The Love that lies beneath every painful story I carry with me is the source of what I tell myself as a way of managing betrayal, abandonment, disappointment, and despair. This Love doesn’t wish me to suffer. It understands that these distressing experiences look and feel like the villains of life, yet, they are a valuable part of the journey toward becoming my full self. I have learned that when I dive down into the depths of any hurtful, negative, or limiting story, I can find the Love that lies beneath it. When I connect to that Love, I reclaim more of my Soul, which heals my Heart.
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all transcripts are approximations of the conversation
The Rumpelstiltskin Of My Life
Zette Harbour 0:02
Welcome to Love Lies Beneath. I’m Zette Harbour. I’m glad to have you here. Do you feel like stress, fear or pain take up way too much of your energy? Have you wondered if you’ll ever be free of that heaviness of your past? Do you long to feel as good on the inside as your life looks on the outside?
Zette Harbour 0:44
In this podcast, you’ll discover the story of who you really are, and how to set yourself free. Together, we’re going to travel into those wild spaces of our inner landscapes, and dive deeply into the rich soil of our lives, reclaiming Soul through Story and healing our Hearts. My book, Love Lies Beneath is the map. Be sure to subscribe to this podcast so you don’t miss any of this enriching journey. And now, let the adventure begin.
Zette Harbour 1:41
In Episode 19, we will look into Rumpelstiltskin as a mirror. I’ll read a passage from my book, where I share how Rumpelstiltskin became such a powerful inspiration and guide to reclaim my Soul and in doing so, heal my Heart.
Zette Harbour 2:13
In my early life, I experienced a lot of abandonment and betrayal. It began at the age of four and carried on throughout the remainder of my youth. I lost my own father with no explanation and no comforting of my grief. Instead, he was replaced by a man who would be a danger to me from age six to 15. This man molested my sister and me. I was six when I first learned that my life was now in the hands of an abuser. It was terrifying, and overwhelming. For the next nine years, I walked along the edges of every room I was in. I felt like a rat, for whom the open spaces were unsafe. I got caught a few times to be sure. But my older sister bore the brunt of it.
Zette Harbour 3:07
When she turned 18 and moved out, I believe that my time was up. I felt like there was nowhere to hide anymore. At 15, I was old enough to feel like I had some ability to help myself. I knew from another friend who was in the foster system, that there was a group of people whose job it was to protect children who were in abusive situations, just like me. I decided to take action inspired perhaps by heroines like the bionic woman or Charlie’s Angels, I would do the right thing. I made a risky plan to miss my bus at school and instead, go to the Social Services Office. I decided that my best chance of getting out of the chaos and danger in my home was to go and ask for help. naively, I believed that if I showed up and was honest, as much as I could be, they would do the right thing. Instead, the social worker decided that I was a spoiled brat trying to get out of doing chores. That’s the message he got for my stories of alcohol-fueled violence and child abuse.
Zette Harbour 4:23
I had been his last appointment of the day and I had no way to get home. He offered me a ride at a crossroads about two miles away from my house. He told me that making the turn to drop me off would take him out of his way. Would it be okay to leave me at the gas station there? Could I get a ride the rest of the way he wanted to know. And then with the autumn darkness descending, it started to rain. So there I was alone, disappointed, and scared. My last hope of refuge seemed to be gone.
Zette Harbour 4:58
Like the weaver’s daughter. I was caught in someone else’s lies. For instance, the story was supposed to be that my mother and new father were there to take care of me and keep me safe. We were to act as a good family, go to church and be respectful and obedient. It was maddening to feel like I was still expected to be a polite child, a good student and a thoughtful daughter, despite the toxic underbelly of our home, everyone in that house was caught up in the lie.
Zette Harbour 5:29
And I had no idea how to spin that shit-covered straw into anything, especially not gold. One of the messages I took from my mother and stepfather’s behavior was, you are not as important as our needs. I adopted that mantra and denied my worth and needs for as long as I could. This was a story I carried and lived out for many years. My vision of myself was narrow and stingy. My way of being was the unhappy result of my way of seeing. Marian Wright Edelman said it beautifully. You can’t be what you can’t see.
Zette Harbour 6:12
Much later, as I worked with my very talented and generous therapist, Joanna Verhaar learning about Jung and Campbell. I also discovered revolutionary thinkers like Barbara Walker and Riane Eisler. They opened my perspective to see beyond the fear, pain, and anger I felt about those powerless years, I expanded my choices for who and how I could be, along with this more spacious point of view. When I step into the story of Rumpelstiltskin, I could also see another quite different perspective. I felt the weaver’s daughter’s pain as she is betrayed by a foolish father, seeking to make himself important. It is not what literally happened to me in my life. Instead, I can relate to that part of myself that yearns to feel and be seen as important. There is an aspect of me that is willing to risk the safety and well-being of my tender, vulnerable self in order to make that happen.
Zette Harbour 7:18
I also felt what it was like to sacrifice my youthful feminine energy to the king’s greed. He wants treasure more than any other thing. He is willing to kill for it. I too have held my own tender self hostage in the service of being what I believed I should be. My desire to measure up to what others thought was valuable, held greater power over me than loving my authentic self.
