The AccepTTranscend Model for Transformation , which I developed in 2012, explores, in part, the power of the stories we tell ourselves, and others, about our lives. We tend to think we cannot change the past. But we can change the way it has affected us, and affects us still. We can rewrite our story with ourselves as hero. We can identify the places where we’ve fallen, go back and arise anew, not as victims but as triumphant survivors.
From time to time I ask myself the following questions, lest I become entrenched in the deceptive minutiae of daily life, and I encourage my the people I am privileged to work with to do likewise:
Who am I without my history? Who is the authentic self at the very core of my existence? Who might I be without my beliefs, my conditioning, my quirks and my compulsions? Who am I beyond self-doubt, beyond guilt, beyond shame, beyond fear? Behind AD(H)D, before dyslexia, beneath the ageing flesh and the dreams that have come true and may come true and never will come true, the miracles and disasters, joys and griefs, triumphs and devastations; who am I?
My answer is always the same, although it sometimes takes a while to hear it clearly.
I am the breath, the bone, the beating heart. I am the mind, the spirit, the eternal soul. I am a blank page, and a hand poised, ready to write a newer story. There can always be a newer story, and sometimes there must.
At the end of last year, two young women I have known since their childhoods, friends of my two daughters, each gave birth to a healthy, beautiful baby, full of new potential. Each was due on December 18th, each came a little later, each weighing 8lb 8oz. A new little girl. A new little boy. Each perfect and full of potential, each possessing the breath, the bone, the beating heart, a mind, a spirit, an eternal soul. Each a blank page, a hand poised, the first faltering characters of a brand new story.
A newborn child is a celebration. A beacon of hope in a tumultuous world, unsullied, unburdened with baggage (if we suspend the concept of reincarnation).
I followed the trajectory of each infant into a crazy world at the end of a crazy year and each brought me hope and joy.
2016 was a year of escalating world conflict, celebrity deaths and bizarre elections. Rising hatred and division but also new responsiveness and empathy; right-wing politics, extremism and global chaos rousing civil-society action, unity and compassion. Ordinary people awakening, supporting refugees, opposing Trump and Brexit, protesting the Western-World complacency towards the oppressed peoples of Syria and Standing Rock and Yemen and other places we may never visit but we know through social media and shared humanity, through emerging consciences and freshly-breaking hearts.
As 2016 segued into 2017, I observed two young mothers nurturing their precious babes beyond the chaos, reminding me of the existance of perfection. That Hope can never die; will keep on being born, eternally.
It is not just babies that can manifest as miracles in a chaotic world. They are the most immediate example; the metaphor, the model. They seize the hearts of every sector of humanity, and unite us all in awe and wonder. But actually, we can all do that.
I am not tiny and cute. I am not helpless and without history (or her story). Neither are you. But we can write for ourselves and for the world a new story, adventurous and positive, beautiful and brave. We can reach beyond the limitations we have believed define us and bring forth what’s slumbered deep within. Beyond my beliefs, my conditioning, my guilt, my ailments; beyond your insomnia and anxiety, his fear, her fractured spirit; beyond our common, inevitable brokenness we are beings of limitless resourcefulness and possibility and joy. The worldly chains that hold us back, preventing us from being who we’re truly meant to be and who our splintering world needs us to be have little power unless we give them ours.
I don’t doubt that my daughters’ friends will tell their precious little ones “you can do anything. You can be everything you want to be”. What if we told ourselves the same? When we feel defeated, ragged and ravaged, draped in our unflattering self-perceptions and perceived limitations, what if we simply discarded them, like yesterday’s soiled clothing, and beheld ourselves in our true colours; not as an accumulation of emotional dysfunction and loss of hope, but as miraculous beings of endless potential; precious gifts to nurture and protect and love? What if we looked at each other in the same way, and united in the passionate reinforcement of these new discoveries; a reverse of the classic tale The Emperor’s New Clothes? What if we became the people we were born to be?
Birth is not just for infants. New beginnings are for everyone. By releasing a past whose script no longer serves us and claiming a transcendent present, a luminous future, we can become the authors who will change the story of our own lives and rewrite the history of our dazzling world.