Secret Lives. Tell Your Story Before it is Too Late

The past few weeks have been a whirlwind of creativity buzzing in a virtual classroom where people with unique backgrounds collaborate to shape their ideas and experiences into compelling three-act scripts for powerful stage or screen productions.

Under the expert guidance of a skilled facilitator and through a rich tapestry of discussion, reflection, and constructive feedback, we have delved into the hidden depths of narrative structure, analyzing exceptional writing, and exploring the essential “do’s and don’t s” of the craft.

Those who have engaged in storytelling, whether through journaling, crafting fictional narratives, or simply sharing an anecdote with a friend, will recognize the profound investment it requires. The act transcends mere communication; it becomes a somatic experience, subtly revealing our worldview and underlying assumptions, fears, core beliefs, likes, dislikes.

As we explored our ideas together, a deeper understanding naturally developed among us, forging and fostering a level of intimacy that surpassed the bonds formed through typical daily interactions.

Why such an introduction? Because last week, and just before his turn to present the draft he had been working on to the class, a wonderful human being, full of life, captivating humor, and straight forward speech, left us…

One day here, next day, gone. I can’t say I really knew him, but I had the privilege to enter his world of ideas, memories and the causes he fought for, all so wonderfully represented in his vision for a play. I sat there for a moment trying to digest what was happening, the incredulity, the loss, the tears…

We mourned and celebrated his life in our next class, we played one of the stories he recorded; we listened, laughed, cried, and missed. And through all of it, the question nudging my heart, assaulting my mind space and dreams was:

What are you doing with your time?

Hidden Stories

I have stories, tons of them, ranging from what I would like to see in the world, my experiences, and ideas that make for who I really am. However, I am constantly going around them, looking for “more appropriate ways” of approaching their subject so they won’t stir chaos, make others uncomfortable, standout, or get to “faraway” from the standards.

These stories speak to my vulnerabilities and dreams, expose the seams, live at the edge of what wants to emerge and what doubting, fearing and conditioning censors. Oh, yes, I excel at managing and supervising my many roles, identities and set them straight, into what fits expectations, what I deem necessary to survive.


Is that all that is to life? I can’t say I sleepwalk, too many years of self-reflection and spiritual practice for the bliss of ignorance to leave me alone in my sleep, or the stubborn roommate of consciousness living rent-free in my mind not to peep. Yet, when I am afraid my core beliefs and the vision of self and life I behold might raise a flag and go about tailoring my contribution to make it more “fitting.”

Be it for fear of rejection, failure, or isolation, this is surviving, not living. I am denying the wisdom within me, and brought forward by many before me, of a universal intelligence, or Higher Power that knows we are not random occurrences in the tapestry of existence. We are here for a reason, and that reason embraces it all.

What makes us believe our story or message is not relevant? Impostor Syndrome and the Search for Meaning.

There was this old advertisement – (Aflac?) – showing a goose trying to keep water out of a boat by covering holes with its body, a wing, then another, the beak, and so on. Exactly, how I felt in my life, trying to repair the many holes from which the elusive perfect self, slipped away.

Love for learning and expansion are two of my core values. They are also ways in which I feed the monster of perfectionism and avoid exposing my perceived flaws. How many times did I enroll in yet another quest – certification, course, coaching, expert advice, event, podcast, book, i.e. and found out that the mystical missing piece that will make me confident, or right for an opportunity- was a myth? How many times, my expectations floundered while a voice whispered – Is this all?

There’s nothing wrong with any of the above, knowledge, mentorship, self-actualization is a wonderful way to expand horizons when it comes from a place of empowerment. When, on the contrary, comes from a place of “not good enough” or fear, nothing will fill the emptiness, but awareness and courage.

Unmasking Impostor Syndrome

Impostor syndrome, we suffer it in silence, and silently, it eats us up. This debilitation issue not only affects many of us in a variety of ways, but it can also disconnect us from our true selves and render fulfillment and impossibility.

