As Don Snyder puts it in his book, Of Time and Memory, no matter what our lives, we can all “hope that we are all preceded in this world by a love story”. If we can see that in our parents – and in ourselves - then something of our lives can change and we can find “the path back through stars and memory".

The Story Unfolding
As soon as we are born our life stories begin to weave themselves more tightly around us. The process typically starts with throwaway comments (“He’s so like your father”, “He’ll be a doctor/teacher/play for England when he grows up”), all of which are instructions to a young mind that knows no different and regards the parent as an all-knowing God.

When our parents tell us we will become doctors, or “little devils”, or play for England, whether they are serious or not, it sets up a tension in our minds which, to find resolution, must result in a loss: either we reject the parent’s wishes or they reject part of us. Either way, the story remains central because some part of us is still defining who we are in terms of their words. If we do become doctors, then, is it really our choice? And if we don’t, have we failed our Gods? That is why, as parents we must be careful with our words, and as consumers of the word we must be cautious about what we give our attention to.

All of us have a story like this and it can be illuminating to write it down. If your life were a book, for example, what would it be – a comedy, tragedy, adventure? Who are the main characters? And where does it go from here?

Every author is, of course, free to change his story at any time and, as Ram Dass points out: “What, after all, is personal history if not a dream?”.

How would you rewrite your story to make for a more empowered future?

Cutting Ties
From your explorations so far, you may be aware of energetic links to others or to events that are more aligned to your ‘story’ than your true soul purpose and which are therefore not serving you. Through breathwork you can begin to remove the energetic attachments that hold you to this dream.

This part of the process consists of imagining yourself back in each of these events and then breathing in to reabsorb the energy you have been expending on them while breathing out the ties you have formed to the drama of that moment. Learn from the experience, too, that these are all situations in which you have a tendency to give away power because, knowing this, you can make sure you don’t do the same in future.

Forgiveness
The final step is to forgive; to understand that all of these events are also just stories and that, more positively, they reveal the things we need to work through to be true to our souls. Forgiveness, then, is another way of releasing our myth so we can return to spiritual wholeness.

Thus, in the Celtic tale related earlier, Oisin did not blame Niamh for the geis that he carried for, in his aging he became, symbolically, a man, standing on his own two feet, on his home turf, and free of the Land of Eternal Youth where power is wielded irresponsibly and promises are extracted with threats.

ALL IN THE MIND?
A question arises in all work that has to do with life scripts and the process used to unearth them: ‘Is it all just my imagination?’

This question is a chimera because it doesn’t actually matter if the events you saw ‘really’ happened exactly as you experienced them in your visualisations or not, because whatever you believe to be true you will make real anyway. Our entire lives are, in this sense, an act of faith, and wherever we place our belief those are the results we get.

If I believe I was an unwanted child, for example, as Lucy did, everything in my life conspires with me to create that story and I will grow up fearful of others and expecting to be rejected, and so I will create that very outcome. If I remember - or choose to believe - however, that there was love in my family, I can become more loving and loveable in my life and change my destiny now because I remember how love works, and not just the pains of my youth.

Having said that, there do tend to be remarkable correspondences between what we sense instinctively to be true and what did happen. Howard, working through this process, saw his mother’s attempt to abort him. Unbeknownst to his mother or to the doctor at the time, the attempt failed, and in his mind’s eye Howard saw himself being born and heard the surprised reaction of the surgeon who expected to be delivering a dead child: “It’s alive!” These were the first words he ever heard.

A little while after his recapitulation, Howard decided to speak with his mother about it. After her initial surprise it was clear that she needed to get something off her chest and she was frank and open about the circumstances of his birth. She confirmed that she did try for an abortion and that the words “it’s alive!” were spoken by the surgeon.

“This startling revelation led to a beautiful reconciliation with my mother”, Howard continued. “She told me what happened, about her motives, and about my father. This explained a lot for me because at a gut level I never trusted my mother, and now I knew why: unconsciously, I had known all along that she had tried to kill me.

“From this I also got a profound insight into what makes me the way I am, and I understood how that remark ‘it’s alive’ had influenced my life, as my response to living has always been ‘I’ll show them I’m alive!’ I sometimes wonder at the surgeon’s words though, and at how different my life might have been if the first words I had heard were not ‘it’, along with surprise at my existence, but ‘he’s a beautiful baby boy’ or something similar. I had bought into the story of ‘it’ and the disappointment I must have been”.

We know far more than we think and we carry the fears, hopes, and life experiences of our parents within our emotional DNA. These become our stories until we choose to take back our lives. Recapitulation is the first step to freedom.

This article is partly based on the books, The Spiritual Practices of the Ninja: Mastering the Four Gates to Freedom, published by Destiny Books in April 2006, and Darkness Visible: Awakening Spiritual Light through Darkness Meditation, also published by Destiny Books. Ross also runs workshops on the themes of this and his other books, including Darkness VisibleTM and The Four Gates To Freedom, which focus on the exercises in this article. The names of participants used in this article have been changed but their words are accurate.

Author's Bio: 

Ross Heaven is a therapist, workshop leader, and the author of several books on shamanism and healing, including Darkness Visible, the best-selling Plant Spirit Shamanism, and Love’s Simple Truths. His website is http://www.thefourgates.com where you can also read how to join his sacred journeys to the shamans and healers of the Amazon.