It was one of these weeks where things were quickly going downhill. Or so it seemed. My partner was away for work. My dog got diarrhea. My daughter got the flu. My network of support was on vacation… and so on. I could see that I was looking outside myself, trying to identify the perpetrator of such a lousy plan. Looking in all directions but me.
Looking at the projector
When I decided to look at the projector—me—I realized that if there was a perpetrator in the story I was telling myself, then I was the victim. Pulling this slippery thread, I got deeper into the story. It went something like, “hard work is kind of unfair, and at some point this has to end, as I deserve something better.” The more I got in touch with this narrative, the question I then asked myself was, “where the hell did I get this…crap?!” I started looking in the usual places: culture, society, family… I immediately could spot similar patterns in my family of origin, not to mention mainstream culture. Indeed, it was Cinderella’s tale—so not surprising that it was so familiar! I have consciously been inspired by the idea of dying having fully contributed to my community. But unconscious stories can have a stronger effect than our best intentions … until they become conscious.
Integrating and transcending our stories
And yet, having discovered my story did not allow me to get rid of it completely. I’m still working on it. Stories, as forms of mental patterns or personal complexes, are attached to our bodies, bones and skins: sticky coats with a particular shape. Gaining awareness of our stories can change how we relate to them, allowing us to disidentify from them. But how can we integrate and transcend them?
There are two ways we use in Integral Coaching to achieve this. The first one by inviting a new narrative. In my case, the Cinderella story was replaced by the story of a Dakini, an empowering Buddhist feminine archetype.
The second way to transcend and integrate our stories is by bringing awareness to our bodies. Our bodies become the repositories of our unconscious, and by finding and letting go of tensions that hold these patterns, we loosen the power of them and create space for something new. For this, Hatha yoga has been the path that has opened me the most, as well as embodied meditation from the Shambhala tradition.
To end, I would like to invite you to take up this self-reflection daily for one week. At the end of your day, ask yourself the following questions:
- What narrative have I lived by today? How could I tell? How did it feel?
- What did this narrative create?
- What different different story could I live by? What could this make possible?
Magda is an Integral Coach based in Spain. You can read more on her blog.
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