Monday, June 3, 2013

Telling Your Story

Feature Article:

Ever had a situation where you felt un-heard and not respected? Ever challenged the status-quo and found yourself unpopular? Ever felt stuck in a self-limiting belief or felt overwhelmed with fear? Scroll down for some techniques to be heard, deal with fear and achieve your best result. 

Everyone needs a chance to tell their story. 
- Sam Keen "To a Dancing God"

So…. What's your story? 

We all want to be heard and we all want to speak in a way that others will listen. Many of the frustrations in life are a result of not being heard: a boss, a spouse, a child, a co-worker that "won't listen." 

I used to work for a woman who no matter how I tried to communicate that I wasn't happy with my job description - just didn't get it. She would give lip service or would simply try to "steam-roll" me into doing things that were incongruent with the direction that I wanted to go and my talents.

Ironically, I had a vision of being of greater service - but in a different way. She needed to plug in holes in the staffing and saw me as someone who was versatile, hard-working and who could be exploited. While there was a basic disagreement about what was needed for the organization - the worst part was feeling like my words were falling on deaf ears. We had different stories.

Does this story sound familiar? While the details are going to be different from experience to experience or from person to person - it's a familiar lament.

Is this the story that you want to be?

When I was going through this, my thinking brain was saying things like "Poor little me. A victim of a cruel boss." and "I'm going to starve!" "I won't be able to pay my bills and we will have to give up the horses and the house!" "I'm being difficult! I'm being a bitch! Why can't I just go along with her plan and be a nice girl?" 

Can you hear the victim story in this? Or the bitch? Stand up for yourself and have everyone hate you vs. be a doormat and be liked.

All through this, I was painting, creating some of my strongest work. Through the painting and using images, I was able to access messages from my unconscious about what was going on. And the messages I got from this process were very different. When I was creating this painting I was actually in a really bad funk that day - and was somewhat puzzled to have such a happy image come out of me.

And then there was the "A-hah!" - The dragon is a symbol that I've been drawing since childhood. And I realized that what was happening was the dragon was breaking out of it's shell, which is a hard process - but necessary. 

If a well-meaning person was tries to "help" a chick break out of the shell, by peeling the shell away, then the chick will die. The chick needs to develop their muscles by going through the process of struggling through the shell. Breaking out of the shell is a difficult and uncomfortable process - but it's necessary for growth. The larger dragon behind the baby dragon could either be read as a supportive powerful mother figure or as the baby dragon all grown up. Either way - a positive thing. The painting is called "Naissance" which means birth.

This painting helped me to not give up. This story helped me to hang in there. 

I kept talking and sending emails and phone calls and questioning the status-quo until - finally - I was heard! A higher-up in the organization read my proposal about what I wanted to do and I was offered a much, much better position working with people who understood my vision. 

Without the paintings - I don't know if I could have done it. Images helped to change the story from being a victim to seeing growth and accepting the uncomfortableness of change. That acceptance lead to being on a path of growth and to break out of those old paradigms and see them as shells that needed to discarded.

We all need to tell our story, we all want to be heard, but…. the most important audience for your story is YOU! 

When confronted with a difficult situation: 

• Ask yourself if this is the story that you want to be?

• Notice what images you feel attracted so - and what they might be telling you.

• Record your dreams, and if they are disturbing - look to what the symbols might mean - i.e. snakes not a bad thing - they mean power and healing.

• Pay attention to your language - does it sound whiney or point fingers? What would it take to rephrase some of those sentences to be coming from a place of strength? Write it down and practice it.

• Write your own happy ending. Hold onto it. Enlist positive friends to help you visualize it.

Thanks for reading!


PS - I'd love to hear any thoughts or insights you have around telling your story. Send me an email at    360.809.0083    PO Box 2272 Sequim WA 98382

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