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Dare to believe

Updated: Oct 25, 2023

When I was little, I used to wonder if, in fact, I wasn’t real, that I was simply a figment of someone else’s imagination. This wasn’t borne out of any religious or spiritual doctrine as I wasn't brought up in a religious household and I didn’t attend church beyond contributing to the annual village harvest festival and carol singing. But I would often ask, “What if I’m only being imagined and not real at all?

Years later, I studied Italian Literature, and the thought resurfaced: we were reading Pirandello’s classic Six Characters in Search of an Author, the premise of which is that an author is writing a play, but the six characters he has created don’t like the direction the play is going and they’re dissatisfied with the roles they’ve been given so they end up arguing with the author and eventually go and look for someone else to write they story they want to live. (Side note - I also studied French at A Level and was introduced to the likes of Camus and Sartre: my late teens were filled with analysis of existential literature so it’s really no surprise that I’ve spent much of my adult life questioning my own identity and trying to find my place in the world).

Life is a bit like that: how many of us are dissatisfied with the roles we feel forced into? The narratives playing out around us over which we perceive we have no control? What if we decided we weren’t going to do that anymore and live our lives on our own terms, like Pirandello’s six characters?

The truth is that we are all figments of the imagination, but our own, not someone else’s. Literally, we are what we believe we are. We become what we dream. It’s all too easy to stay in a situation we’re unhappy with either because we don’t know how to change or we fear the unknown but we are the authors of our own destiny and if we don’t like the way the story is going, we have the power to change it.

If this resonates with you, I invite you to reflect on the following questions:

  • What’s the story you’ve been telling yourself throughout your life so far?

  • What would you like your life story to be?

  • What needs to change for this to become a reality?

I believe that we all have the power to change our lives, and this starts with examining our inner reality, challenging the limiting beliefs we hold about ourselves. And when we hold a light up to these shadow aspects, we see that they’re not the big, scary monsters we’ve always believed them to be, often they’re just the wounded parts of our selves that need loving and nurturing.

And by daring to believe something different, we start our healing journey and learn to accept and love every single aspect of our self, light and dark, shifting our perception of who we are and what we are capable of, and we can rewrite our own story for ourselves.

Joss Anderson is a qualified and experienced Shamanic Practitioner, Shamanic Reiki Master Practitioner and ICF-accredited coach, based in Cambridgeshire, UK and online.

© Joss Anderson 2023; © The Wild Edges, 2023

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