I remember the first time I told my story of how I was hospitalized after a 10 hour meditation that snow-balled into a spiritual crisis. I was 24 or so and drinking a beer at the locals bar when I turned to the stranger next to me to ask if I could borrow his cell phone. He smiled warmly and handed me his LG flip phone. He had a long blond braid that extended down his back and kind blue eyes. He was a fair bit older then me and had a jovial, yet gentlemanly energy about him. After I used his phone, he asked me if I’d like to sit down.
We grabbed a nearby booth and leaning in, he surreptitiously said,
“So. What’s your story?”
I began to tell him about how I had moved back out to Olympia after spending a year at my parents house recovering from a “something or other” that all started while travelling in New Zealand. I had been avoiding this conversation for a long time, so when I finally began to recount what I had seen during those 3 weeks in an altered state, a cascade of memories came flooding back.
I told him about the old Buddhist man and about the geometric shapes I saw on the backs of my eyelids. I told him about how I had entered into others’ dream states while waking and how I had made predictions and seen them manifest within moments. I told him how I was able to see better in the darkness of night, then in the day. I shared how the world spoke to me in a language of symbols and the way I had lost my ground after leaving my body for days. I shared the way I had been hospitalized and the way that no one believed me.
For almost 2 hours, I poured my heart out to this stranger, sobbing generously. He listened intently. Too overwhelmed by my own emotion to feel stifled by my usual self consciousness, I kept going. The well had broken, why stop now?
My whole body shook as I told that story. It shook from sheer terror and the fear of “coming out” and it also shook from the pure ecstasy of no longer needing to keep it in. Somehow I knew this gentleman was a safe haven and every cell went into nervous convulsion as I revealed my initiation story.
I felt like a contemporary witch, traumitized and back to tell the story of her burning at the stake. As I began to come around to the present, “And that’s how I got here….”, the fear sobered me, I thought, “Oh god, what must this poor guy be thinking? He must think I’m totally crazy.”
He had a big smile in his eyes. Humbly he said, “Wow, you are lucky that you’re ok now. My cousin knows more about the shaman sickness than me. You should talk to her sometime.”
Just like that. Simple.
It turns out he was Chumash Indian from the Santa Barbara region of California. Seeing his reaction of non-chalance, yet also love and genuine curiosity, I gushed a few more tears of relief. Someone got it. We became good friends after that, and still are. Here’s why I’m bothering to tell you this:
There is deep alchemy in telling your story.
I’ve since lead many workshops where I’ve told my story and lead dozens of clients to claim their origin story so that they could step into greater purposeful service.
It gets easier, sure, but the fear still remains. My mentor used to say, “Bigger levels, bigger devils” and she was right.
Just this past week after sharing part of my story for the Crazywise blog, I felt myself contract in fear knowing it would be seen by thousands online.
“Who will read it? What will they think? I hope my conservative uncle doesn’t read it, he will have no idea what I’m talking about and surely will think I’m “certifiable.”
But I keep telling my story because the reward is far greater than the fear.
“And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.” ~ Anais Nin
A few words of wisdom:
If you wish to tell your story to heal your past so you can consciously create your future, these 4 tips may help:
- Relax. Most people are too absorbed in their own lives to judge you.
There is often a great deal of projection, fear and drama around telling your own story. It’s ok, we all have egos that tell us silly things. You may think people will judge you (they will) or fear they will put you on a pedestal (they’ll do that, too), but no one will care as much as you do. This is good news! It means you can pretty much rest in knowing that the praise you will receive will be far greater than the negative feedback you’re imagining. In fact, I have never in my career had a single person say, “Now that you’ve poured out your heart and shown me your humanity, I am going to critique your integrity.” Never. It is only us who do that to ourselves in the solitude of our fearful imaginations.
2. Your leadership requires vulnerability and authenticity.
Being a leader comes at a cost. The price is everything you thought you knew about yourself. The irony of which is that the dissolution of your ego is actually a gift, not a fee. Once you feel you would like to help others, this is where the true journey begins. You know how when you go on a hike, and you have to walk a few miles on a fire road before you get to the main trailhead, and when you get to the trail, you think, “Wow, I thought we’d already hiked a long while, but I guess we’re just getting started!” Being a leader is like that. You never get to the trailhead. You just keep expanding and the journey requires you to get comfortable with being very vulnerable.
3. The alchemy is worth it.
Every time you tell your story, it changes a little bit. Every time you tell it and it is received with awe, wonder and gratitude by others, you change a little (and sometimes a lot.) And others do, too. You begin to see yourself differently. You begin to understand that you have a lot to give. I’ve mentored many, many healers and lightworkers who came to me at first feeling they had a desire to give, but did not believe in themselves or see their own value. Telling your story builds your muscle of self-belief and courage. When you believe in yourself it is the greatest asset you have, transcending life circumstance to provide you with a well of resilience and true happiness. Like they say: the best things in life are free.
4. Your leadership is needed.
There are many who came before you whom you may look up to. And there are many who will come after you, who will look up to you (if you will give them that opportunity.) This is the way generations have operated for centuries, mentors and mentees – lighting the way and passing it on. In order for “things” to change, it is you who must change. It is you who must be willing to be seen. It is you who must be willing to share unabashedly, your humanity with the world. For some, it can be the difference between living a life of purpose and one of regret.
Are you living in the spiritual closet?
Knock. Knock. It’s me. I love you. I understand why you are fearful and hiding…. AND it’s time to come out.
No matter what stage you’re at in your own healing and evolution, there’s always a good place to begin:
- Write your story anonymously.
- Create a pseudonym and post it in the Shades facebook group.
- Submit it to a blog as a guest post.
- Ask your best friend to come over and interview you and record your story and then listen to it.
- Write a poem
- Create a visual narrative
In every aspect of your life, there is gold in the teachings given to you through your story.
Are you willing to tell it in order to harvest the goods?
– See more at: http://www.shadesofawakening.com/the-alchemy-of-telling-your-story/#sthash.yMMaVr6x.dpuf