December 9 - Different Points of View
Last Updated on Monday, 13 February 2012 11:54
One day, two members of eClubSoda approached me separately with their concerns. One woman felt extremely guilty because she was not able to be on all of the calls. She said that if she weren’t there everyday she would be worried that she was letting me down. The other member was worried because she had been on every night. She felt like she was taking advantage of me because she was taking up so much of my time and paying so little for it. She was terrified that I would get tired of her and send her away!
Both of these loving and caring women had read the same eClubSoda information material and had heard from me individually that it was fine to attend whenever it was convenient for them…that there would be no roll call and that they were welcome to be part of the call as often as would work well for them…no matter how little or how much that might turn out to be.
Both of them had a hard time hearing those details, though, because of stories they had written…a very long time ago… sometime between the ages of 0-13. While their stories had little to do with the circumstances of eClubSoda and everything to do with their childhood experiences, they shaped what they were able to perceive about the calls. The opportunities to replay those stories kept reappearing throughout their lifetimes.
Sharing their feelings with me became an opportunity for rapid development; it brought to light how little influence our present circumstances actually have on our experiences of those circumstances. We could all see so clearly how their experiences had been created instead from what they had concluded as children.
Neither had been able to hear me correctly when I had originally shared the guidelines for eClubSoda, i.e., that I had no expectations of how often members would be on it and that I wanted it to be there for them when they needed it. Both were unable to be curious as to how their attendance, or lack of attendance, might have been interpreted by me… they “already knew” and yet they were suffering as a result of what they “knew.” And it is this suffering that was so familiar to each of them.
The one who suffered because “she had not been on the call enough” watched her father leave her mother because, according to her childhood declaration, “she had not done enough.” And their whole life changed when this happened. Instead of living in a fancy house, they had to move to a small dilapidated apartment. Instead of having her family intact, she missed her father desperately. And this is what she was expecting in her unconscious mind as a consequence when she feared that her lack of attendance might displease me.
The other, who had suffered the same guilt even though it was created by a different story, never felt like her parents really enjoyed her company or wanted her around very much. In fact, her care often had been entrusted to a man and woman who eventually sexually abused her. The wounds she carries from that experience today are deep and still very painful. Her unconscious mind connected being a “pest” or “too much trouble” with the possibility that she might be released to abusive caretakers once again. With that in mind, it is no surprise that she would be filled with concern.
Fortunately, they both found the courage to discuss this with me. I don’t think it was an accident that both of their communications arrived on the same day. I asked each of them if I could share their story with the other, and as a result of their permission, each was able to see an entirely new point of view.
They were both able to see that it was certainly not the circumstances that created their stories or their feelings, especially since their stories were so different…and yet about the same eClubSoda policy. Instead, it was about an experience and declaration that they had a very long time ago…one that was unfortunately continuing to shape their futures. As a result of this experience, they both now had a clearer understanding of the mood they were accustomed to feeling, and this enabled them to form a plan to begin writing a brand-new story…one in which all of their dreams could come true. It is right here, in the emotional memories from which we try to run, that we will once again, find ourselves at last.
What story did you write when you were little? If you have no conscious memories of that time, are you willing to start listening to the stories you are living today? Will you get curious about their origin rather than concluding that they are all the truth? What are you missing in today’s world because yesterday’s world is shaping what you see? Are you ready to find yourself at last?