The Safe Road to Epiphany Dan Shares his Story Hero Experience
on December 20th, 2021
When Genevieve invited me to participate in the Story Hero project, I gladly accepted her invitation.
I am a member of her Facebook community, and it is a place of safety and respect that allows for vulnerability to emerge as a community norm. This is important to the story.
On the Clubhouse app, I was asked to share a story. It was vulnerable and raw, and had been a story that was like a battered kite in my stormy head, blowing around in the form of feelings and images instead of words.
Polyvagal theory points out that our stories follow our neuroceptive state. Our internal stories are highly steered by either cues of safety and social connection, or conversely, cues of threat and danger. Happily ever after, or fight and flight. Either way our neurocepting acts as a lens that filters our perception of experiencing the world.
As I began, I had to voice my turbulent feelings for the first time. The safety in the group allowed me to tell my story as well as hear it for the first time as it was tumbling out of my mouth. I realized in the telling that my story had its roots in my trauma history, and that the story that had been swirling in my head was incongruent with my deeper, open-hearted, and now unveiled truth. I felt the gap between what I had internalized and what I knew to be genuine.
What I realized as I came to the end of my telling was that while my words still stuck to my trauma script, my soul saw it for what it was, and it just didn’t feel legitimate anymore. What emerged was a deeper, more authentic, and self-compassionate narrative. What began to rise felt like truth.
Afterward, Gen and Corey provided empathetic and supportive feedback that made me feel heard, but if I’m honest, their words were muted by the internal noise in my head that was trying to arrange my new perspective of my story into a framework that had been cast free from alarm, fear, danger, and shame.
Voicing my story in a safe and caring environment pushed me to actually materialize and contrive my feelings and thoughts into a story that I neither liked, or . . . deep down, even really believed. It was a profoundly transformative experience. I’m not even kidding. It was an epiphany.
Story follows state. In the telling of our internal narratives, sometimes, with a safe and empathetic group grounded in trust, we can be allowed to see the role that our internal threat sentinel plays in framing our stories, and how it can distort our more authentic truth. At least that was the case for me.
Thank you, Corey and Gen, for allowing me to be part of this project. I am not only truly grateful for this experience, but I’m also totally hooked on the process!!!