We all have a story. We say it has shaped us into who we are. We say it drives us or holds us back from who we really want to be and what we really want to do. We all have our story -- but what if you could get beyond your story? What if you could swim deep down into the infinite oceans within you and uncover not your story but the light of your resilience?
At Omega NYC 2011, over 1,500 people came with their stories. We all tell stories about why we are who we are, and why we're not who and what we're not. We place blame on ourselves, others or circumstances. Omega co-founder Elizabeth Lesser, author Geneen Roth and mind-body-health pioneer Joan Borysenko suggest that you embrace your inner fool, go out to the incredibly scary, uncomfortable edge of your deepest emotions, let your toes hang off the edge and leap! What do you feel when you're scared and uncomfortable? Omega's lesson: Use your truest, deepest feelings as doorways to the resilience that's just waiting for you beneath all your stories and layers. Resilience is the light that shines when you allow yourself to stay with your feelings. Resilience is beyond your stories. At Omega's in-depth weekend workshop, "Resilience: A Retreat for Women," these leaders in wellness took us out to the edge and suggested that we take a leap off the well-worn paths we all travel.
So, who would you be without the stories you tell yourself? What do you tell yourself about money, people who have lots of it and people who do not? What do you tell yourself about love? About the people who seem to have it, and about the people who do not? What do you tell yourself about what could have been? These are your stories. At Omega NYC, Lesser, Roth and Borysenko guided us to release them all, in the name of resilience. How do you do this? Surrender to the fact that you cannot control anything but your own reactions to life and people. Rather than blaming a person or a circumstance, notice how you react to it. Feel. Be uncomfortable if you have to, because the discomfort will pass. You will emerge. What do your reactions tell you about yourself? What do you know about life, money and relationships that you are not telling yourself? What are you actually feeling when you react?
Give yourself permission to both honor your stories and release them all, because they are only doorways. They are the doorways to the vastness you're about to explore once you've taken a brave leap over them, landing, with faith, on the true edge of your emotions. When you notice yourself telling your story, perhaps placing blame on yourself, another or a situation, stop telling the story and check in with your emotions. How are you feeling around this story? What does your emotion feel like in your body? What does it look like, sound like? What does it do to your body? Then ask yourself: How do I want to be in the world? Who am I and what options and possibilities are before me? Who am I when I am being my most authentic self? What do I look like, wear, sound like and talk about when I am being my most authentic self?
The above was all very easy to write when I was freshly home with my pajamas and tea after a weekend of Omega NYC. I felt free with the elation that Omega instills in my body and spirit. But, I knew better. I knew that to truthfully give this advice, I had to apply it to my life. So, I entered back into my life, the real world, with the intention to apply the off-the path, edge-walking, giant-leap training from Omega NYC. And I did it wholeheartedly.
My typical reaction to the unknown is anxiety and worry. Within days, my daily routine of striving to be my absolute best in every situation had already worn away the connection and freedom that my Omega weekend had given to me. It was time to go into the unknown darkness that Lesser, Roth and Borysenko enthusiastically run and leap into. I breathed into my anxious feelings, sat in my favorite chair and closed my eyes. I stayed with my feelings, and you won't believe what they did: they became momentarily huge and powerful, and then, they effortlessly passed! They passed in a way that left me even more at peace and aware of my true self than I had ever felt before. I did it again, and again, unpeeling deeper layers with each new anxiety-provoking situation or unknown thing before me. I've been on a journey of uncovering all I am. I feel excited by the unknown and by the idea of possibility. I know well who I am. I can stand strongly there because I am shining the light that's been waiting beneath the layers. Shining your truest light into the darkness, that is how you find the resilience awaiting your most authentic self. "Beyond the brokenness is a place that's never been broken," said Roth. "Wonder, delight, and possibility await you there. Through the vehicle of brokenness, we find the unbroken. We are living, walking transmitters of our beliefs."
Lessons Learned At Omega NYC 2011
From Elizabeth Lesser
Every person has an inner fool, and that inner fool should be celebrated! The unknown is filled with possibility, and the unknown is waiting for us to trust in it. That is how we enter the flow.
We all work hard to show the world that we have it all together. We act as if we know what we're doing and where we're going. We push down that inner fool, never imagining that maybe the fool is an intrinsic and necessary part of our human nature, necessary to our personal growth and evolution.
"It is the simple miracle of the fool's leap," said Lesser. "The fool doesn't waste his energy fighting 'what is.' The fool doesn't try to control the moment. The fool walks out to the edge and happily leaps into the darkness, trusting that destiny will catch him."
How to embrace the inner fool:
- Say "yes" to what feels right in your soul and heart.
- Know that we are all just making it up as we go along.
- Feel the difference in your energy when you stop trying to control the unknown, and you allow your life to flow.
- Take a leap into the darkness and trust your heart.
From Geneen Roth
"Know your beliefs," said Roth. "Very often, we avoid our true feelings because we're afraid that we won't get out of bed if we actually allow ourselves to feel everything that we're feeling! We assume that it's not ok to feel what we feel, so we distract ourselves."
Ask yourself the following questions:
- What do I know about [insert noun here, e.g., money, food, love, life] that I don't want to know?
- What are my beliefs around abundance, scarcity, love and joy? Write them down.
- If I felt what I felt, I would...
"Use what you're feeling as a doorway to your true self and what you can be in life," Roth said. "We end up having missed our lives because we are distracting ourselves. When we are distracting ourselves, we are not here in this moment."
From Joan Borysenko
People don't heal when they hang on to regrets and resentments. Change is a rite of passage from one stage to another. Learn to co-create with the future that wants to emerge!
Do you have a regressive story? Or, alternatively, a resilience story?
By recognizing your story style, you can peel the layers away to uncover your personal resilience.
10 ways to know if you have a regressive story:
- You often feel that you are the victim.
- You place blame.
- You are attracted to drama.
- You often feel helplessness.
- You believe you are being punished.
- You often feel that you are not enough or that you don't have enough.
- You take things very personally.
- Negative feelings or events pervade all or many areas of your life and being.
- You feel pessimistic.
- You project consequences into the future.
10 ways to know if you have a resilience story:
- You practice living authentically.
- You leave space for the unknown.
- You are realistic.
- You dispute the story you tell yourself: 'Is it true that this situation is so horrible?'
- You have a healthy, realistic optimism.
- You wonder, 'What can I learn from this? How will I grow?'
- You are aware that you have control over your reactions.
- You stay in your feelings. Do you engage with the situation or run away?
- You see situations as challenges, rather than threats.
- You become aware of your responses, and then choose a response that will allow you to grow.
There is an indistinguishable light in everyone that might have been covered over. Observe how you act and move in this world. Unpeel the layers until you feel your light. And when you do feel your light? Continue to leap, and continue to peel away more layers, because you are infinite. Feel the excitement that comes with discovering all you are, and all you are meant to be to this world.
* * * * *
To read more from Jennifer La Lima-Ortmuller, visit Infinite Possibility: Be The Sky