in the story, however. It’s learning from it and recognizing the choices we have today — the conscious choice that’s shaped by something that directly reflects our values or the purpose that we define for ourselves.
Here’s how we can leverage what we have today out of the story that was written for us in the past. This is where we step into something that we all have available to us.
We can leverage what we have from our own stories and experience and learning. It might be difficult to do this alone, without a trained and certified Coach by your side. Sometimes the most powerful work you’ll actually do happens when you have someone who can truly witness and be with you in a way that honors you as their focus.
We can leverage who we are today — our journey and everything that brought us into this moment. Slow down, breathe and simplify and get yourself present. Ask yourself some simple questions. Ask yourself questions that are powerful. They might sound like this, “What do I notice in this moment?” or “How does my choice here honor my values and my purpose?”
So, like the person in the story — notice what happening with you in the moment. Why the emotional response here? Connecting the emotion to its origin story helps makes this particular thing understandable. What naturally happens now is that the old emotional responses and messages get real quiet, real fast. They are a part of the story of the past. Today, we learn to recognize that we can take action and make a conscious choice that honors what we want to create in the new story today.
As we get more practiced at being present, more practiced at naming what we value in our lives, as we learn about naming what gives us purpose in our lives and we get acknowledgement in useful and meaningful ways — we can begin to see the new choices that become accessible to us. This is the differentiation of the emotional response that was triggered from a memory of a moment years in the past and what is now.
For me now — I’m stepping into a powerful place where I can connect with the original “Love” that has been waiting, shining brightly inside and I can connect with my original purpose that I’ve discovered. I’m “writing” a new story. I’ve stepped out from under the umbrella that I felt was “throwing shade” over me. In the light, there’s so much more. Here, I have stepped fully into an understanding about what “purpose” and “fulfillment” can truly be. I’ve moved from seeing diagrams and models and learning from them as two-dimensional and I now imagine them as multi-dimensional and full of energy.
But wait! There’s a lot more to be leveraged here. Somewhere in my experiences in life, work and play — a very strong, intuitive skill was developed. In here is something very, very powerful. It comes across as an ability to connect with others on a deep level with compassion, empathy and hope for what positive experience or impact they can create in the world.
What gives you leverage toward your conscious choices?