If everything is coming from a place of Love and is designed to help me reunite with myself… then doesn’t that make even the painful stuff a gift?Zette Harbour
I had a secret.
I didn’t want anyone to know how much I didn’t love or trust myself. To put it another way, I didn’t want anyone, not even me, to know how much self-loathing I held inside.
On the outside, I looked like a positive, strong woman.
On the inside, I looked and felt like Swiss cheese.
Overwhelmed By Loss & Pain
It started when I had some really big losses early in my life around the age of 4. Back then, I wasn’t allowed to talk about the grief and pain I felt and so it became my shameful secret.
I needed to do something to numb the pain, so I did the only thing I felt that I could. I carved out those wounded pieces of myself and locked them away. They were the stories about myself and my life that I couldn’t face, didn’t want to embrace, and recoiled at the idea of loving.
That was the first time I used this strategy but it wouldn’t be the last.
Not long after, I found myself in an impossible situation, facing a frightening choice. And the only thing I could do was to protect myself. It felt horrible because it meant betraying someone I loved.
And this also required me to cut out more bits of myself. I hid these painful stories away, hoping I’d never see them again.
By age 6, I’d learned what seemed to be a very valuable skill. Whenever something was sufficiently uncomfortable, painful, threatening, or unbearably sad I found that I could remove the part of me that was feeling it, pack it up, and tuck it into one of the darker corners of my inner attic.
Once I’d dispatched an ugly, unwanted story, I believed that would be the end of it.
Over the next 20 years or so, I amassed quite a collection of these chopped off pieces of me. The attic was bulging at the seams with these unwanted stories and I had gotten used to feeling like Swiss cheese.
I discovered some very real benefits to having a lot of holes in myself. At this point, many things just passed right through me without even making much of a dent. Of course, that’s also the bad news. Because I definitely missed out on really feeling too much of the great stuff along the way.
The bargain I’d made still seemed worth the price, though, because the alternative would have been to actually face the fears, pain, and shame and I simply didn’t have what I needed to do that.
The truth is, trying to wrangle pain and fear without the awareness, skills, and tools I needed to keep me safe would have been like trying to hold molten lava in my hands with oven mitts.
In The Blink Of An Eye
I could remember believing in the existence of Love but no matter where I looked, I couldn’t seem to find it. Instead, I saw people in pain causing more pain. I didn’t want to be one of them but the only other option seemed to be to turn the hurt in on myself.
And then, one day in my mid-20’s, everything changed. At the time, my life was pretty messy and unhappy, nothing new there. I was used to numbing my pain and rationalizing not doing much of anything to change it. When something hurt, I sliced it out, packed it up, and hid it away. I’d become an expert at not allowing any of the stories to get in my way, or so I thought.
It seemed like this was as good as it was going to get.
Then suddenly and unexpectedly, I saw something amazing in the eyes of a pure being. In one initiatory, sparkling moment a wave of awareness flowed through me. What I saw in those eyes awakened me and gave me crystal clarity. I saw that numbing myself by carving up and squirreling away my pain, grief, and shame were why I wasn’t experiencing love.
And even though it had always seemed like a fantasy because no one I’d ever met had lived like that, every cell of my being now understood what loving and being loved looked and felt like.
Truly loving relationships were actually possible.
My new quest was to find out how to make all the relationships in my life resound with this clarity and power and I needed to start with myself. So I began my journey to clear out that attic and regrow all those parts back into myself. I would create a new, powerful story for myself by recovering all of the ones I’d denied for so long.
It hurt, a lot.
Especially at first.
Each part and story of myself that I’d abandoned carried within it what I came to know as Story Wisdom which was essential for my journey to becoming ME.
I received that wisdom as the reward for reclaiming them, welcoming them home, feeling grateful for them, and truly loving them. So now, no matter how uncomfortable my new path was, I knew I would never go back to disowning and dismembering my grief and pain.
By re-membering all the parts and stories that I hadn’t been able to face before, I grew back my insides, filled in the holes, and grew into my true self.
Now, Story Wisdom has cultivated a greater sense of connection within me. I’m my own fiercest ally and compassionate companion. I’m free to care for myself. I’ve grown back the pieces and I don’t have to abandon myself any more.
Love Lies Beneath
As I tapped into the wisdom of Story, it taught me that Love lies beneath.
Beneath the fear,
Beneath the suffering,
Beneath the abandonment.
Story taught me that everything originates in Love.
And, each struggle, betrayal, and pain is an invitation to have a conversation with a part of myself that wants to be welcomed home. It’s inviting me to live into the story at that moment, take the journey, and return from it with greater wisdom and understanding.
So now, the painful, tight, friction-y bits of my life are no longer enemies threatening to harm me. They’re allies offering to rejoin me and make me whole. They’re stories offering me a way to deepen my experience and awaken to new possibilities.
It’s going to take a while, maybe this entire ride, to do this. Fortunately, it isn’t that I need to finish this project, it’s how I engage with it along the way.
So, I get to feel all the feelings…the good, the bad, the ugly, the mystical…and see them for what they are. Gifts that add the color, texture, spice, and flavor to my unique and precious life.
One of the high points is having the opportunity to share what I’ve discovered with my family, friends, and clients. I get to initiate them into the language and wisdom of Story and help them tap into the stories within themselves.
I show them how to uncover the Love within the story, the Love that lies beneath the surface of it.
They learn how to stop rejecting their feelings, thoughts, and actions and find self-acceptance.
And as they begin to see their stories as allies and companions, they connect to unbounded confidence, limitless motivation, and enduring resilience.
Life becomes richer. The world becomes friendlier. Gifts appear everywhere.
You Deserve It
Your stories are waiting for you. They’re full of wisdom and beauty meant to enrich your life. Some of them may look scary but I promise you that Love lies beneath their appearance. They’re here to serve you and open the doors to a wealth of meaning and happiness.
I’m here to be your Story Wisdom guide. I can lead you safely into the shadowy corners of your own attic so you can reclaim the treasures that are patiently waiting there for you.
I’ll stand by you as you recover all the bits of you that didn’t feel safe way back when. I’ll witness your stories, affirm your courage, and celebrate your success. And then, you’ll know the truth, that…
Love lies beneath the surface of everything that’s ever happened to you, it was made for you, and you were made for it.