Our life contains many stories, hundreds and thousands of them. They flow in our blood stream. We carry them within ourselves, our minds, our bodies, our thoughts. These are our own stories – the ones we dream to life, the ones we remember and those that are happening to us right now. But we also carry stories of our ancestors – some of them lovely, funny or wise, some less so – all of them important. Through those stories we are connected to our ancestors, to their wisdom, but also to their pain. We all carry within ourselves the told stories, and we are happy to repeat them over and over again – their meaning, their teachings, their memories, and through re-telling them we can remember our ancestors, their wisdom and sometimes the mistakes they made. And by telling and re-telling those stories we’re not only making them alive, but we can also invite the healing in – into our bodies and into our family lines. This healing unfolds not only for us but also for our ancestors and for our descendants. We can send it back to them and cut the cords of pain and trauma that is weaving into the present. And through that we can set ourselves free of the past pain, but remain its wisdom.
But we also carry the immense weight of the untold stories. Stories that were untold by our ancestors and stories buried deeply within our bodies and minds that we have never told to anyone. We keep them hidden for many reasons – shame, guilt, fear or sometimes simply we just have no one to share them with. Yet they are alive deeply within us, still active, still causing pain. These are the stories that block us the most, our life force, our ability to deal with all that is thrown at us, our ability to interact with others and with ourselves. These are the stories that stop our flow, keep us static in place, frozen, not allowing us to grow, to move on, to heal. They turn us numb. These are the stories waiting to be told.
The untold stories are usually filled with trauma and with the weave of how that trauma was dealt with. When trauma happens and we feel that we have no choice but become sworn to the secrecy and we enter, what I call, The Council of Silence, this trauma remains alive and doesn’t have the opportunity to be healed and released. I’ve heard once that the stories we carry are often the stories we become. Their weight, the pain, the damage, the wound, the bruise – they infuse within us infecting our mind and spirit. And this is not our fault. This is the way our society taught us to be. There are generations of people weighed down by the load of their trauma sworn to secrecy, sworn to silence, asked to bear it on their own. And with time this secret becomes more physical – it wants to get out, yet we lock it deeply within. And with physicality of this mystery comes embodiment. It may take different forms for each of us – anxiety, PTSD, nightmares, depression, panic attacks, insomnia, permanent fears, the choice is quite great. The feelings and thoughts that are held back haunts us in many ways – stomach issues, exhaustion, headaches, chest tightness, feeling that I may never be safe again, that I may never be able to trust again, to feel whole.
Do you have those feelings? Do you ever have the feeling of not being whole? I did. I also carried for many years an untold story. Story that shaped me throughout most of my life. Story that wanted to be told so much that I shared it almost by accident – one day it just flew out of my mouth. It happened during my therapy session when we were talking about something entirely different. But this story was bubbling and trying to escape for some time before; I was just pushing it down filled with my own fear, shame and guilt. I tried to tell it before, parts and pieces coming out every now and then, but I never was able to form the whole of it and allow it out of me. But when it suddenly appeared in the silence between us during our session, I knew I cannot take it back any more. I knew that I don’t want to take it back. I felt safe to talk, to name, to give this story its own voice and break the most important commandment of the Council of Silence. In this one moment the silence disappeared and became something else. ‘In the beginning there was a word’ – and it feels like this word created the rest of my life. Freed me from so much weight I have been carrying and allowed me to understand the whys and how’s of my life. When I was 17 years old I was sexually assaulted by a much older man – a man who was my friend’s partner and who was assisting me in helping her during her drug addiction episode. I was very naïve and innocent back then and he was able to use and abuse it. I said no, I begged, yet I was physically weaker than him. I trusted him and deep down I believed that this is some kind of a joke and that it will finish before it will get ugly. Yet it did get ugly and this ugliness infused my relationship with people for many years. It infused my ability to trust and my need of being in control of all situations in my life. I understand so much about myself now. I also understand and this is an embodied feeling, that it wasn’t my fault. That it is not my shame. That I am not to blame. I’m 44 now, so it has been a long journey of carrying this story within me. It was also a very lonely journey and truly exhausting. But I felt so much relief at the moment of creating the reality of this untold story becoming told for the first time. And I was lucky, because I was in a safe space, with a therapist (a man for that matter) that I have trusted, that hasn’t judged me, that just listened and allowed this story to be told. Allowed it to take its shape and become. And by shedding the shame and silence and guilt, I could tap into my inner power and I began to channel my healing. And believe me its nerve gutting to write this story here for all of you to see, but as I’m advocating stories being told, this is my testament to it.
It is necessary to remember the importance of telling your stories to the right ears. If you make the mistake there and sing to the wrong crowd, you may very easily become re-traumatised and then it would become even easier for you to stay in the Council of Silence for ever, taking away the possibility to move on, to heal. So you need two things to commence your journey – the word and the ear. So tell anyone you trust, but tell someone. It could be a family member, a friend, a women’s group, a pet, a tree or a stone. Ask them to hold you as a witness, without comments, judgments, without trying to fix you. You are not broken; you just carry a very heavy story within you. Ask them to see you in the wholeness of your vulnerability, as I ask you now to see me. And then let your story unfold. If it is easier – write about it, but allow this story to become told. Then remind yourself of your worth. Remember it’s not your fault. Stand in front of the mirror and see yourself as the brave person you are. See yourself whole and say ‘I love you’. And if you don’t mean it, repeat it as many times as needed for you to believe, to make it true. Tell yourself the story of how much you value yourself, how much you are loved. If talking is still challenging – write, paint, sing and through your art let this story be told. Let it be born, so you don’t have to carry it anymore. Look into your life and see what is good there now and be grateful for all the gifts and privileges you have. And maybe the most important thing – find a therapist you can trust who can help you carry this load until you are ready to let go. Until you are ready to change the trauma into lessons and see yourself back into power – sometimes we can’t do it on our own. Sometimes we shouldn’t.
Our bodies remember. Everything we’re going through is weaving itself into our bones, muscles, soft tissues. It is also weaving itself into our DNA through which it is passed from generation to generation. And this is how both told and untold stories travel too – from great-grandmother, to your grandmother, to your mother, to you. They lay in wait in your body to become known. They are patient. They are not going anywhere. They quietly settle deeply within because they are part of us. There is such powerful magic and healing in telling stories together, in breaking the Council of Silence, in creating a new reality on the foundations of old mistakes and knowledge. There is such magic and healing in finding and embodying your power. Healing won’t happen overnight. It’s a process. I am still in this process. But life is also a process and it makes it so much more worth living. Are you ready to release your untold story? I am here. I am listening.