Zette Harbour 7:48
Having rediscovered the story of Rumpelstiltskin, I felt my mind and heart bloom with hope. Here was a pathway I could follow, to spin the straw of my life, even the parts that had horseshit on them into rich treasure. Even better, I could take my place as the queen of my life, and bring my greatest gifts to the world. When I spend time in the story, I understand that, like the weaver’s daughter, I was clueless about how to spend the ordinary stuff of my own life, the straw, into the richness of wisdom, represented by the gold. It took my own hopelessness, surrender, and grief, to call upon the mysterious force within me that is Rumpelstiltskin. He is the energy that enables me to transform the ordinary, into the transcendent, is spinning makes it possible to reclaim my soul, which heals my heart.
Straw Into Gold
Zette Harbour 8:54
Within me, I have all of these characters, the father, the king, the daughter Rumpelstiltskin, the messengers, and the queen. In doing so, I become intimate with parts of myself that have been hidden from me. They come to life, take form, and deliver insights about myself. They allow me to express feelings and beliefs that previously had no words. As I do, I give myself permission to see and be more than what I had learned from others I should be. I discover that to claim my own power of creation, represented in the story. By having a child I must first transform the straw of my life into gold. In this way, I become queen. For the straw to be spun into gold, I must first be betrayed and had the king demand that I perform the transformation. I must feel utterly lost, give up and cry. I must connect to my grief.
Zette Harbour 10:02
It is in this moment of being present to this grief, that I make it possible for the mysterious, powerful force of alchemy and creativity to come to my aid. That’s when the little man comes in. This story allows me to see that I must be willing to pay the price to access this amazing transformative energy. In the end, I must agree to give the most important thing up to it. Even before I know what it really means to do so. It teaches me that sometimes I find myself in situations that demand more of me than I know how to give. I feel threatened and perhaps betrayed, but do not fully know what is at stake, I will feel forced to comply. Even when I do not know how to it will require the help of some unknown part of me, at least at first. And then when I’ve achieved my ultimate union and creation, I have to name this mysterious being to keep my child the child represents my creative contribution to the world. If I can name that which made it possible for me to spin straw into gold, I can keep my most treasured creation. as Queen of my life, I am a beloved sovereign with ownership of my inner lands treasures.
Zette Harbour 11:36
When I face the threat of losing my child, I am now painfully aware of what it will cost me. If I succeed in naming that which enabled me to become queen and Mother, I transform it. And in doing so, all of the bounty of my life is truly now mine. Because I am the queen, I have the power to put my messengers to work on my behalf. For instance, when I experienced betrayal in my own life, I found myself threatened and overwhelmed. Only when I was older and felt able to face my pain and fear did I enter what would feel like a palace’s safety in allowing myself to feel my sadness and face my stories, mysterious and powerful energy showed up within me.
Zette Harbour 12:29
This was the source of my own alchemy. It did the spinning for me. Much later, I still did not fully understand how the magic had been done. But much of the straw of my life had truly transformed into gold. Those early painful experiences were the straw that became the wealth of my life. While I did not necessarily consciously know how it had taken place, I knew that it was possible. I could be assured that if I stepped into that room, spent time with my straw, and gave permission to my grief, gold would be the result.
Zette Harbour 13:09
It is normally taken for granted in the story, that Rumpelstiltskin is a villain interested in getting what he wants, no matter the cost. And yet, he is the very catalyst needed to create the transformation that brings about the happy ending, everything Rumpelstiltskin does is in service to my awakening and becoming without him, some part of me would have died. And I would never have taken my place in my own life as Queen. He is the reason I was able to birth into the world, a living creation, which is the gift I am here to give. Only in naming him can I truly keep my ultimate creation, the art that is my life. Now, I believe I know the identity of that magical energy that showed up for me, demanded payment and finally called me to name it.
Zette Harbour 14:09
Its name is Love. This Love lies beneath every painful story I carry with me. It is the source of what I tell myself as a way of managing betrayal, abandonment, disappointment, and despair. To be sure, I am not saying that it wants me to be or feel hurt. Like Rumpelstiltskin, it wants me to live happily ever after, in an abundant, loving, wealthy life. These distressing experiences look and feel like the villains of my life and yet, they are a valuable part of the journey toward becoming my full self. I have learned that when I dive down into the depths of any hurtful, negative, or limiting story, I can find the Love that lies beneath it. When I connect to that Love, I reclaim more of my Soul which heals my Heart.
Zette Harbour 15:16
I want to leave you with this thought. Think of the times in your life when you allowed yourself to open your heart to your grief and sadness. What did you experience in those moments that gave you the power to transform, to spin the straw of your life into gold? It may have seemed invisible, it may have seemed like something you aren’t able to name, and yet, the truth is, it is within you always. And you can name it so that you can call upon it any time you need.
Zette Harbour 15:58
There will never be a time in life where we do not experience some stress, fear or pain, grief, betrayal, disappointment, frustration. All these things are part of our human landscape. It is not that we are seeking a trouble-free life as Thomas Moore said in Care of the Soul. What we are seeking is a richer, deeper transformative experience.
Zette Harbour 16:30
So I invite you to let Rumpelstiltskin be your mirror. Let this story be your teacher and your guide as it was for me. Give yourself time to look into this mirror with kind curiosity. And in doing so you will find the story wisdom and you will transform the straw of your life into gold.
Zette Harbour 16:59
I’m Zette Harbour. This is Love Lies Beneath. Please subscribe to this podcast so you don’t miss a single bit of this adventure. You can also visit LoveLiesBeneath.com for show notes, resources, and a link to set up a Virtual Coffee Date with me. I’d love to talk story with you. Go raibh míle maith agat!