This is going to be a long one, please grab a cup of tea and hang with me here. Anyone who knows me, has worked with me or even visited my website hears me talk about accessing, honoring and transforming your stories. And it occurred to me that not everyone knows what that means or why it's important. I had an experience this weekend that made me realize I needed to share with you what it means to access and transform stories, why its important, how I do it the way I do it (and why), and how to know when you have actually transformed it, and don't need to keep rehashing it. So I will start with the why, share my experience this weekend, talk about the "how", and then the transformation.
So let's start with what a story is and why you should access and work with them. Your stories are the accumulations of life experiences..the joyful, the painful, the messes, the bliss, as well as, stories from external sources (relatives, partners, teachers, bosses, society, belief systems..all of it) that inform how you walk through life, and seen through your own personal lens of perception. This lens can sometimes be clouded and the brain likes to make decisions based on past experience and "evidence" it has collected over the years, and even lifetimes. When we don't access and witness these stories we often have this sense of something missing, or continue the same patterns over and over, in relationships, work, our responses to new input, repeat self-sabotaging behaviors, or we can't make decisions that serve our highest good or from a place of alignment. Or sometimes we are just not fully expressed, authentic, living our truths, living out loud, or at the deepest levels, just not happy or living in joy. And we shove the stories down because we are afraid to bring them to the surface. It can be a scary place, but it is where SHIFT happens when you access, honor, and if needed transform those stories.
Sometimes its ugly down there, but when you come out the other side it can be bliss.
So my experience this weekend was at a workshop, a very deep and intense workshop on accessing and releasing story. Not for the faint of heart and a different way of working than I do. So I figured OK I am game for a new experience. So as we went into the process, eyes closed, movement, breathing and down into some soul excavation, to find the stories. And I kept finding myself in peace, joy and bliss, smiling, even as I recalled some of the difficult stories. Meanwhile, women all around me (remember eyes closed, in safe space) were screaming with rage, crying with grief, howling, some in ecstasy, some literally puking their stories into a bucket. I honored this for them, because for many it was the first time they had accessed their stories, and the idea of this workshop was to access and move the stories out quickly(more on this later). But I kept coming back to peace and joy even while visualizing some of the deep shit. For a moment, I thought well maybe I am in resistance, let's dig deeper, but I just kept coming back to that place, I was even laughing at one point. But I wasn't in resistance, what I came to realize is I have worked the majority of my stories to this point, I have been in the place where these young women were, rage, grief, surprise but in this moment I stood in my self-expression and KNEW that I had arrived. I knew there was no longer a need to re-hash that which I have worked, and worked for years on, and that I have transformed or released in some way. Remember, though this is in this moment, it does not mean new stories aren't created, that nothing needs to be worked on, or that everything is always chocolate and roses. But I now know when new stories arise, how to work with them so they don't stay stuck in the mud inside my being for years and years.
I did wonder as I was witnessing the women processing the stories in such a big way, a very physical, embodied way, if they were really "released", never to be heard from again, and most importantly healed the moment they walked out of the workshop. Or if now they have become aware of them, definitely acknowledged them, but have gone home with a raw and ripe story, and more time to process, if they are really done with it and healed, or if there is more work to do, and no one to support them in it. I hope the workshop met the objective for them, but in my experience it takes more than screaming with rage, crying, and dancing to work through it. But perhaps that is just me. I prefer a bit of a more slow, steady, and gentle route. There is a balance between a miraculous healing by puking your story into a bucket and beating the story horse to death. And how do you know when you are done?
This is my experience in how I know when I am done with a story or have transformed it in some way:
- I can stand in the story with authenticity and full self-expression without losing my shit.
- I can with all truth acknowledge that story as a gift for myself, and/or I can use that story as medicine for someone else to heal, again without losing my shit
- I have witnessed the story, realized it was not my story but someone else's, send peace and love to them, and say that is someone else's shit not mine
- Being at peace with my stories of the past, knowing new ones will come and I may lose my shit again, but I know how to find my way back home
I would love to hear your stories about how you work through and process your experiences, how you transform them, and how you know when they have transmuted from pain and suffering to a gift.