Re-Writing Your Old Story

This is a tale of discovery. Of one of those seemingly small epiphanies that can rock your whole world. Of how invisible beliefs can hold you back – until you decide not to let them.

I’m a writer and co-owner of a personal spirituality business called Feline Dreamers. That means most of my work time involves sitting in front of my laptop or with a notebook and pen. Sitting – certainly very sedentary, and some say sitting a lot is the new smoking (i.e.: a thing that we all thought was fine to do but turns out to be super unhealthy). Even my favorite hobbies like reading and studying, don’t involve moving my body much.

Over the past five years I’ve written and published four books. During that time period I’ve also put on a fair amount of weight and my fitness level has decreased. Peri-menopause hasn’t helped the process (sorry if that’s TMI).

Recently I decided it’s time to do something about it. I called my friend Katie Gall who’s a health and wellness coach. During a very inspiring initial session she asked me to name a time when I felt really good.

I told her that about eight years ago, just before I left my full-time job to embark on my own, I was feeling physically strong, fit and was at a weight that worked well for me in my body. And yet there was a lot of emotional drama and dissatisfaction in my life.

So, she tried again: “Well, how about a time when you felt really good emotionally, mentally and spiritually?”

I only had to ponder a split-second to answer that one. “That would be now! Which is, I guess, why I feel ready to work on the physical stuff.” We continued with the session and Katie made some highly useful suggestions that I’m implementing into my daily routine.

It didn’t sink in until later, but then I realized I had some fear around stepping up, physically. Part of me wondered if it would mean some other facet of my life would go out of whack. I don’t want that. I’m the happiest I’ve ever been, I thought. What if upping my game wrecks my equilibrium?

Wait, what?

I was able to suddenly see that this was just an old belief – a story I’ve been telling myself for a long time. A tale of limited energy, of a lifestyle that involves suffering in order to balance out the good-feeling stuff.

Where in the world did that come from?

The stories you tell yourself, often without even knowing it, usually have their roots in your earliest memories. You were told to follow strange rules when you were a child – for example, another story of mine was I’m not supposed to get angry. Perhaps you saw the adults around you modeling behavior that you didn’t realize at the time was unhealthy. Or you just absorbed the warped messages of this patriarchal culture that bombards us every day.

There’s no need to blame yourself though, or even those who influenced you. Once you’re able to recognize one of your old stories, great news! The way out is to release it.

If you can forgive yourself for believing it in the first place and even thank the old story for the lessons it has taught you, you’re well on the way to letting its influence go. In my case, I’m grateful for my new awareness and for seeing clearly that I don’t need to pick and choose which parts of my life feel good. I can move forward knowing that it’s okay to be happy, creatively fulfilled, and physically fit.

And that it’s okay when I fall down, too.

Releasing your old stories doesn’t mean that everything in your life will suddenly be perfect. It allows you more space, more clarity, more awareness. With that expanded awareness you can make better choices. You can focus on the things that feel best to you. You can craft a new story, one that supports you as you move toward your dreams.

You can be the heroine of your own story rather than trying to fit yourself into someone else’s plot line. That’s what we’re all learning to do, right?

Nikki Starcat Shields is an author, writing coach and leader of transformational writing retreats. She's also a licensed Pagan priestess. She invites you to a process of unfolding creativity. The world needs your unique wisdom - now is the time to finally take your inspired book idea and bring it forth into the world. Learn more at

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