Is there an issue you keep struggling with again and again? A pattern that keeps repeating itself despite all your best efforts?
The cause may be an old story that’s stuck on replay in your consciousness, like a channel on a long flight that plays the same movie again and again. This is natural and human; we make sense of our lives through stories. We look for a beginning, middle, and end to events in our lives because nature is cyclical, and this is how we understand both our individual stories and the larger story of humanity.
However, when stories are unconsciously driving your thoughts, actions, and understanding of your life, you can get caught in repetitive experiences that you struggle to free yourself from. The first step to liberation is figuring out if a story is playing out that’s limiting your beliefs.
How do you find this story?
1. Pay attention to the ways you’re reporting on your life. What kinds of conversations are you having with your close friends, coach, or therapist? Anything stand out about your storyline? What stories do you repeat frequently? Are you a perpetual victim like the Handless Maiden?
2. What movies or books are you drawn to? What is the meta-story tucked invisibly into the storyline?
For example, in “Wild” (starring Reese Witherspoon), the meta-story is the Heroine (Hero’s) Journey. The lead character in the movie is a woman going on walkabout into the borderlands of her inner wilderness (the Pacific Coast Trail) to confront and transform all her worst fears and drug addiction (the Handless Maiden). It is a redemptive story. Do you notice yourself going for these redemptive stories? Ask yourself: how is this story speaking directly to me? What part of me wants to be redeemed?
3. What mythical figures have influenced you? Was your father a Narcissist and your mother an Echo? Familiarize yourself with the mythology with a quick Google search. I also recommend consulting the Encyclopedia Mythica. Make yourself conscious of the ways in which you continue to let these figures play in and through your life (the types of people you love, work for, have conflict with).
What stories are speaking to you today, and what are they teaching you about yourself?