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November 23, 2021

Far from me – what’s yours is mine, what’s mine is hidden.

Photo by Mike on Pexels.

Watching a UK TV drama, ‘Close to Me’ I reflect on how early life experience can create a context of “Far from me”.  One of the main characters in the show has amnesia, and this is really how we all come into this world.  Even if we believe in past lives, our access to this potential wisdom is not always free flowing or immediate.

In this drama, the main character’s life is erased, she has access to no story, it rebuilds according to the questions she asks and the information those around her are volunteering. You see how her life is re-built from the narratives of others and how she doesn’t know anything first – which seems to me just like the experience of a baby.

It is only over time that a Life Script and plot is developed. We make choices whether to take the leading role, be that protagonist or do we simply fade into the background like an unamed  extra?  Our script or narrative is based upon our childhood decisions, made unconsciously, in response to having to navigate our family of origin. We have to adapt to the parental messages we receive. The cost of not doing so, is possibly to not survive. We believe this, even if it isn’t the reality. Perception is the underpinning of every plot.

One of the lines in the show is “it’s easier to go through the things you tell me than the things you don’t”. How much of our Life Script is made up of unspoken words? Pauses, silence, things others fear to say? Our Psychological nature is to fill those gaps. Like the adverts of life, between scenes, selling what we think we need. We compensate.  Our brains will compute ambiguous visual stimuli or confusing information and rearrange this into something that makes sense to us. We want things that are familiar. This is the key factor that maintains toxic dynamics as it’s “better the devil you know”.  When we fill gaps, we seek meaning in a complex world.  Children will engage in self-blame for an adult that is a risk to them, as they have to, in order to survive. If they see the behaviour as the adult’s fault, they reject that adult, and then what? They are alone….and maybe at far greater risk. Children depend on adults. By believing it is their fault if something bad happens, they maintain control. There can be a plot twist, the ending can be rewritten. Next time maybe mummy and daddy will be nice. The child can survive by adapting and creating a different outcome. They learn to rehearse the words and deliver the performance. Points of tension are predictable and the drama is tolerable.

The only thing is, when we accept the script we are given, rehearse to perfection, deliver with conviction, we still feel discomfort. It’s like we are not the protagonist or shouldn’t be the extra.   Wherever we’ve placed ourselves doesn’t feel right. It’s as if we are the understudy, in the spotlight for the first time, not the star of the show. Why is this? We know what we are doing, we’ve practised for years, so why now is there stage fright? Nothing feels okay, our voice doesn’t project, we dont seem visible?  It’s because we are not in the role that’s meant for us and we are simply in the role we know.  We are far from us. Our sense of self is hidden below layers of messages of what’s important from those around us. We’ve not stepped forward and taken the lead, some of us have barely even auditioned for the part. We get flashes of self and things that align us to this, but we get scared to advertise this new show,  as what if our ratings decline?

It’s then we realise how far from “me” we were.  What we feel is ours really belongs  to those around us. It no longer serves us as adults, in control of our own fate.  Knowing this helps to uncover what’s hidden. This brings us “Close to Me”.  The amnesia dissolves and we remember that it’s safe to be who we are, even if the performance ends in a soliloquy, on our solitary stage and the curtains come down on all that was. We’ve played so many roles in life and finally, like method acting, we adopt a sincere, authentic and expressive performance, fully inhabiting our true self.

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