Some of you may remember how I wrote back in April that I was leaving for a for 2 month sojourn to Greece and how it brought to light some false interpretations or unconscious beliefs I still was holding around scarcity and my worthiness to enjoy the goodness of life without, at least working really hard and stressing out a lot first. Ha!
Well, after floating in the Azure Aegean nearly every day and climbing the breathtaking mountains of Athens, Santorini, Crete and Kefalonia nearly every night for two months, I can’t help but reflect on how far I’ve come and I’m compelled to address what I was writing about in that post from the ‘other side of the coin’ or ‘shining sea' – so to speak.
But bear with me, because to do that I feel like I should start at the beginning – or a least somewhere close to it.
I came from a blue collar family of 5 children. I was the fourth born child (second born twin) and always, without fail, #6 in the long list of names on the Brett family Christmas cards. As you can imagine having 4 children under the age of 4 (the 5th came 11 yrs later) my mother and father had to learn fast how to not sweat the small stuff or else surrender any expectations of sanity for decades to come. So, while my mother became very good at breaking up the day into manageable tasks, cooking and feeding in tandem and constantly ushering us outside to play, my father, being from the hands off wisdom school of parenting became adept at promoting an entrepreneurial spirit in all his children with a “If you want it - go get it yourself" message that seemed to permeate everything he did.
My parents’ hands off attitude was great fun, when at 6 and 10 we were paid to 'babysit ourselves' and was absolutely liberating when at 16 and 18, my sisters and besties didn’t think twice about buying a beat up VW Van and driving ourselves to California at spring break. But with my father’s paycheque stretched thin between a family of 7, as we got older, it became clearer that what his "go figure it out yourself” sentiment also meant was, “if you want it, then pay for it yourself". Consequently, at 9, I was babysitting, at 10 I had my first paper route and by the time my sisters and brother were working at the mall, McDonalds or the sheet metal shop, at 14, I was auditioning for film and TV and 'figuring out' how to become a famous actor.
And figure it out I did. At 15 I landed my first supporting role in a film, by 16, I had another film role and by 17, with six or seven more TV show's under my belt it appeared I was well on my way to becoming that famous actor I had always dreamed of…
So what happened?
And how does this connect to the whole scarcity to abundance story I seemed to be promising at the beginning?
You see, when I began working deeply the transformational principals of Feminine Power and the work of Dr Claire Zammit a couple of years ago, one of the most revelatory breakthroughs I had was the realization that what I experienced in those teen years of ‘figuring out’ how to be an actor on my own, had created an unconscious belief inside me that I was "a have not” – I was someone who doesn't get to have money, success, support, rest, holidays, pleasure, etc (I could go on and on).. and the unconscious assumptions, habits, patterns and behaviours I developed then, would continue to shape my life for years to come.
So, yah, while I agree the stereotype of the 'starving' artists seems like a cliched relic, a message in a bottle inscribed in indelible ink upon our unconscious – I have to admit, I fell prey to it.
Just as being a Hollywood celebrity has its shadow side, as it turns out, so does becoming a mini celebrity in a small town. Because as I began to miss school for film sets and make more money that a 16 yr old knows what to do with, my relationships with friends and family began to change and an invisible barrier began to form between me and well, just about everyone else. Friends seemed to expect me to pay for everything and painfully, some of my closest friends even stopped talking to me from jealousy. As a consequence, my lesser developed 16 yr brain started associating having $ and being successful with feeling isolated and alone. So much so that, when at 17, an opportunity came up to audition for the American Musical and Dramatic Academy in New York City, I made damn sure, not only to get myself to the audition but that all my friends and siblings came with me. That way, I thought, whatever happened at least we would be together. And so, with the help of a family network and with multiple train tickets paid for on my dime, we headed off from small town Langley and big city LA to meet and live together in New York City. And when my friends went home after a month, I stayed on for a few more days to audition.
To make a long story short (or shorter), a few weeks after returning home I heard the news…
I was accepted. And a few months after that, I was offered a small scholarship as well.
So, I guess that was it? Once I finished high school, I was going to New York?
Well, months rolled by. Graduation came and went. Finally, with my enrolment at AMDA imminent, my dad was faced with the difficult task of sitting across the kitchen table with me in order to break the New York Theatre School dream down into dollars and cents. After he finished scrawling 10’s 100’s of thousands of zeros up and down his notepad, he leaned back in his chair, and without uttering a word, looked into my eyes and waited for the proverbial, “If you want it, you have to pay for it” penny to drop – and drop it did.
