All of a sudden, I found myself hovering in the sky, looking down on the suburbs and watching women in their houses go through the motions. They moved around their houses like someone had turned up the speed dial, leaving trails of energy behind them as they raced from one place to another. Their legs did not move, they just blurred by.
Then they fell into bed, and time stopped.
As they lay there, exhausted, they peered out their windows or stared at the ceiling, almost too tired to sleep. I could feel their sadness. I could feel their anguish. Lying there, they all had the same type of thoughts running through their weary heads, “Is this it? Is this what life is about? Am I stuck in this cycle forever? What should I be doing with my life? I want more than this. There’s got to be more than this”.
And then I woke up.
Maya Angelou said, “There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you,” and I believe her. As we go about our days, busy with life, what starts as a hint of dissatisfaction, slowly begins to burn, until eventually, we’re in emotional – sometimes physical – agony. This agony shows up as symptoms in our lives that we never seem to conquer:
- Why am I so damn tired all the time?
- Why do I keep getting these headaches, GI issues? Wait, do I have an autoimmune condition?
- I never seem to be able to have fun anymore.
- Am I depressed? Is it just a rut?
- Should I change jobs? Maybe I need to try something new.
- I feel so disconnected from my partner lately.
- I’m unusually snappy with my kids.
- I don’t think my friends understand me anymore.
- I picked up ice cream and had a bowl every night until it was gone. I even snuck a cookie while I was refilling my coffee at 10am.
- Is this what a mid-life crisis looks like? Sh*t I’m only 40.
- Is it wrong to want to nap at lunch?
- I spent $500 bucks on random online shopping this month. I didn’t notice though because it was $50 here and $100 there, but I just looked at the credit card statement…
- I have daydreams about living in a tropical location where I just nap and read all day and then somedays I’m really tempted to just do it. (Shhhhh…)
These are the symptoms of bearing the untold story. They appear after years of us failing to speak our truth and follow our true story. Some of us were given a story and told to follow it by mostly well-intentioned parents/caregivers. Some of us were born into circumstances that make following our story more difficult. And still, others were following what they thought was their story, because that’s what society told them was the norm, only to find many years into their lives, that they were given someone else’s book.
It doesn’t matter what story you’ve followed. It only matters that you recognize the symptoms in your life as guideposts, urging you to take the agony and discomfort as a sign that it’s time to make some edits to your story – time to re-write your chapters. Is there a new and expanded ending for the book of you?
I feel I came out of the womb asking, “What is the meaning of life,” but I didn’t have the self-awareness (or self-esteem) to forge my own path. My story was in continuous edit mode, and it was always to make changes to myself so that I could be written into the stories of others in the role as “best friend”, “stellar employee”, “super mom”, or “perfect wife”.
My sense of self was transient. I was afraid to commit to who I really was, because that seemed to land me firmly outside the popular crowd (as a child/young adult), or later, when I cared less about being popular, it moved to choosing an acceptable career. I felt I wanted to choose something that was meaningful and would make me happy, so I picked a career, and then another, and then another…
Along the way, I got married, had a family, bought a house, got a dog (added chickens), and I still stared up at the ceiling asking myself, “Is this it?”.
In completely honestly, I checked quite a few symptoms off that list at one point or another – many at once. I tried to overcome them with self-help books, meditation, medication, food. I’ll be honest, not much changed except my waistline. It’s not that I don’t think those things helped – they did, even if temporarily – but they didn’t solve the problem. They were treating symptoms. They were the Band-Aid covering a deeper problem. I was still asking myself, “What the eff is the point?” and it was really making me feel quite depressed … and guilty too. I shouldn’t forget to mention the guilt because from the outside looking in, it appeared as if “I had it all”, and yet I was still feeling that way. Obviously there are people in the world who would love to change places, so who was I to complain?
So what does a person do when they’re in this situation? Honestly, most of us just keep on treating the symptom and hope for a better outcome. “Maybe if I just make more money things will change? Maybe if I try a new job I’ll be happy? Perhaps I should try this new eating regime to cure my current GI issues? I’m going to slam 2 more Advil down my throat and hope the headache goes away. I’m going to stop buying ice cream so I won’t eat it.”
This isn’t the point, and will never be a permanent fix.
Can we just go back to the Maya Angelou quote for a minute? “There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.”
I think the cure is to pay attention to our real story that so desperately wants to be written and LIVED. (Of course, I’m not advocating that you don’t seek medical advice, or do drastic things that put you at risk or in danger. I just want to be clear on that.)
What is the story your soul wants to tell?
If you told that story, would the symptoms disappear?
When I examined the story I was living, I realized a few things:
- I was using outside solutions to try to fix an internal problem.
- I was not paying attention to my soul story. When I did listen here and there, things flowed. When I didn’t listen, they were difficult.
So, what did I do? I started to follow my gut. I listened to my intuition. If it directed me to a book, I’d buy it. If it directed me to a course, I’d take it. Of course, I used some discernment here and there (soul or ego?) by doing muscle testing or using my pendulum, but once I got in the groove of listening, the story began to write itself.
I am happier.
My self-esteem grew and I no longer care to change who I am to fit into a role that someone else has written for me.
I started a business.
I feel more peaceful and am less triggered by circumstances that I cannot change.
I rarely ask myself, “Is this it?”, and if I do, it’s usually because I stopped listening.
Is my life all rainbows and unicorns? No, but that dream was a strong metaphor for me. I felt the despair of those women because I recognized it. I was one of those women, scurrying around on autopilot and falling into bed exhausted, wondering when the Groundhog Day would end. Wondering how much more I could take, but not having any idea what to do about it.
That dream signaled to me that I am following my path. Instead of scurrying around, I have a bigger perspective. I’m moving to a new and expanded reality of my choosing.
Is it always easy to trust my soul guidance? No. I’m still learning. But the more I listen, the more my trust muscle gets exercised.
If you can relate to any of this story, please know that you too, have an untold story inside you just waiting to be expressed, and expressing it might just be the answer you are looking for.