THE IMPORTANCE OF STORY IN OUR LIVES

Once upon a time, in a land far, far away, a little boy was born. At his birth, he received the great gift of determination to go far on the spiritual path. He also received a terrible curse. This curse was just as powerful as his gift. He was born to parents who simply did not like him.x child and mask

They never told him that, of course. But children know. So he was always trying to please them by being very cute – or very good – or very clever. However, none of that worked. So as he grew up, he felt as if there must be something terribly wrong with him. He did everything he could to figure out what it could be, and try to fix it.

He read all the wisdom books he could find. He went to many spiritual teachers and listened intently to their lessons and advice. But despite all that, he still had a feeling that something about him was amiss.

Then one day he found a teacher who told him he was fine just as he was. His only problem was the story that he thought was the true story of his life. He needed to find another story about himself. That was the only way he would ever get out of the pit of self-doubt.

But how could he do that? He went away thinking his life was not a story – it was true. By then of course he understood the psychological effects his parents had had on him. But whatever he did, he still could not get over those effects. That was his story. It was who he was. How could he change that?

A little while later, at one of the many workshops he attended, during the lunch break he told a sympathetic listener about this conundrum. She said she knew exactly what he meant – because she used to be just like him.x sad mirror

She once thought it was her duty and her fate to live out her life as an unhappy wife. She had always known she was a bit psychic, but had never done anything about it. Then one day she had to make a huge decision about her marriage, which had finally come to a crossroads.

She went to a clairvoyant reader for advice. The reader said that at a higher level, before taking on this life, she chose to have this miserable marriage. She did that because she knew it was the only thing that would push her into accepting her true destiny. That was to follow the higher path she had taken in past lives when she’d been a high priestess, a seer and a shaman.swan mirror 

Although at first her mind was full of doubts about this, she said that even then, in her deepest heart she knew it was true. Vivid dreams about those lives started coming to her. Signs and synchronicities confirmed the messages of her dreams. Before long she realised that she really did have a new story about herself. She began to see herself in a completely different way. From that time on, she said her life just got better and better.

That gave our hero a lot to think about. With the help of his meditations and inner guidance, he realised that before incarnating, he’d chosen his parents as a way of testing himself. He would either succumb to their negativity, or triumph over it. He saw that this issue in his life was meant to be like the grit in the oyster shell that produces the pearl.M-na0708reinvent

Thinking this over, he realised that he really had found another story about himself. His new story changed his life because it changed how he saw it. At that moment, he was out of the pit of self-doubt. He left his victim identity behind like old clothes, and lived happier ever after.

This is the power of the stories we tell ourselves. They are inevitable. Our brains are hard-wired to understand ourselves, our world and our lives in terms of stories. Saying you don’t have a story about yourself is ignoring one of the most important and potentially transformative elements in your life.

It’s easy to use this to change your life because it comes so naturally. Start by thinking about any area fantasy bookof your life that isn’t working as well as you’d like. Now pretend that you’re explaining to someone why it is the way it is. That will be your story about it. Our stories not only influence our lives – they also help to create them. Once you know that, you have the key to changing your life.

We make up our stories by picking out some things that have happened in our lives, and stringing them together to explain why things are the way they are. This process inevitably leaves out many other things that you could have chosen to interpret your life in a completely different way.

If you want to make a new and more positive story about yourself, start by listing all the good things that ever happened in your life. You’ll be surprised at how much you start to recall once you begin. Out of that, a new and happier tale will emerge. From there, a better future will become possible – all because you found another story about your life.

We can take this even further. We can also start telling new stories about the world we live in. Like the two people in this tale, we can put together a higher and more positive story of the world. One that takes into account the negative elements – but places them in a bigger context, which completely changes their significance. Re-contextualising is a powerful tool. Rather than focusing on the negative details, stand back and look at the bigger picture. When you do, the true purpose and meaning of those details will become clear.

man-astrologyFor me, the bigger picture about our world comes from ancient wisdom about the great cycles of the ages. It means that we stand at the start of a  new eon during which this planet is slowly but surely going to become a happier, kinder and more enlightened place to live. We are right at the beginning of that exciting path. This is why we’re  waking up about so many bad things that weren’t obvious before. The cellar always was a mess – but until recently, it was too dark to see that. Now that there’s more light, we’re shocked at what we’re discovering. This is the first great step to changing those things.

Professor Carl Jung said he never tried to fix anyone’s problems – all he did was place reinventflowerthem within a larger context. Re-contextualising any issue – seeing it as part of a greater framework – changes the nature of the issue. This is why Jung said we don’t solve our problems, we grow out of them.

When we do that, we automatically move into a new, more positive story about ourselves. Doing this can not only change your life – it can also change your world. That is how powerful your stories can be.

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8 thoughts on “THE IMPORTANCE OF STORY IN OUR LIVES

  1. Atasha this story touched me deeply as I was that little boy for far too many years. I knew in my heart that I could accomplish far more than my parents gave me credit for and always believed that. My life has changed into a completely new story, a much happier and productive story. Thank you for such a wonderful article. Susan

  2. Hello Atasha, the story about the lady and her unhappy marriage touched me. I was once told that I had to dedicate myself to a higher level so “they” would take care of my son who is not son of my present husband who I am very upset with. I do not know who to look for or how to do to be in a higher level.

  3. Hi, Atasha:

    Great story! I finished writing my memoir earlier this year, and in it I strung together many unhappy memories because—unlike the boy in your story—I had forgotten that my parents refused to validate much of what I said or felt. As an adult, I was relentlessly angry and reactive and didn’t know why—until I hit rock bottom and had to truly dig deep. It was in this writing of my “story,” this “re-membering,” that I discovered that all the negative patterns in my adulthood were a result of unconsciously viewing my adult experiences through the lens of that little girl who felt worthless.

    Writing my memoir was like taking a trip to my personal cellar. Now when something upsets me, I don’t have to ask why I’m reacting in this way or that way. With my memoir at my fingertips, I can readily evaluate my feelings and validate them.

    Upon completion of my memoir—like the boy in your story—I realized that I chose insecure, impoverished parents specifically to experience feelings of low self worth, in order to experience in this incarnation the opposite, that is how it feels to be cherished and prosperous. This realization has enabled me to place my story in a larger context, which I have done through the building of my website, which explores the process of individuation through many practices embraced by Carl Jung.

    I love this post because it has challenged me to try stringing together the fond memories of my life. I can’t wait to see what new story might emerge.

    Thank you for sharing. I just subscribed to your blog, and I look forward to reading more of your work.

    Sincerely,
    Gabrielle Hayes

    • Hi Gabrielle – thank you for sharing your experiences. I think when we re-contextualise negative life stories – i.e. place them within a greater, more meaningful context – that is a powerful way of creating a new story from the old one without trying to change or wipe out our memories. So when you say you chose the unpleasant experiences of this incarnation for a higher reason, that is your positive new story about yourself. It will now attract other happy stories towards you. You have triumphed!

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