Unfortunately my father’s no nonsense, pragmatic attempt at empowering me to ‘fend for myself’, had a profoundly different effect on me that day. You see, as I had been planning to leave for theatre school in New York, my siblings and friends had been making their own plans to fend for themselves in sunny California. So when I looked around my once full, now nearly empty childhood home that night and imagined a future of struggling without a dime, alone in New York or puttering around aimlessly in Vancouver without a purpose, my 18 yr old self, felt no choice but to conclude, quite unconsciously (Just in case you had any doubt about that!), that no matter how talented she was, or how much courage she mustered, the bottom line was, and would always be, that there isn’t enough money, there isn’t enough support and there isn’t enough will in the universe for her. And the real clincher, if she reached too far or dreamt too big she would be would have to pay for it in loneliness and isolation.
So yeah, the penny not only dropped, it rolled behind my parents 1980’s entertainment unit, through the crack in the floorboard and resounded against the hidden scaffolds of my heart and mind for years to come.
Let me guess what you’re thinking... OMG! You’re so dramatic!
True. But, let’s face it, I was a childhood actor, drama was my thing.
Seriously though, what teenager isn’t dramatic? Becoming an adult is a high stakes gig, and who among us escapes those formative years without making any false or disempowered meaning out of the difficult things or even the ‘positive’ things that we experience?
Full disclaimer: I had to stop writing this for awhile, for fear of dredging up old wounds.
You see, while I was writing I was also actively re-engaging and re-membering (re-embodying) my younger self. But because I was seeing it from my more developed 50 yr old consciousness and it wasn’t my first pass through, I was able to notice, what one of my dear friends aptly described as, “all the other hidden doorways and passageways inside the experience” that were still locked shut.
Now, over a month later, sitting in my Vancouver apartment, with the buzzing cicadas of Greece long since faded into the incessant sound of traffic rumbling up and down Broadway, I’ve returned with a subtler perspective. Not entirely different than before, just deeper. Because now, I can see that this isn’t only a story about transforming from scarcity thinking to sufficiency thinking, this is about the remembrance of self and how it can open you to infinite dimensions of gratitude.
Few parents in our contemporary society would disagree that our primary job is to nurture the potentials inside of our children, yet few parents would assert that nurturing their own desires and potentials remains equally important.
But looking back in this way at the story of my formative years, with two adult children of my own and burgeoning coaching practice in which I explicitly activate and champion potential in others, I understand that growing up is a process that never stops. I understand that growing up means continually waking up to our own essential nature. And in truth it's through this remembrance of ourselves and the deeper seeds of our potential that we discover the power and possibility to keep growing.
So I hope, dear reader you’ll bear with me as I continue to grow up, here, now, again, with you.
Because sharing this with you I can clearly see that in spite of getting confused and seemingly thrown off course at 18, I’m still that badass, trail blazing girl who wants so much for her life. And I’m still that talented dreamer with a generous heart who wants to keep all her friends and family close. I just got lost in a shame based story about how I wasn’t safe to admit it. Now, without that limiting belief, I am free to notice the rich, complex weave of people, places, learning, loving, failing, falling and growing that was actually happening and is happening – all the time.
What shifted things for me?
Perspective. Gratitude. The truth.
The truth that I was never alone.
The truth that support was and always is encircling, enriching and organizing around every aspect of my life.
The truth that when I wake up to my own essential nature I’m better able to recognize what is essential and true in others. The truth that those people and situations that I believed were hurting me were never really about me, or some flaw in the fabric of the universe when it came to me. It was only a reaction they made in response to their own story, their own wounding. And as I make space in my narrative to include all of that, the story begins to unravel and I can see how those ‘wounds’ and all the subsequent choices I made from them were actually blessings that led me to discover greater depths and capacities within myself, within others and within life itself.
Because without all of it , every bad and beautiful part of it, I would not be here now, opening to the deeper truth – that a wound is not an ending of something (the end of a career, dream, calling, connection, a wound is the beginning of something – it’s the beginning of healing.
And when we turn back to face those deeper wounds in loving connection with ourselves we can discover that the healing balm we needed has been there all along, buried like a cleverly hidden easter egg or, in keeping with the earlier metaphor – like a golden coin, in the brambles of our memory, just waiting for us to find it.
If you too are seeking a way to sift through the unconscious layers or stories that are holding YOU back, so that you can uncover the deeper insights, confidence and pathway to transformation YOU uniquely need, I encourage you to reach out and discover what transformational coaching can do for you.
Because, as my teacher Dr. Claire Zammit says, "We can't become ourselves by ourselves."
Or simply put – we need each other.
Which prompts me to say, if you resonate with any of what I'm sharing here, please let me know – it'll remind me, or us I should say, that we're not alone.