There’s something revelatory about going back into the family home
and viewing it through grown-up eyes,
don’t you think?
I just got back from a trip to South Africa … my first in two -and-a-bit years.
Being home was wonderful,
and warm (read, helluva-hot-with-no-airconditioning!)
and ummm .. eye-opening, to say the least.
Somehow, on this trip more than any other,
the filters of childhood fell away
and I could see my parents for what they are …
two elderly people,
still in love and vibrant,
at the same time frail and yet deeply strong,
dealing with their dwindling resources
(energy, memory, sight, money)
with as much humour and grace as they can muster.
(Don’t you just love how my dad is looking at her? Je t’adore.)
More so than ever before,
I could clearly see the result of patterns laid down
when I lived at home, decades before.
Patterns of behaviour and thought that I’d watched (and modeled) as I grew up …
the constant refrain of ‘no money’;
the fear of change;
the endless worrying.
Now don’t get me wrong, there’s a LOT of good patterns in there too ….
I’m absolutely certain that my wildly successful, 32-year marriage
and my two glorious/articulate/self-determined/happy kids
are a direct result of things I learned watching my parents.
But that only serves to emphasize my point.
Without deliberate attention,
we will continue to live out the patterns/beliefs/ways-of-thinking
laid down in our childhood, good and bad.
But the best part is,
with deliberate attention,
we can change this default setting.
We can choose which patterns to model
and which ones to dump.
And we do that by changing our stories.
See, angel, here’s the thing ….
The story you tell yourself about yourself and the world
will shape your whole life.
Our patterns, both inherited and self-forged,
are woven from the stories we tell ourselves,
over and over again.
Pattern = story repeated
I can see now that my parents are where they are now because of the stories they told themselves…
Helpful stories like,
“Moving to a new country is thrilling.”
“Wine is good for me.”
“We’ll work it out.”
And not so helpful stories like,
“We can’t afford it.”
“It’s not safe out there.”
“Getting old is hard.”
Obviously, I’m also where I am now because of the stories I’ve told myself …
“I can talk to anyone.”
“Everything works out well for me.”
“I am a goddess.”
And not so helpful …
“All the food I love makes me fat!”
Angelface, you are where you are because of the stories you’ve told yourself to this point.
But the most important, transformational thing to learn from this is …
Your future depends on the story you tell yourself NOW and you can make that whatever you want!
Believe the story that the world is dangerous, scary,
filled with monsters-out-to-get-you,
and it will be,
and you’ll find them.
Believe that there’s more than enough for everyone,
that change brings adventure and delight,
that you’re a glorious, powerful, living-breathing-work-of-art ….
and that’s what you’ll live to prove.
“The most important decision we make is whether we believe we live in a friendly or hostile universe.”
~ Albert Einstein
Let the story of your future be one crafted by your BIGness.
Looking at life through your BIGness vs your smallness
radically alters your perception
of what is and isn’t possible.
Viewed through the lens of your BIGness,
change is fun,
challenges are surmountable,
opportunities are visible.
A world viewed through your smallness
is scary, unnerving, scarcity-ridden.
Five Ways To Change Your Story
- Who’s Line Is It Anyway? It doesn’t matter where it is coming from (your parents, a teacher, middle-school bully or condescending ‘friend’); just recognize that it might not be yours.
- Bring it out into the open. Really flesh it out, in all its nuances and extensions.
For example, your story might be something like “I can’t afford that.” which is in turn tied up with other crappy stories like “money is tight” or “you have to work really hard to get anywhere”.
- Is it really, really true? If your story is “I’m too old to *fillintheblank*.” then see if you can find stories of people who’ve done awesome stuff, really late. You can start here.
- Write down a different story. I’m not talking about a bunch of positive thinking mumbo jumbo. I am talking about telling yourself the truth. And often, this is simply a matter of shifting your perspective from your smallness to your BIGness.
- Begin to LIVE your new story. Use post-it notes, reminder texts, LOA nesting …. do everything you can to LIVE like someone who believes your new story. Every time your inner voice begins telling the old yarn, stop her. Say, “No! That’s what I used to believe. Here’s the truth.” Then go and do something your BIGness delights in.
Just a side note here, scrumptious one :
This only works on YOU. You cannot force this kind of shift on anyone else. It has to be self-started and self-enforced.
No matter how much I yearn to be all fairy-godmother-ish, I cannot change my parents’ story and wave all their cares away
with one swish of my glitter-encrusted wand.
But I can make damn sure
that the story I’m telling myself
will have the luscious-life ending I desire.
And so, glorious one, can you.
Go craft yourself some brand-new happily-ever-afters, ok?
PS Fancy some help with above-mentioned crafting?
I guarantee that half an hour with me will utterly reshape your possibilities.
PPS And I don’t make that promise lightly!