Connecting Space

Connecting Space

Thought for May 2019

Thought for May 2019

The use of Narrative

 

A personal narrative encompasses all of the thoughts, feelings, experiences, and behaviors that shape our lives. Our habits, the events we’ve been through, and the things we believe become the backbone of our personal stories about who we are. Narrative therapy is based on the idea that people can improve their self-image and empower themselves to take action in their own lives by re-evaluating their personal narratives.

In  noticing that a client has a story that contributes to a negative self-image or poor self-esteem,it is important to challenge that story. Look for gaps in the narrative or events that contradict the client’s current beliefs. Work with the client to create an alternate storyline that emphasizes their positive traits and problem-solving skills.Re-authoring is a powerful tool because it doesn’t involve making up a story out of thin air. Rather, it involves constructing a new, more positive narrative from a client’s own experiences and memories.

Permission has been given to share the following as an example.

As part of our work together the client was asked to consider her narrative and write her own ending rather than the assumed.

Harry Potter and the Sharpened Blade

Yesterday

When I was little, I was given a But. This But was cast by the Stupefy charm. It was meant to keep me safe, to keep me right, so that I wouldn’t fall off the path into the inky realms of the dangerous and unknown.

To be stupefied is to live apart, to be dislocated, even from oneself. An imposter in your own life. The But is immovable. I couldn’t go over it, I couldn’t go under it, I couldn’t go around it. The But told me I was not enough to go through it. I would have to be incredibly good and pretty and courageous and strong and intelligent to do that and I was none of these things. But I knew I was loved and safe and so I stayed behind the But. After But told me these things I put my fingers in my ears and hummed a little tune to stop any more truths getting in. My inside was bruised and sore. Even my Glow. I have this Glow you see. It’s tiny and ever so gentle. It softly shimmers and although I don’t quite know what it is, I am compelled to keep it secure.

I grew to be grown and But came with me wherever I went. I grew to know But. But was familiar. But was always on hand to confirm what I suspected about me, a fakery travelling the cavernous, hammering outside world.

I learned magic. It never occurred to me that I could be magical, but I tried it and it worked. And here is the magic that I can manifest – If I love and take care of – unconditionally, without manipulation or expectation the But gets smaller, so I can hardly hear its constant mewling. Those I loved would tell me I was ok, and it made the Glow smile and stretch out towards me and I would stroke it and ever so gently brush away those dew-drop tears of relief. I wanted people to know Glow and how precious it was; how perfect and right.

But my magic was secretly a curse. But laughed, knowing that this would be the case, it would always be the case because of me. But knew you see, that people only saw the But and how it could help them. Glow confused them because Glow stretched out to them and asked of them. Glow hadn’t ever seen herself fully and needed a mirror to reflect back at her.

And then the magic worked. Those two shiny bright days of perfection. I made little Glows. They were full of Glow. Different, individual Glows. And their Glows and my Glow recognised each-other and they all loved each other wholly, without reservation or judgement. And I was enough and ok and beautiful and strong and courageous and bright in the reflection of their Glow, as they were in mine. I was loved. They were loved. In this I was brilliant.

My Glow grew, But But said there was not enough room, Glow would never be enough. But had kept me safe all this time and if Glow grew anymore how could it keep it so?

But started to bully Glow. But was a churning, sniping maelstrom of discontent about how I’d got everything wrong. I put my fingers in my ears and hummed a tune of addiction to drown it out.

And then one day after all the days of grief Glow and I realised there was a question we needed to ask. And there was an answer to be found. We just needed to go hand in hand and ask one of wisdom. Close eyes, take a breath, lean into it and life will show the way. I don’t know how we knew this, but we did. But had to come too of course, so I had to be brave and take my fingers out of my ears just long enough to find them.

That’s how come we met Professor Dumbledore. Gentle, kind and wise Dumbledore. She recognised us straight away and she didn’t mind and wasn’t appalled. We asked our question and she asked one of her own in return.

Today

We spent some hours together in this state of questioning. I didn’t know where this would lead at first and now, I do.

But, Glow and Me are not separate, rather we are facets of the whole. None of them is an imposter, none of them is bad and none of them is hopeless. Together they make I.

In a moment of perfect clarity, they coalesce iridescently into a rightness.

I have a deep sense of compassion for But and I understand it a lot better today than I did yesterday.

I have work to do and it is time for change. I am aware of But tut-tutting at this concept. But is unwilling and is sulky and wilful.

But is a brick. But is a boulder. But is a mountain I must climb to be free. But needs to be understood.

I heave a knowing sigh. I have one more perilous, vertiginous place to traverse to find the key that will give me the answer I am so desperate to find. And I know there is the gnawing doubt that it will be my undoing.

I look down at my feet. Around each ankle several ropes are tied. At the end of each rope is tied a brick. They’ve always been there. I just haven’t recognised them before. Each one is heavy on its own, but together they make movement almost impossible.

I have the tool to rid myself of the burden, but its blade is blunt. I know to sharpen it will require work and discomfort. But tells me it’s futile. But says bricks are balloons and I will fall without them.

Tomorrow

I figured out how to sharpen the blade.

I tuck Glow safe inside me. My glow knows why; this is a job for the I of us. Glow is safe and happy, But is safe and the act of sharpening has given But contentment. But is quiet.

I raise the knife. There is no moment of sunlight glinting from its blade. It’s pissing down, the clouds are ominously grey, and the wind chews everything as a dog chews the marrow of a bone. No matter. This is not a Marvel adventure, it’s a marvellous adventure.

I pick the two most weighty of bricks, the bricks labelled addiction and I slice the ropes that bound them to me as if they were nothing more than gossamer threads.

And in that undoing the strangest and most magical thing happens.

There is a palpable and simultaneous coming together and falling apart. There is no struggle, no clash, no Titan uprising. There is just an acceptance and a sense of pride and joy. What is not needed just dissipates in the air. Where once was a gargantuan wall can now be swept away as if a cobweb. Where once was a mountain to climb, I find I was just in cloud and the summit is steps away.

And this has a ripple effect through everything, both worldly and perceptive. I am wholly enough.

 

Author: Jill • Filed under: Featured, Narrative Matters • Posted: May 21, 2019 2:05 pm

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