Self-doubt and Achievement. IS can show up as a nagging feeling of inadequacy that obliterates external evidence of success or as crippling self-doubt eroding our confidence in achievements, raising questions about their authenticity and sustainability. However, awareness of these tactics is the first step to overcoming them. By tracking our accomplishments, big and small, and celebrating our strengths, we can reclaim our well-deserved sense of accomplishment.

Why Me? I have looked up at the skies many times and screamed plagued by indecision if I could be worthy and succeed chosen role. Questioning our aspirations and causes can lead to a sense of meaninglessness, were our achievements feel accidental rather than earned. By seeing these moments of uncertainty as chances to learn and challenge the inner critic, we can gradually cultivate a mindset that celebrates our journey and validates our well-earned successes.

Fear of being exposed as a “fraud.” This cab be a paralyzing force, hindering us from embracing new challenges and pursuing our goals. We might have a tendency of tweaking our message to fit “procedures” instead of following our intuition and purpose, or get drowned in seemingly rational excuses, urgent tasks, or even convenient memory lapses to avoid the perceived pain of failure. By acknowledging this fear with curiosity rather than judgment and allow it to run its course without identifying with it, we can break its hold and move forward with courage.

The Cult of Perfection: Our achievement-driven culture prioritizes external validation over intrinsic motivation, which can exacerbate impostor syndrome. This makes it harder to find joy and meaning in the very act of creation or exploration itself.

The relentless pressure to constantly outdo ourselves is a recipe for burnout. We can meticulously plan and strive, yet external validation remains elusive. We can’t control others’ preferences or beliefs, and prioritizing external opinions can lead us to undervalue our own experiences and wisdom. This fuels the feeling of never being “good enough,” despite our self-improvement efforts.

Even if our attempts fall short, we can recognize when there is genuine effort. Experiences then become valuable feedback, propelling us forward. After all, chasing perfection is a fool’s errand, aiming for optimal results is a far more rewarding pursuit.

Limited Representation: The absence of diverse leadership can exacerbate imposter syndrome, particularly for underrepresented groups. Internalized societal messages can create self-doubt, suggesting a lack of belonging or qualifications. This extends to cultural trends and media portrayals, where value is often tied to mainstream popularity, further diminishing the significance of accomplishments that may not be readily recognized.

I’ve often been surprised by the unexpected impact my actions or words have had on others.  This realization calls for introspection.  Have I built walls around my true self due to societal expectations or the fear of being unconventional?  How many opportunities for connection have I missed based on the assumption my message is irrelevant?

How many “impacts” do I need to collect to feel assured that my calling or the voice of my soul is valid?

Every interaction, no matter how seemingly insignificant, has the potential to spark inspiration or bring joy to another person.

Remember Me

Some years ago, in one of the darkest hours of my life, a British TV recreation of Merlin’s story brought me hope and inspiration. It rekindled my research and investment in soul work. One of the episodes tells the story of Morgana’s lady in waiting, being accused of witchcraft, and sentenced to dead, for having attempted to save her father’s life using magic. Gwen doesn’t know any magic, nor how her father was restored to health. Young Merlin, does, it was him, a gesture of love, a dangerous one, nonetheless. Merlin slips to the dungeon where she is kept to reassure her. She has no idea Merlin is a sorcerer. She has accepted her fate. It is what she tells him that struck me. “Merlin, can I ask a favor? Can you remember me? Please remember me…

How raw, how naked was the human instinct to know that life has a purpose, that we don’t just vanish after death, in these words. When somewhere, someone remembers us, we exist…

Existing or Being?

When J. left, I was reminded of the passage of time, of the ephemeral nature of almost everything – ideas, fears, emotions, impostor syndrome, and myself – the one I am taking so seriously. Mummifying internally what threatens the status quo, instead of allowing what needs to emerge, in its imperfect, weird and unique way, is giving up my time alive before the body says enough.

If my message can spring a hint of a smile, a nudge into Living – with uppercase – even if is just one person, my work is worthy.

Let’s dare to live fully, to own our stories and share them, this might change the course of life for someone.

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