By Jim Redtail Collins, PhD
Would you like to let go of the need to learn through adversity and become a creative force in your own life?
Personal power—according to the shamans of Peru—involves two interrelated components: flexibility of perception and an attitude of complete responsibility for everything: the opposite of being a victim of circumstances. The shamans’ secret of empowerment involves a choice of destiny over fate.
Fate is the result of living in the unresolved past—what you believe about yourself that holds you in the bondage of learning through adversity. Destiny, on the other hand, requires you to change your perception and break through that bondage by giving up being a victim of the past so that you can live in the creative present. Destiny is a conscious choice.
Most of the personal problems we face are caused by unhealed emotions, recordings of the past, which distort our perceptions. Our perceptions determine our reality. To resolve most problems, we must heal our emotions. If we do not, we will continue to see ourselves as victims, living in the past, robbed of our present.
Everything that happens to you happens within you. What comes into your life reflects what you carry—your personal myth of reality. Most people’s stories are written and rewritten from their wounds, fears, and disappointments. The universe colludes with the stories you carry, proving you right and reinforcing your belief that it is the truth. But the story is true only if you believe it and continue to embody it.
However, you cannot simply change your mind and see the world differently, because the way you see the world is rooted in emotionally charged neural networks buried deep in your primitive limbic brain. Trying to change your mind without changing your brain networks is wishful thinking. Only when you heal your toxic emotions can you establish new neural networks, which will change your perceptions … and your story.
Until you do, you will continue to attract people who share similar stories and wounds.
When you heal your emotions, you rewire the neural networks that program you for failure. Only then can you redirect your life force and free yourself from the fate dictated by your past.
Expelled from the Garden
In the myth of our culture we are all fundamentally unworthy, having been kicked out of the “garden” for being curious and eating the wrong thing. This ancient cultural story informs most people’s personal story with an unconscious feeling that you are not good enough. Sound familiar?
Indigenous cultures, by the way, were never kicked out of the garden for eating apples. They still live there.
There are three archetypal character roles in the typical American cultural story: victim, bully, and rescuer. Together they form a triangle of disempowerment. These three interactive roles are each dysfunctional in their own way, perpetuating your story and keeping you trapped in it.
Depending on our experiences, most of us tend to revert to one of these roles as a default under stress. I recommend spending some time thinking about which one you tend to default to when you are stressed. It will explain a lot about what goes wrong in your relationships and your efforts to take charge of your life.
We cling to our stories because of the benefit we derive from them. They are familiar, make our lives predictable, and give us a false sense of purpose. Most of us like the familiar because it is comfortable, and we behave as though we would rather be right than happy.
We tend to write our stories of the present from unhealed wounds of the past. Like our cultural myths, they are merely tales that we have devised for explaining to ourselves what happened to us and who we are. Whatever your belief about who you are in your story, you will embody and enact it, and other people will respond to you accordingly! Moreover, it attracts those with similar or complementary stories. Victims attract perpetrators, rescuers, and other victims … and so forth.
Being victimized does not make you a victim any more than playing sports makes you an athlete. It is just a story about the past. The past no longer exists. It is not who you are. If you believe that you are a victim because of something that happened in the past—even yesterday—you will continue to replay the theme unconsciously, ad nauseum.
The only way out is to heal your wounds and take full responsibility for your life!
Creating a destiny requires us to let go of our belief in victims and shed the stories of the past as a serpent sheds its skin. To empower ourselves to live in the present we must give up our belief in victims.
If you believe your own stories and keep telling them to yourself, you will continue to enact and embody them, and the characters in your story will become hungry ghosts that keep showing up in your life at the next train station with a new hat. If you feed them, they will eventually devour you.
Are you one of the many who work overtime to fulfill the requirements of a story that does not serve you?
Would you rather create destiny or succumb to the fate dictated by your unresolved wounds? Your journey into destiny cannot proceed until you shed the myths of perception that have shaped your life.
My advice is to remember the shamans’ secret: Strive for flexible perception and assume complete responsibility. If you are armed with those attitudes, destiny is yours to choose.
Dr. Jim Redtail Collins is the author of the forthcoming book Walk Like a Fox, Dance Like an Eagle. A seasoned psychologist and transformational coach, Redtail is also a wisdom keeper in the lineage of the Laika shamans of Peru and a many-time Sun-dancer in the Lakota sacred tradition. Blending the power of applied epigenetics with the ancient wisdom, his passion is helping people release the power of the past and find their wings! You can contact him at 530-604-8653 or through his website at www.PowerForTransformation.com.