The idea for this blog came to me while I was in the attic, literally, I was in the attic.
My aunt and uncle had both passed away, the job of clearing out years of memories had been left to my cousins, and one day I found myself reminiscing with them in the attic of their parent’s home.
As we sorted through sixty years of boxes filled with clothes, documents and outdated appliances, I realized the three of us hadn't been together since I was 8 years old and I couldn't help but notice how much had changed for me since the last time we were together.
As a young girl, I always felt like an outsider when I was around my cousins because I believed they had a perfect life. Their family seemed full of love, kindness, happy times and togetherness while my childhood was filled with abuse, trauma and the secrets my siblings and I were forced to keep about what went on in our home.
Because of those secrets, I grew up feeling inferior to my cousins, aunts and uncles.
I was a young girl the last time I’d been in that house, and I was enjoying the opportunity to laugh and talk about the fun times we shared together in that house like the “secret passage” that connected my cousin's closet to the closet in my aunt and uncle’s bedroom and how we used to go between the bedrooms without the knowledge of our parents (or at least we believed they didn’t know)!
Rarely do childhood memories turn out the way we remember them, especially when we get the opportunity to visit them as our adult self. I remember feeling a twinge of disappointment when I discovered that our secret passage was less of a secret passage and more like an unfinished wall.
As we sat together in the attic, going through what felt like the millionth box, I opened a box that was full of letters, documents, birth certificates, cards, and newspaper clippings. It was all there, pieces of documented family history that revealed the lives of our family members in ways the three of us had never heard before. Proof of births, deaths, affairs, illegitimate children and even manslaughter. This information was not part of any childhood memory the three of us had ever heard of before that day.
As we sat there, dumbfounded, trying to make sense of the written and documented proof we were holding in our hands, all we could do was stare at each other!
The truth of what we'd just learned hit me like a bolt of lightning and I blurted out, "Wow, this is proof that I was never inferior to the rest of you because you had awful secrets just like me. The only difference is, you didn't know about them until now! I should write a book about this and title it Secrets in the Attic." My cousin replied, “no one would ever believe it, you’d have to write it as a book of fiction because no one is going to believe this stuff!”
By the time we left the house that day, our eyes had been opened to the fact that most of what we thought we’d known about our parents, family members and even who we'd been taught we are, had been based on lies, half-truths, innuendos, secrets and misleading information.
As we were each lost in our own thoughts about what we'd learned, I started wondering, “if our family memories can no longer be relied on, how does that affect the basis of who we believe we are and how do we come to terms with the people who told us those lies, half-truths, innuendos, secrets and misleading information?"
Have you ever asked yourself where your beliefs come from about who you are, what you're capable of or what you deserve to have? What limiting beliefs could you free yourself from and how would it change your life?
Not everyone will have an experience of family secrets being revealed but every belief our adult-self has is based on something we were taught, experienced or intuited as children. All beliefs about who we are, both negative and positive, are formed between the ages of birth to twelve years of age. How much of what we believe about our childhood can be relied on as the truth for the choices we make as adults?
As an adult, childhood memories can invoke something you’re trying to live up to or wish had never happened. Either way, we can’t go back and undo the past, or can we? If you think about it, the mind is like the attic of our life, full of outdated junk we no longer need but often hold onto because we have difficulty letting it go.
What are the secrets in your attic? Are there beliefs your mind is holding onto that, if you let them go, could free you from the pain, struggle and challenges your adult-self is experiencing? Would "NOW" be the right time for you to let go of your limiting beliefs? Only you have the power to hold onto your limiting beliefs and only you have the power to let them go.
Remember, Life Is All About Choices!
I don't know about you, but sometimes I find myself wondering "what's so special about me and how am I qualified to do what I do?"
It's not because I doubt my skills and abilities, it's because there are times when I think about where I thought I'd be at this stage of my life versus where I actually am.
I've heard people ask the question, "if you could go back and talk with your younger self, what would you say?" But my answer is always the same, "there is no way my younger self would ever believe me if I told her what we would one day accomplish. She would not have believed what we're capable of because it was not our truth."
I'll never forget the first time someone told me I am brilliant, talented and compassionate; because that was not my truth. That was not how I saw myself when I looked in the mirror or introduced myself to strangers. If I could not see the brilliance, talent or compassion within me, how could I believe anyone who was saying those words to me?
I've come to realize my life is an expansion of who I am and who I've always been. The truth is, you don't know what you don't know. If someone tells you something that seems so far beyond what you believe to be true, it can be difficult or nearly impossible to believe it's possible.
How could I possibly believe an older version of myself, telling me everything I've experienced has laid the groundwork to teach others because I feel compassion for what they've gone through or because they're going through something similar? How could that be true when I believed my value was based on my traumatic, hurtful, shameful, and degrading experiences?
I believe when the student is ready, the teacher will appear. I also believe we have many teachers but don't always recognize them for what they're here to teach us. An abusive parent can teach us we have no value, or that we will one day have the power to break the cycle of abuse. The person who victimizes us can teach us we are a victim or that being victimized does not make us a victim. The marriage that ended in divorce can teach us we failed or that we are now expanding into a higher understanding of who we are and what's possible in our life. The empty bank account can teach us that lack in any form is a reflection of how we feel about our self-worth and as our self-worth increases, so will our level of abundance and prosperity.
The question then becomes, "what is your truth?" Do you believe yourself to be gorgeous, talented, fabulous and worthy of all the abundance and prosperity the Universe has to offer or do you believe yourself to be unworthy?
When I was quite possibly at the lowest point of my life, my truth about who I believed I was, was making my life miserable. It wasn't until I chose to question what I believed to be true, that I could begin to see it was possible there might be some truth to what others could see in me. As my understanding of what I believed to be true shifted from unworthy to worthy, people and opportunities began to show up. There were people who guided me to write and publish my books, asked to feature me in their magazine, assisted me with my website, and even asked me to speak to their audiences or groups. Before I knew it, people were asking me, to teach them my process to understand their own truth. People could feel my compassion for what they were going through. My belief in their ability to choose a different truth about who they believe they are and what they're capable of was something they were ready to be true about their own life!
There is one truth I believe that exists for everyone, you will never know what's so special about who you are and what you're qualified to do until and unless you're willing to understand why you believe what you believe and why you choose to make it your truth. Only then can you ask yourself, "is that true or have I made it my truth based on past experiences?"
Remember, it's not what someone says to you that matters, it's what you believe about what they say.
When you truly know yourself, your truth will be based on a foundation that you really are that special and qualified to live an abundant and prosperous life!
Nancy Mueller ~ Life Sensei