Whose life are you living?
– Stepping out of a life of disappointment
Each of us is born into a story that is already being told. The ghosts and the stories of the past are alive and well and much of the script of our lives has already been written. It is written without our consent or knowledge, not written from malice, but written as an addendum to the lives already lived. It is script that is largely bound by all of the disappointments that have been collectively experienced and personally carried by our forebears. This binding to the stories of parents and other forbearers is either one that seeks to limit us through a distorted notion of protecting us from disappointment, or it seeks to bind us to the task of fulfilling the dreams and hopes not realised by those who came before us. In this way we can end up either being the ‘special child’ who must succeed at all costs, or suffer the devastation of constantly having our spark snuffed out in direct and indirect ways by those who live a life of disappointment.
It behoves us to examine the story we’ve been born into and to ask ourselves if we are loyal to the story that is still being told and acts as the narrative in our environment. Without us even being fully aware, we can be deceptively loyal to the narrative of disappointment, lack and limitation and seemingly find no evidence for it in our lives – until we dig a little deeper and ask ourselves the right questions.
Perhaps the story of our family was one of poverty. As part of our poverty script there can be beliefs and loyalties around money, success and property or even the nobility that poverty and suffering bring. With this kind of suffering in the chronicle of our family we may end up with financial wealth, but feel unfulfilled in relationships and in love. We may have our needs met when it comes to security, safety and having some kind of recognition, but lack feeling connection or love. Our loyalty to the story we’ve been born into will and does show up in one or several areas of our lives.
Many generations of humanity have passed in which suffering, hardship and loss we prominent and often permanent features of life. Wars, sickness, disease and other tragedies such as the loss of young children and mothers in childbirth have left a collective scar on the soul of humanity and have left storyline that has become the predictor our individual life today. We may not be living the life of visible suffering as our forebears did, but many of us struggle to step out of the disappointments our parents lived.
So many lives are lived in which careers are satisfying but quality relationships are lacking or lives in which relationships are meaningful but finances are a constant struggle, or health is fails whilst all else is as we want it to be. In addition to that so many people become afraid that when they ‘have it all’ then something will be taken away. This very fear, the fear that something good will be taken, is part of a generational narrative that has been passed down through hundreds of years of experience. With this narrative we often find ourselves sabotaging ourselves as we approach a life that seems too good to be true. The fear of losing something precious or the fear that simple joy will usher in an unexpected loss causes many of us to shrink away from a life of ‘having it all’. We only need to look at the many examples of this in our world. So many who would appear to ‘have it all’ struggle with painful relationships and at times with addictions that alienate them from the love they so desire.
Very often we use the example of this type of unhappiness to add weight to the argument that money does not buy happiness – which of course, it doesn’t. However, this argument is often used to snuff out either our own creativity or the creative impulse of another. As if poverty or having less were more ‘noble’.
What each of us longs for is to feel fulfilled and much of that fulfilment comes from the freedom we give ourselves to create the life of our longing, the life of our dreams. We each have a unique dream for ourselves and each of us expresses in our own unique way. When we give ourselves the freedom to step out of the script that was that was already running when we arrived into this world, and when we have the courage to leave others respectfully with their own life of disappointment, we can then start to free ourselves from the fear that living a joyful life will attract doom with certainty or that our happiness in some way is an act of disloyalty to those who battled on our behalf, or those who simply gave us life.
The collective life limiting scripts that were written on our behalf by our forebears exist because the deep grief of loss has not yet been met. Collectively we have rejected vulnerability and grief as a sign of weakness and in the name of survival and ‘soldiering on’ lives of functionality have superseded lives of feeling, so much so, the new found comparative wealth of our current generations have simply acted as means through which we have numbed ourselves to the greater stories of loss and tragedy.
The reality is that we do not get to pick and choose which feelings to feel and which feelings to suppress. When grief, anger, loss and vulnerability are suppressed, along with them joy, gratitude, contentment, happiness and creativity are likewise suppressed. It is not possible to single out one emotion for suppression – suppress one and they all get numbed or amplify one in order to avoid the others. Living a life of continued drip fed disappointment has become the mainstay of most of us as we dread the devastating loss of something that was loved. It takes both courage and a willingness to face loss in order to allow our dreams to become a reality. Keeping ourselves small in avoidance of the pain loss or the vulnerability that visibility brings, simply serves to keep us and our lives in a state of numb stasis, or one in which something will always be missing.
As human beings we live with the illusion that somehow we can control life. Many of us actually believe that we can control how others feel about us or what happens in our lives. In order to step out of the generational cycle of disappointment we must be willing to acknowledge that we cannot create a pain free life – it simply does not exist. However, we can have a life that is free from suffering. It doesn’t matter how happy we are, something that is way beyond our control can happen tomorrow that will bring us sorrow. A friend could die, there could be a natural disaster, a news item that touches us – pain is unavoidable, but suffering is entirely avoidable. Once we accept that we have no control anyway, we can surrender to vulnerability and decide to live with creative expression and love freely. Everything we see around us will be gone one day, as we too will be gone one day. We never did have control of any of it.
In order to write the new script of our lives we must first engage in to deep practices:
– Actively bowing with deep respect to the suffering of others and leave it with them, giving ourselves permission to be happier than our mother, father and others close to us whilst keeping and open and respectful heart.
– Embracing what we do actually have and allowing it to be fully present in our lives, giving it a place with gratitude.
None of these changes can come about unless we feel. This is not a mental job. It is work that requires encountering ‘what is’ with reflective authenticity.
Are you ready to discover more about the truth of who you are and the story you have been living? Would you like to facilitate change?
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