Most of us at some stage in our childhood found ourselves associating very strongly with a character in a story that we came across. Some wanted to be ‘Luke Skywalker’, or‘Pocahontas’, or ‘Peter Pan’. Some attached our dreams to a more fundamental archetype like ‘The Rebel’ or ‘The Prince’ or ‘The Magician’. Some of us may have even identified with the story itself as a mechanism for escaping from the realities of our young life. (I know that I personally spent every waking moment, daydreaming about fighting the dark side and becoming a Jedi Knight rather than concentrating on the strict English school system I found myself unwillingly thrust into.)
As we grow up, we find that these early associations never really leave our psychology. We might try to joke about how much we loved that movie as a kid or obsessed about being that character, yet what often happens is that the movie or character becomes a part of our unconscious mind and our unfulfilled dreams. We might try and tell ourselves that ‘we will never storm the castle’ or ‘rescue the beautiful princess’ in reality but that doesn’t stop us from wanting to anyway. Equally we hope and pray that we will not become ‘the ugly sister’ or ‘Saruman’. These hidden and suppressed ‘wants’ or “don”t wants” become the components of our personal myths. They are the basis of our key life lessons and the catalysts for massive change and evolution if we learn to pay attention to them.
We write our personal story
As socialized human beings we make our key decisions in life on the basis of our beliefs – the stories we tell ourselves about what is true for us and how we believe the world works. These beliefs come from our childhood, from the early associations we make and from the stories we are told about the world by our parents, teachers and society. These unconscious ‘story rules’ can end up being significantly limiting in later life and the cause of much frustration and pain when we think we have outgrown them. Rules I have shed in my own personal stories have included
- I am not good enough as I am, and so I need to change to fit to others expectations of me
- It is not safe to tell the truth that I really think – I will be judged badly if I do
- If you rock the boat and go against the ‘rules’ you will never be successful
In life, some people will ‘happily’ play out their entire time on this beautiful planet living a life that has been created from their early experiences, without questioning too hard their automatic patterns of thought & behavior. But most people, at some point in time, will realize that they are on auto-pilot & will start to ask why they think like they do, & why they believe their programming. When we find ourselves feeling that we are becoming bigger than the metaphorical skin we have created then we know it is time to examine our beliefs, to take a close look at the characters we have surrounded ourselves with in life, and to understand those that have taken up residency inside us. It’s a cathartic process, sometimes painful, usually surprising, and always deeply rewarding . Once we gain awareness, we can choose to re-write the narrative from which we have been living.
Beyond Human Stories is a reminder to us all that we have the power in our own lives to write a different story. To create a new, happier ending for ourselves and choose a different life journey if we find the current path simply too small for us.