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  • Writer's pictureJill Brocklehurst

The Stories We Tell

Updated: Apr 24

"Our gift to the great mosaic of the world is our uniqueness.” (James Hollis, PhD)

Listening to Patrick Stewart’s memoir (titled, Making It So), I am reminded of my father, a great storyteller who was also from Yorkshire, England. Dad celebrated being the main character in many of his humorous tales. My personal favourite is one we all told together:

Our farm was on a gravel country road and, for years, Dad had let everyone know that he was the only member of our family of 6 who had never put the car in the ditch. Big snow and misleading wide shoulders had been the number one culprits in many a mishap for others.

This particular story began on a spring day when there was no snow remaining on the ground. My father, after having too much to drink, pulled out onto the road. He was in a foul mood and arguing with our mother. My sister and I were in the back seat, keeping silent and still. We were a mere stone’s throw away from our home, but my Dad, obviously distracted, got too close to the side of the road and the ditch sucked him in. Suddenly, there we were… stuck in the mud. We all stayed silent as we got out of the car, sensing that Dad was looking for something to blame. (There was nobody at fault but him, of course).

Our very shy neighbours came by to assess the situation and to assist. My father leaned over to measure the depth of the mud, and… ziiiip! He split his pants right down the back seam, exposing his briefs for the neighbours and everyone else there to witness! (We still remained silent as we withheld our giggles). How ridiculous!

Eventually, this story became a favourite, highly entertaining yarn to recount at gatherings. The teller was always successful in bringing everyone together for a good laugh. (Thank heavens my father saw the humour in it too).

I’ve been told I am a storyteller who uses life experiences to enhance connection and understanding for others. I find that this quality helps me greatly when I teach and lead groups.

We all tell stories. They form the foundations through which we experience our lives,  and they shape the way we see and interact with the world. They become troublesome, however, when they show up in the form of the ‘sad’ stories we continue to retell about our pasts. This can create an insidious cognitive loop that adds to an already deeply ingrained brain-wave pattern. The will and determination it takes to break this habit requires fearlessness.


What I know for myself, is that I experience a weird sense of comfort when I am living from my old stories. I know their beginnings, middles and ends. This familiarity holds me in a static drama loop. Outside of these well-worn story stylings about my life, lies the unsteady ground of ‘the unknown’.

In his memoir, Patrick Stewart shares his take on how to break away from the power of the drama loop phenomenon: “If someone says, ‘Give me one word of advice,’ I say, ‘be fearless.’ And know without any shadow of a doubt that what (we) have to give – who (we) are – is totally unique and not shared by anybody else. And believe in that uniqueness. It took me decades before I developed courage as an actor.”

Stewart's self-control and deliberate filters, customized through years of personal story development stemming from his childhood experiences (practiced with the intention of keeping himself safe in a threatening world), ironically, limited his success as an actor. To let down his guard and truly be himself… to offer his personal expression freely… required a fearlessness that took him years to develop and trust. 

So, I am sharing this insight with you now, for the benefit of you and of me. It helps me to be reminded, over and over, that sad stories of the past aren’t serving our greater “Good”… they aren’t examples of who we truly are. What we must practice instead is our trust in that ‘Something’ within us. We must dare to be ourselves in every way; creating new stories in the process.

It is not the old stories that define us. Rather it is something innate, separate and apart from our familiar narratives. Deep within us, our Souls have a desire to self-express, but they have been layered over in false stories.

Let’s step bravely into the arena of life together; authentic and vulnerable. This is what the world is calling for in order to transform.


Affirmation for Deep Healing:

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