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  • Marilyn Young

What's Your Story?

A few weeks ago, I had the privilege of reviewing a book written by a friend about her ancestry. I marvelled at the stories of her ancestors’ strength, their resilience, and their

commitment to family. Reading my friend’s book caused me to pause and reflect on “people’s stories.” It reminded me of my frequent curiosity about the “real person” when I see the public face of celebrities or observe strangers I briefly meet or am passing by. When I hear about

political figures making controversial decisions or I see homeless people on the street, I wonder about the person and the life behind what we are seeing in the moment. Since childhood, when driving past people’s homes or businesses, I have always wondered about those living and working there. What were they like? Were they happy? How did they spend their day? Who did they love and who loved them? So many questions… What about you? Are you curious about others’ stories? How are you feeling about your own story?


Others’ Stories


Everyone has a story and that is what contributes to the beautiful complexity of life. Can you imagine if we were all the same? If we all had the same story, the same past, beliefs, values, and behaviours, how boring life would be? How would we learn what we are here to learn if there was one way for everything? Over the past few years, the chaotic and deeply divisive world events highlighted a life lesson I have in judgement. As I watched global political events unfold and the reactions of those around me, it was very easy to fall into a place of judgement and labelling things as “right or wrong.” But as I began to feel the sting of being what I felt was being unjustly judged, Spirit reminded me that “everyone has a story” and that helped me see life in a new light.


My curiosity returned to replace the judgement and I began to wonder again about the part of people’s lives that we did not see, the part that created their decisions and drove them to action. What was their childhood like that shaped their core values and what were those core values? What hardships and successes had they encountered in their life? What challenges were they experiencing at the present time? What kind of support did they have? Where did the education and information that they based their decisions on come from? How was their physical and mental health? What kind of a day were they having? I couldn’t make assumptions about them if I didn’t know their story. I couldn’t judge them one way or another.


Sometimes when I do hear parts of another’s story, I may not believe it. If the information does not ring true to me on an intuitive level, I have trouble believing it. Sometimes it may not ring true because I am not meant to hear it. Sometimes my disbelief might be because of the source. Could I trust what I did hear about their story if it comes from a third party? If the person telling me their story doesn’t feel comfortable, they might fabricate some of that to avoid being judged or labelled in a certain way by me! If that is the case, I need to reflect on what role am I playing, if any, that creates an environment where they feel they can’t trust me to receive their story without judgement. Sometimes, it’s not about me. It’s about their past experiences or simply timing that makes it difficult for them to share honestly. At any rate, because we all have freedom of choice, it is their choice regarding what they would like to share, and it is our choice regarding how we receive the information and what we do with it. As often as I consciously can, I chose to receive their story with kindness and respect and to not take anything personal. It is their story. If part of that story is negative feelings about me, those feelings belong to them. It does not change who I am. How do you receive other’s stories?


Unsolicited Stories – The Gift of Being an Empath


Spirit brought to my attention how privileged I am to often be witness to people’s life stories and on reflection, I realize that I have I have been honoured with that gift my entire life. As far back as I can remember, friends, family, my patients in my work, my staff, and even complete strangers have seemed to feel comfortable in telling me their story or at least part of it. As an adolescent, I remember the parents of children I was hired to babysit often went into long explanations of what was going on in their lives and why they needed to go out and have me watch over their children. When I sold women’s clothing at home parties, I used to comment that I provided more nursing/counselling to my clients than selling clothes. The women would share their most intimate stories of their struggles as I helped them chose an outfit to try on or wrote up the sale of the items they purchased. This made my “shows” longer than most but in the end we all parted feeling happy for making a connection. As a nurse, my patients often disclosed to me the personal issues they were struggling with and as a manager I had many of my staff and colleagues share parts of their story both to acquire some support and to celebrate successes.


It wasn’t until closer to the end of my career that I discovered that all the unsolicited stories were part of the gift of being an Empath. You see, part of my spiritual path is for my energy

field to “reach out” to others to see if there is anything I can offer help or healing to. In retrospect, my field has been very busy over the years! But it has also supported me in my innate need to help others and has allowed me the opportunities to create a safe space for stories of struggle and need. Learning about my gift of being an Empath has helped me respond to those stories with more than love and respect. It has also helped me respond with healing. Are you an Empath? Do others pour out their heart to you when you least expect it? How does that make you feel? How do you respond?


Our Own Stories


The most important stories we tell, are the stories about ourselves – especially the stories we tell about ourselves, to ourselves! Do you share your story with others? Is it the same as the ones you tell yourself? Many of the stories we tell ourselves, if not all, reflect where we are at in learning our life lessons. They reflect our deeply seated core values and beliefs. AND they can often be very different from the stories we share with others. For example, you may tell others at work that you are excited about a new project you have been assigned to and that you know you will just “nail it.” However, deep down, what might be keeping you up at night, is the story you tell yourself that goes something like “I’ll never get it done properly. Who do I think I am? I don’t have the training to run that project! I am an idiot to take it on. When I fail, everyone will know how stupid I really am!”


