The only way of describing the sensation is a crumbling, a fall, a feeling of disintegration and being suffocated by the debris after an explosion (or perhaps an implosion) after tirelessly building this structure brick by brick. I stood rooted and trembling as I heard the words “I think this relationship is over” – BOOM!
There is nothing like heartbreak to provide you with a magnifying glass to look at who you are and the stories you have created about yourself, the relationship and the world. It’s no wonder that the musical gifts of Adele are so moving, she invites you into her personal story and we relate to the stories of our lives. It moves us to tears. It MOVES us. These stories we create for ourselves is our way of making meaning of events, a thread stitching together postcards of memories. We show up in the world from the context of these stories.
David Whyte pointed out something so simple and beautiful in a talk he presented. He put forth that we do not really mourn the person after they have left (whether through a break up, death or moving away) rather what we mourn are the stories we created and the dreams we had of what was and could be.
As a coach and consultant I have seen this up close with people, teams and organisations. NOW it hit home for ME when over a month ago my partner of 7 years and I made the decision to part ways. I have had to dismantle the structures of my story and sit with each piece that has crumbled. I stand before the house we built that has now been brought down to its foundations and try to breathe through the smoke and ash floating in the air. My lungs lurch and my heart heaves at the sensory flare, it brings with it a final death knoll.
The story of being the GIVER, the FIXER, the UNDESERVING has been etched into my being and separating this story from my essence is debilitating. Endings for me represent a signal of failure, an incapability on my part to hold together and solve. This theme follows through as part of my CORE story that I will describe later. What I am starting to realise is that an ending is a form of bravery as it says to the world “I am human, I will rebuild”. I feel now that I owe my ex-partner a thank you as this has given me the space to reassess from the dust of what was.
I comb through the items from the destruction searching for meaning, trying to trace a cause to this collapse, a finality to this Story. I try to locate that FIRST brick we laid down as our foundation stone. I search for that ceremony we developed to celebrate the start of our Story. Tears leak through my reddened eyes and fall surreptitiously into my hands as I cradle each lost item. I’m not quite sure what to do with these odds and ends that used to be a life. There is a strong urge to throw them as far as I can yet there remains a whisper, a dying breathe that keeps me holding onto a pebble. This is the nexus of everything, I pick this up and feel its weight settle into my pocket. A last momento….
I now sit still, poised serenely on a piece of timber supports. I survey over this scene, this beautiful mess that is left around me. Memories start like an old movie projector, reeling forward and backward through space. There is a silence, a soundtrack to this moment of suspension. I pay my last respects, clutch the pebble in my pocket and walk slowly away… slowly
This is MY story at the moment… This hopefully gives you a taste for the IMMENSITY of Story in a person’s life, communities and organisations. I am now sitting with looking at the moments in my life and how I have shown up to really distil my CORE story.
My next post will include the theory around Story and how impactful it can be for a person or community. It will synthesize Integral theory, Jungian concepts, Narrative techniques, Dramatica models, Ken Wilber developmental models and Internal Family Systems theory (IFS). Hopefully it will provide something for YOU to explore your story for yourself and the clients you work with. I am excited to share this growing Empowered Studio methodology with you.
Dare to speak YOUR Story!
PS: As a taster or the next blog, I invite you to reflect on your own core story. Watch the video and look at the structure, the characters, themes, flow as these form elements of Story and how it can be used for transformation