The story you are telling yourself is one of failure; you see yourself as a failure, as someone who will not be successful. That core belief was likely formed in early childhood by stories you were told about yourself by others. At some point, or perhaps several times, when in your naivety of childhood, you approached something like climbing the monkey bars in the

playground with great confidence, you were held back and told by a parent “You can’t climb those. You’ll never make it to the top and you’ll fall!” There may have been several similar incidents that built your belief that you would fail. Another common example we are discovering that many adults today experienced as a child, was when the child told the adults in their life about their “imaginary friend.” The child is clairvoyant and was truly seeing someone from the other side, but because of fear or lack of the same gift, the adults in the child’s life told them not to be “silly” and that there was “no such person” until the child either hid their gift or shut it down altogether. The child was telling a true story about their world, but the adults molded the child’s world to be consistent with theirs. This is not an exercise in blame. It is simply about awareness. Most often, those people in our lives that are telling us those stories and building those beliefs, are often acting out of love, kindness, or fear, and are just trying to keep us safe. Have you had any experiences like these in your life?


Sometimes we tell stories about ourselves to others in an effort to gain something we are missing in our lives. For example, someone may tell everyone they meet about how much they sacrifice for their family in an unconscious attempt to get the recognition and praise that is missing at home. Even more of note, is that sometimes we tell those stories even when we ARE getting the response we are craving BUT we are not allowing ourselves to hear it because deep down our core belief tells us we don’t deserve it. Until we recognize and address those core beliefs, we won’t find the responses we are looking for. Do you have core beliefs that are creating barriers in your life?


How do we change those core belief building stories? Once we are aware of them, we can start looking at ourselves differently. We can start seeing the successes, joy, and beauty in our lives that bring in the stories we want to star in. We can change our language when we talk about ourselves to describe more positive stories. We may even discover that our stories are rooted in beliefs that have carried over from past lives as part of our journey in learning a life lesson. Once we see the patterns and the stories for what they are, we can address them, change them, essentially rewrite them. This is true for any of the negative stories we might tell ourselves – stories of being unlovable, being a victim, of not being worthy, of never having enough money, of not being beautiful/pretty/good-looking, of not meant to have fun, of life will always be hard, etc. Do any of these stories sound familiar to you?


The Art of Storytelling


Storytelling is as old as mankind. It is how our history as a species has been tracked for generations. Long before the written word, stories were passed down orally and documented

in pictures as some very early cave drawings show us. Not only have stories been used to pass on our history, but they have also been used for keeping cultural norms, values, and belief systems alive, for education, and for entertainment. Many indigenous cultures still value and practice storytelling as a way to preserve their culture. In some areas of the world, the role of storyteller is an honored and respected position in the community as the guardian of history and tradition.


With the dawn of the written word, stories were shared more broadly. Today, many forms of media are used in storytelling largely for entertainment (songs, theatre, television, movies), marketing, or to drive social change. Artificial intelligence is now being used to generate stories as well. There are more group stories now than individual stories in the public arena. However, some groups are starting to sponsor the resurgence of powerful personal stories back into the public arena. (Example: Women Talk) Their popularity is gaining momentum as they are providing, once again, a safe space to fill a void.


As we come full circle with individual story telling, we again recognize that telling your story can be healing. Just talking something through with someone can help you discover answers you are searching for. As is my friend’s hope with writing her ancestor’s stories, simply being heard is validating and healing in itself. Healing can also occur if we can tell our story when we are feeling judged or stifled. When we tell our story, we are often addressing the life lesson of finding our voice, of “speaking up for ourselves.” When we feel judged or treated unfairly or wrongly, the Universe is giving us an opportunity to find our voice and share our story. When I think about it, how can I expect others to respond to me the way I want them to when they don’t know my story? I need to clearly communicate my wants and needs and, if I choose, parts of my story so other’s can better understand me. The array of emotions tied to my story will also illustrate the true essence of who I am.


As I mentioned previously. over the years I have had the opportunity and privilege to listen to many different people’s stories. I am grateful for those stories as in addition to providing the opportunity for me to offer healing as an Empath, those stories have often taught me something about myself. As I hear the stories of others unravel, I realize how entwined they are with my own. I may have had similar experiences that become clearer from another person’s perspective. I may be in the same life lesson when the other person’s story brings a new strategy or “aha moment” to light. Although we are all beautifully unique and each on our own separate journey, the power of our stories reminds me how we are all connected.


So, as you continue along your path and you encounter challenging people that you are

tempted to judge or discount, I hope you will pause and consider their story. It may help you approach the situation with love, compassion, respect and even a little curiosity and openness to learning. Or perhaps you are an Empath and can offer healing. In turn, I hope you are offered the same opportunity. When you are struggling or in need of compassion and healing, I hope someone will ask you with kindness and respect “What’s your story?” If they don’t, reach out because I will.


Sending you love and light,

Marilyn

 

Resources


If you would like to learn more about the topics discussed in this newsletter, here are a few resources I have found helpful:


Websites


 

Intuitive Counselling and Angel Card Readings

 

If you have the need for a helping hand with telling your story or changing it, I am offering intuitive counselling, angel card readings, and angel numerology readings online or in person (in Calgary).


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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